So it’s been 5 weeks. 5 weeks in a different country, a different continent, a whole different hemisphere! And it’s been a crazy 5 weeks full of meeting people, going on adventures and forming friendships that I know are going to last me a lifetime.
If I’ve learned anything this first 5 weeks, it is that studying abroad is going to take you more places than just to your country of choice. Being here, I have already experienced most of what Melbourne has to offer, but I have also been introduced to a world of other cultures by the people I have met. Something that everyone says to avoid is hanging out with people from your same home country and I can’t emphasize this point enough. The group of friends I have made consists of me, 4 Americans, 3 French, 2 Dutch, 3 Brits, 2 Canadians, 1 German, and 1 Malaysian. That’s crazy! I encounter 6 different cultures every day! Not to mention the countless other people who share my living space with me.
While people are important, I’m finding this experience is taking me actual physical places too, both on personal travel and with classes. I spent three days exploring Victoria’s southern coast on the legendary Great Ocean Road, seeing some of Australia’s most beautiful coastline scenery. I get to travel to the mountains on a two day field trip taking ecological measurements for one of my environmental science classes. One of the elective classes offered here at Monash (called Contemporary Australia) organizes a class trip to Tasmania. That’s crazy! You can explore Australia and still get credit for it!
As for personal travel, as of right now I have plans to explore Southeast Asia on mid-semester break, something I’ve dreamed of doing since I was young. I plan to visit Sydney, and if I can the Gold Coast as well.
I guess my point is this: studying abroad gets you more than one place and for more than one purpose. It puts you in a position of growth and change, and that is the greatest lesson I have learned so far. Be on the lookout for more lessons, coming soon.