Thank You, Australia: Why You Should Study Abroad

I thought going across the country for college was a big step outside of my comfort zone, but spending 5 months in a country I have never been to, attending classes at a campus where I knew absolutely no one, and living in a big city that was just so new to me, now THAT is stepping outside of my comfort zone. However, this time abroad really changed my perspective on life, increased my awareness of the world, and allowed me to grow as a person. 

I remember the days leading up before going abroad. I kept re-thinking my situation. Yes, I was going with 5 incredible friends from my home university, but I was so hesitant to leave the comfort of my small-town college where I knew basically everyone. My parents weren't just a flight home if anything happened, and I didn't have the same resources that I was used to. Honestly, I didn't even know how to log into the university email until halfway through the semester, oops.

However, I am so happy that I went, and here are some reasons that you should definitely study abroad if you have the chance.

1. So many amazing places to explore. During my time in Sydney, on days off from class I could hop on a train and head down to Bondi Beach, take a scenic walk along the Bondi to Coogee coastal route, explore the Rocks and the Sydney Opera House, or read on a park bench in the Royal Botanical Gardens. The options are endless, no matter where you choose to study, because being in a new place makes you want to take advantage of the opportunity to do as much as possible.

2. Amazing food. Australia’s staples are acai bowls, small cafes with amazing salads, sandwiches and baked goods, seafood, and for some reason they really love chickpeas down under (who knew). My favorite place in Sydney was Bare Naked Bowls at Manly Beach.

3. Meeting a ton of new people. Not only did I get the chance to meet a lot of different college students from around the US who were also studying abroad in Sydney, the Australian people are so friendly, outgoing, and live such an outdoorsy and active lifestyle. I mean, if you're going to live in a place like Sydney, loving the outdoors is a must. 

4. Traveling. My friends and I traveled all around Australia, including the Northern Territory (Outback), where we slept outside in sleeping bags under the stars (definitely some mixed reviews on this one), a Spring Break trip that went up the west coast of Australia (including Whitsundays, Frasier Island, Magnetic Island, the Great Barrier Reef, and more), Tasmania, and Byron Bay. Exploring different parts of the world with your friends is a once in a lifetime opportunity to get outside of your comfort zone, have some crazy adventures, and meet people from all over.   

I am so grateful to have been able to spend this time abroad and have had such an amazing experience, as most people in the world aren't given an opportunity like this. Abroad was a humbling experience, as I realized that the world is a much bigger place than cramming for exams and going to frat parties. I hope to go back to Australia again some day, as it truly left a special mark on me that I will carry throughout my life.