1. Why did you choose this particular location to study abroad?
The cliché answer: I have wanted to visit Australia since before I could remember. While I have had the opportunity to explore North America and some of Europe, I have never once ventured to Oceania, and I thought it would be an amazing opportunity to live here and learn about a country that I had little prior knowledge about. I chose to study in Melbourne over the other Australian locations because of its rich culture and friendly atmosphere. I also have family in the city, so it’s really cool to have such close connections so far away from home.
2. What was the most meaningful interaction you have had with a local?
I have had so many amazing interactions with Melbournians, it’s hard to pick just one. My uni, La Trobe, organized two road trips with a group called REAL Australia at the beginning of the semester, and I was lucky enough to go on both trips to Phillip Island and the Great Ocean Road. This group caters to helping adapt international students to Australian life and culture through the eyes of locals. The hospitality and enthusiasm of the guides on the trips helped ease my nerves about being abroad and opened my eyes to seeing the “real Australia,” rather than the stereotypical tourist perspective. It was also refreshing to not be treated as a tourist and being shown some local hotspots – it really made me feel at home. I have also loved connecting with the guides on personal levels, creating friendships and memories that will last a lifetime. One of the guides has become a really good friend of mine and continues to show our friend group around as locals, which has been a really cool experience so far.
3. Have you had the opportunity to explore your city? Where have you ventured, and why did you select those places?
I love exploring Melbourne! It’s so easily accessible from my campus in Bundoora (an easy 45 min to an hour tram/bus ride) and has so many opportunities to take advantage of. Most of the time I love wandering and randomly exploring around, whether it’s staying within the city or venturing to the suburbs surrounding the city. The city and its suburbs are full of art, museums, sporting events, food/antique markets, gardens/parks/beaches and just pure beauty – it’s hard to be bored in this place.
4. How does your major tie into your study abroad plans?
As a Public Relations major and an International Relations minor, I am very interested in worldly interactions and relations. I hope to work abroad in the future, possibly for an international organization, so studying abroad in general ties into my future plans. I also think it is very important to be exposed to cross cultural experiences, for each and every major alike. Being able to see situations from different perspectives and eyes is such an important life skill to have to be successful in any career and relationship.
5.Were you nervous to travel abroad, even though you have been out of the country a few times before?
I didn’t think I was nervous until I got to the airport and said goodbye to my parents. To be honest, reality never hit me until then. I spent the majority of the plane ride and first two weeks scared out of my mind, but seeing how far I have come since then makes all the nerves worth it. I have noticed that everyone handles being abroad differently – some get majorly homesick, others don’t feel a thing – but I think getting nervous just comes with the territory. Once you get settled in and into the swing of things, everything becomes so much easier.