So much to discover

Written by Khadija Niang, BA Art and English Literature

For my term abroad I went to study at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. This opportunity to live on the other side of the world was equally rewarding and challenging. I have moved quite a lot growing up, so I underestimated the difficulties that came with such big move. This was the first time I had ever lived so far from any family and in such a different time zone. So I found that I had to build a lot of confidence and independence that I thought I already had, but after a difficult start, I’m proud to have gotten through it and come out stronger.

Australia is a huge country, and moving from England the distances took some getting used to (I would definitely recommend making friends with someone with a car). Those distances however, come with so much to discover. I feel like no matter how much you travel, unless you have unlimited time and money you never feel like you’ve seen enough. What I did get to see was spectacular. I did a road trip with some friends around Tasmania and I travelled on my own for the first time on the East Coast and saw some breath-taking scenery. I was really surprised to see how many different types of landscape and scenery you could find in one country. From the dry desert in the outback, to a rainforest in Queensland, and amazing beaches just scattered throughout, there’s really something for everyone.

A main reason I chose Melbourne, is because it’s known for its vibrant art scene, and it really lived up to it. Although I enjoy my course in Reading, the idea of being a part of the art world has always felt quite daunting and distant. A really valuable part of this Study Abroad is that it has made this world seem far more accessible. At Monash I was lucky enough to join classes that included a lot of visits from artists and to galleries. Many of the topics we studied felt current and the artists we studied had work we could visit in nearby galleries. As a joint honours student I also tend to have to be focused on my practice as half my modules are English Literature, so I found it really valuable to be able to have these few months to learn more about the analytical sides of art, which I think will be invaluable in my practice as I now know how to approach my work more intellectually and aim to include more thorough background research on the topics relating to my work.

For upcoming Study Abroad students, I would recommend living in halls as you get a wonderful sense of community. In Australia, I found a lot of my course mates mostly lived at home (which tends to be quite far away by English standards). This made it quite daunting to socialise but I’m glad I had the friends in halls to come back to as it can feel a bit lonely having to deal with moving away and many students will be in the same boat as you. Another tip would be to join clubs and societies, I joined a society for Study Abroad students which organised a lot of trips discovering places in the area and I also joined the BoardRiders in Monash which was a great way to get out of an exchange student bubble and meet local students, discover the coast and get better at surfing!


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