I can’t believe it is over
Studying abroad has been the most amazing experience and I am so grateful for all of those who helped me get to where I needed to be and put me into a position where I was able to have such and incredible opportunity. I would definitely recommend this experience to anyone who is considering it, as I have had the most amazing time.
In 2015, I went on holiday to Australia with my family and decided that I would do everything in my power to go back there again. I had fallen in love with it. So, when I attended an open day, at the University of Reading in 2016, I made sure to go to the study abroad talk to see if it was achievable. The application process was a blur and felt like it took a lifetime to complete but it was all so worth it in the end! I had an initial panic before going, as leaving home comforts for 6 months and flying to the complete opposite end of the world sounds very daunting. But I am so glad I pushed myself out of my comfort zone, I came out on top and haven’t looked back!
I quickly settled in and made the greatest group of friends. We were all international students, which meant that we were all in the same boat. We attended all of the free events put on by the Resident Assistants, which led us to meet so many other people from completely different walks of life. I am so thankful for these events, as this is where I met the majority of my friends and they definitely eased the home sickness. With my new friends, I have been able to visit and experience the culture of some of the most incredible countries. For one, Australia is thriving with aboriginal culture. Something that the university was very invested in. I was able to take a class on aboriginal language and learn about the spread of the language and culture into our society. I was also able to visit one of the oldest rainforests in the world, the Daintree Rainforest. We had booked a tour with an aboriginal company, which was great because he was able to tell us about the history of the land through tales and stories passed down through his family. He also gave us insights into the wildlife and how the aboriginal Australians use the plants for practical use, or healing powers, in their daily life. I was lucky enough to be able to travel to New Zealand, just before I flew home. Here I was able to experience the Maori culture and all that it has to offer. It is important respect the cultures of the countries that you visit while you are away, as it is very interesting to learn the history behind such large countries today.
Whilst studying abroad, as cliché as it sounds, I have also learned a lot about myself and the way in which I adapt to new situations. Starting off was tough being so far from home and knowing that I still had 5 months left before I could see my family. But, the friends that I had made along the way provided me with the support that I needed, and quickly became family.
Again, I am forever thankful for this opportunity and would like to take the time to thank the Study Abroad and Exchange team at the University of Reading for initially providing me with this experience, I wouldn’t have been able to have it without their incredible ERASMUS, Study Abroad and Exchange programme. I would also like to take some time to thank Macquarie University for letting me attend their university as an exchange student, and their Exchange Society for putting on events that let me see the country and meet lots of new people. I would also like to thank my parents for their continued support in each path that I decide to take through life. I have had the most incredible time and I can’t believe it is over.Australia