Everyone says that studying abroad really pushes you to figure out who you are as a person, and they weren’t kidding. Before traveling to Australia, I was fairly confident in myself as an individual, but just after being abroad for a couple of months already, I have grown even more as a person. I have learned how to manage my finances, how to travel by myself, and have become extremely independent. The initial adjustment to Australia was pretty easy because it is a very developed country with similar features to the United States. For example, there was no language barrier that I had to overcome and ISA students received a lot of help and advice for our Gold Coast, AU resident director’s. Additionally, the food is very similar to the US and the supermarkets and shopping centers carry many of the same brands that you can find in the US, so I didn’t have to make any major adjustments when I arrived. One thing that I will never get used to is the time difference between Australia and home. The first couple of days after arriving abroad, the jetlag was difficult. Since then, my sleep schedule has adjusted but I still find it so weird that basically when it is morning in Australia, it’s almost nighttime at home. The time difference makes it difficult to speak to family and friends back home but we usually find a good time to Facetime a couple of times during the week.
I expected to meet more Australians while studying abroad here but since Bond University is mostly international students, this hasn’t been the case. Instead I have met a bunch of students from around the world who are also studying abroad at Bond. In my classes, I have met students from Switzerland, Asia, and even more from the U.S. This has been cool because even though we are all from different places, we can all relate to being far from home. I have gotten to know a lot of European students and it has been interesting to hear how they find Australia to be so different from Europe. My everyday life in Australia is much different than it is in Charleston. I decided to take most of my classes on Monday and Tuesdays, which means on these days I’m on campus from around 9-2 and I have Thursdays and Fridays off. This schedule worked out best for me because it allows me to travel a lot. Whether it’s just going to the beach to surf, or heading out of town for the weekend, I make sure to take advantage of my free time, since there is so much to see with what seems like so little time.