On the 24th of July 2017, I celebrated the anniversary of the day I started my year studying abroad at Macquarie University. I remember my first day in Australia so clearly: I remember moving into my new room and literally not having a clue what to do next, and I remember finally plucking the courage to go down to the dining hall and funnily enough, the first person I spoke to was a British girl who was also from the University of Leicester which happened to be Kitty!
I also remember feeling a sense of doubt, questioning if I was crazy to come to Australia, wondering if I had made the right decision and if I was going to like it there. Now I realise that I was crazy to go to Australia however, I definitely made the right decision to go. My year spent in Australia changed me like I never would have imagined and as this will be my final post, I thought it was fitting to write a reflection on how I’ve grown over the year.
I personally believe that I’ve become more independent; I’ve learnt how to stand on my own two feet and depend on myself to solve my own problems. I think it helped that my family were always around 9-11 hours behind me so I couldn’t call them anytime I needed advice or help, so I was forced to learn how to depend on myself.
I gained a different perspective of the world and a better understanding of people from different cultures. When I was in Australia, I was exposed to so many new cultures I had never encountered in the UK such as Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, Polynesian and Fijian culture. I was able to learn about their history and gain an insight into a different perspective of race and heritage. These experiences influenced me to explore my own culture and embrace it more than I normally would.
Finally, my confidence has definitely grown since starting my study abroad journey. When living in a completely new country where you don’t know many people, there’s no time to be shy. Especially when studying in a completely new university, you just have to put yourself out there and step out of your comfort zone in order to make friends. That’s something that I tried to do and as a result, I now feel more comfortable with being myself around other people. This has resulted in me making more genuine friendships with people and learning that I actually like being social.
In September I will be starting my fourth and final year at the University of Leicester so I hope studying abroad has helped me develop better study habits and a better work ethic but I guess only time will tell. For now, this is me signing off and saying farewell. It’s been a pleasure writing this blog and I hope my posts were helpful, insightful and encouraged at least one person to consider studying abroad.