The cliché post study abroad blog post
I spent exactly a year in Australia (left England on July 6th, and left Australia on that date too), so I got back a few weeks ago. I have been delaying writing this post partly because I have been so busy, and partly because I tend to prefer expressing myself logically… As a blogger though, I feel like not reflecting on my year wouldn’t do my job justice! I can warn you for ages about how cliché this post will be, or I can let you read it for yourself if you so wish… either way, I hope that for those of you interested, this will give you an idea of just how much you develop as a person from studying abroad.
The lead up to studying abroad: Deciding where to study
No matter where you choose, study abroad. This goes back to the dilemma that I was facing once I received my study abroad offers. Typically, students receive a study abroad offer and take it. I was fortunate enough (or unfortunate depending on how you see it) to receive three offers; Italy, Singapore and Australia. When applying, I secretly knew that I wanted to go to Australia. I loved the idea of exploring the land down under and spending a complete year away from home. Monash seemed like the perfect university for me; I could even present in an academic conference! Equally though, the idea of going to Italy was appealing. I could see myself learning a language and challenging myself academically through the different academic system they have. Singapore’s campus seemed amazing, but I’ll be honest, I quickly dismissed it as an option and narrowed it down to Italy and Australia. However, the moment I received the “please decide and let me know by this Thursday” email it really hit me. If I choose Australia I REALLY won’t be visiting home for a year.
Suddenly, the idea of studying in Italy became that much more appealing; I could be home during the holidays and take weekend trips for family events. I wouldn’t miss out on the key Warwick traditions throughout the year. I realised this is me playing it too safe but at the time, when given 48 hours to decide, the idea of Australia just became so much scarier. The study abroad coordinator at the time realised how difficult my decision was and offered me an extension. I decided the longer I wait, the longer I will question my decision and decided to reply with Australia that very Thursday and click enter. There was no going back. The next few days and especially the lead up to Australia gave me feelings that I had never felt. I still can’t quite describe it other than that humble feeling of knowing you are about to embark on a journey that will take you right out of your comfort zone.
Throughout the year I did consider how much I felt like Australia was the perfect choice for me, and how different things would be if I had chosen Italy instead. However, the truth is, no matter the location you decide, you will inevitably make yourself home. The opportunities are endless wherever you go, so to offer you some advice if you are still reading this and pondering on whether to apply or not: do it. Study abroad no matter what location you choose. You will have the experience of a lifetime, I can assure you.
The study abroad experience:
The outcomes of studying abroad are hugely dependent on your motivations for doing it. Personally, I was motivated to go and study topics outside of my field, become more independent and even confident in approaching new people. My parents knew I would be doing it no matter what, and I was grateful to have their support throughout the year. This helped me make the most of my year, and I can confidently say that whilst I am still Shanita, I have grown in a number of ways.
I took some major academic risks. Some failed, really failed. And others went better than I had ever anticipated! Either way, I feel like I now have a much better idea on how to achieve the best marks to my ability, and also have greater confidence in discussing ideas which may otherwise seem totally crazy during my seminars. This is not something I would have fully gained if I hadn’t studied abroad. It was the very fact that the year didn’t count towards my actual degree grade which encouraged me to take the academic risks. It was for this same reason that I rejected the opportunity to study abroad during my second year, which would have counted towards my degree grade.
Shanita 🙂 xo