Take the jump and do it!

Written by Charlotte Williams, BA Classics

When applying to study in Australia, I felt incredibly fortunate to have the experience of this unforgettable opportunity of studying half way across the world.  My experience of studying at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia was lifechanging – I met incredible people, tried some unique and interesting food (I would not recommend Vegemite!), explored a beautiful country, and did some studying – of course!

At the beginning of my study abroad experience, I was extremely nervous and sceptical over whether I could study for six months in a completely different country.  However, like the University of Reading, the support given in orientation week, and throughout the semester, was amazing.  Studying abroad in a different country helped me to develop and improve my confidence and ability to cope in a new environment all by myself.  This quality will be extremely useful when entering employment after my degree. 

I have gained new skills through learning at La Trobe University due to the smaller class sizes and the amount of interactivity in these classes.  Due to these smaller classrooms and workshops, I am more confident and am more interactive and contribute more in classes – a skill which I hope to continue developing in my final year at Reading.  I have also improved my ability to work well as part of a team and how to co-operate and communicate during group work that was assessed, in comparison to the modules I studied at Reading.  As well as taking modules aligned to my degree course, I also had the opportunity to learn something completely different and I chose to learn about the history of Aboriginal Australians and Torres Strait Islanders in the module “Introduction to Aboriginal Australia”.  Taking a module that I had no prior knowledge to was difficult and something I had not experienced before, especially due to the fact that Australians already learn about Indigenous people prior to university. However, it did allow me to understand a topic that I knew very little on before-hand and gain an appreciation of the country in which I was living.

I was able to visit Sydney and the surrounding areas, an experience that I wouldn’t have been able to do without the assistance of the IMAGINE Bursary.  During this trip, I visited the must-see places – the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge and Bondi Beach, as well as lesser known places such as Booderee National Park.  Due to the location of La Trobe University I was also able to visit Melbourne city centre on many occasions. Melbourne is a wonderful city with a very relaxed atmosphere and it has lots to see and do. Some particular favourites of mine were the Queen Victoria Markets and Melbourne City Gaol.

I would definitely encourage anyone thinking of studying abroad to take the jump and do it!  It is an incredible and extremely valuable opportunity and a once in a life time experience.  I have made life-long memories and long-term friends.  Studying in Australia has been an incredible experience which I would highly recommend to anyone!


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