So why study abroad? It can be expensive, you’ll have to start your social status from the bottom and how will you deal with the FOMO of home? All trivial questions, yes, but as a student who took the plunge and came out the other side, I can safely say it was (bold statement coming) one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
And what did I learn? Well other than how to stand up for 5 seconds on a surf board, here’s a few life lessons I picked up whilst living it up for a year in Perth, Western Australia!
1. Say YES to (almost) everything
A cliché I know but this is something I stand by. You can always find a reason to not do something but why let that dictate? Think of life as one big butterfly effect: one ‘no’ could lead to so many missed opportunities.
Spontaneous after-college boat trips to Rottnest Island – definitely a YES to that!
2. It gives you a home from home
One of the biggest things I realized was that although I grew up in England, the Aussie lifestyle was much more suited to my personality: chilled, I got to be outside all of the time, and I was constantly in the presence of the loves of my life – the sun and the ocean.
Climbing gigantic trees after swimming in Karrijini Park’s lagoons – the dream
3. It’s like travelling but very different
Although it also takes place on foreign shores, actually living somewhere for a year is so different to travelling. You become fully immersed in another culture and habitat, sometimes so much so you’ll pick up the accent/ attitude of those around you.
Taking the Australian surfer look a bit too far in Esperance…
3. Being a foreigner is really fun
Not just for the free drink perks because you apparently sound like Hermione Granger, being foreign can give you a massive advantage when making new friends. You’re automatically more interesting and people gravitate towards you to hear about your out of the ordinary lifestyle, which did wonders for my confidence levels.
Dressing up as Hermione Granger with the Aussie crew. Pre-quidditch beer pong challenge.
4. Be a tourist in your own country
When I’m in a foreign country, I become instantly more engaged with my surroundings and want to explore museums, galleries and most often every quirky coffee shop and street food stall in sight. This is something I try to apply now I’m back home, despite it seeming more ordinary, there is still a lot out there to learn and entertain me on my home turf.
5. 4 hours’ drive is NOT too far
If someone asked me whether I wanted to drive 4 hours to see an epic natural landmark before I’d been away, the answer would have been ‘ummmmm no?’. But now after road-tripping the entire coast-lines of both west and east Australia in an old van, I can handle anything. As long as it comes with a beer, and epic beach/ view at the end of it though.
Cruising the East Coast in our beloved Wicked Camper (yes 5 of us slept in that)
6. I picked up new skills and a different way of learning
From country to country, the education system is likely to differ. For me, this meant I had a lot more freedom in what units I chose to study that appealed to my many interests. I picked up valuable digital skills (Photoshop etc) and knowledge of sculpture and architecture that I not only used in my final year of college, I also use in my job today.
Sound like something you’d like to experience? Browse our Study Abroad pages and get planning for an exciting and unique adventure all with the awesome support of the knowledgeable International Studay Abroad team.