Are you a student wanting to travel the world, but never had the opportunity due to school or summer jobs? I recently returned home from studying a semester abroad in Perth, Australia and I can honestly say it was a life changing opportunity. I had always dreamed of visiting Australia however, with school, work and other extracurricular activities, I did not think I would be able to have enough time to properly explore as the Aussies would say the “land down under.”
I am about to enter my senior year of my undergraduate degree at McMaster University. School has always been a major and important part of my life. As an individual aspiring to pursue a career in the medical field, I never thought I would be able to drop everything at home and complete a semester of school abroad. I believe that going to live in Australia for 5 months was one of the best decisions of my life. I learned so much living away from my family, friends and hometown. Growing up, I was always a “homebody” and never wanted to travel too far from my family, however, this experience forced me to be more independent and acquire valuable life skills. I feel that before I discovered this opportunity, I could not justify taking time off school to travel. This program allowed me to continue my studies at a different university while also being able to meet new people, learn about other cultures and explore some of the beautiful places the world has to offer.
There were so many spectacular sites to see when I was in Australia. I was lucky enough to have the chance to see most of Australia and also go to Bali, Indonesia. I went to Australia not knowing anyone and therefore, I had to make all new friends when I was away. I knew that once my family dropped me off at my residence, I would be alone and I would have to meet new people. I was initially scared and a little lonely but, I quickly adapted to the change in lifestyle, met new people and found things that I enjoyed doing while I was abroad. I now have a group of friends who I speak to everyday who all live in different parts of the world. Attending a new university and adapting to the differences in teaching structures, the campus and students were some of the things that made my school experience very interesting.
I went to University of Western Australia (UWA) and I thought the campus was beautiful. I lived right across from the university which was beside Swan River. Every morning I could walk along the river and sometimes I would spot dolphins, swans and lots of jellyfish. The campus was designed to be very accessible from the outdoors and include a lot of local plants and wildlife. I looked forward to walking to class every day because it was such a relaxing stroll. I am completing my undergraduate degree in biology at McMaster but, when I was in UWA I could take some marine biology courses. I loved some of the field trips we took to the ocean and learning about subjects that I would never learn about at home.
Overall, I had an amazing experience abroad in Western Australia. I met an amazing group of friends, traveled to gorgeous places and learned so much about myself and the world. If you ever think that school or work limits you from living your dream of seeing the world, then consider studying a semester on exchange in university. The five months I lived away from home was an experience that I will never regret nor forget.