Studying abroad has been one of the best decisions I have made. My time in Australia was truly life changing due to the seemingly endless opportunities that prevailed allowing me to continue to push myself out of my comfort zone while gaining new perspectives from individuals of all walks of life. I chose The Education Abroad Network (TEAN) as my program provider due to their focus on Oceania where they helped me narrow down the options until I found Murdoch University in Perth, WA which ended up being an exceptional fit. I received help every step of the way and felt in good hands due to the responsiveness of the program coordinators. The extensive Welcome Week in Cairns, QLD allowed me to check several things off my bucket list such as sky diving and scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef. The traditional Welcome to Country from the local Indigenous people was a very unique experience and even included boomerang throwing and a smudging ceremony followed by song and traditional foods. Sharing these experiences with peers in the program allowed me to connect with them instantly and many ended up becoming close friends throughout the entire semester. I gained more knowledge on Australia’s history, political system, and cultural differences during our meetings and felt better prepared before departing for my host city and uni.
Once in my host city of Perth, WA I immediately realized the way of life was much more relaxed than what I was used to, especially due to the laid back atmosphere of Fremantle Harbor and the relatively less crowded city of Perth. All the people I met and spoke to from WA were extremely laid back and welcoming and friends were easy to make. I was extremely fortunate to see so much of beautiful Western Australia due to two road trips when combined covered nearly all of the Western coastline. Giant Tingle Trees, cave lakes, rolling vineyards, and endless rock formations define the Southwest region of WA for myself and my friends. Later in the semester, a second road trip offered by Murdoch University for study abroad students would be referred to as “the Northwest Trip” by everyone who attended which encompassed a massive proportion of northwest Western Australia with highlights of snorkeling in Turquoise Bay, a traditional Aussie BBQ in the outback of Karijini National Park while dingos howled at the full moon, and serene coastal views that occasionally included a whale’s caudal fin.
If you are thinking about studying abroad, I recommend taking whatever steps necessary and just do it. You will not regret the experience and wherever you end up will be an enjoyable experience as long as you keep an open mind, step outside of your comfort zone, push yourself when the coursework is stressful, and be a good friend to others. The experience will unfold itself and before you know it you will be established with a new life just as it is time to pack your bags and return home. You will get homesick and you will experience tough situations when adjusting to the new country, school, and friendships but the connections you gain and the memories you will make outweigh the negatives. Nothing will have changed when you return home so you might as well take the chance.
Jerry Slowinski (BS Environmental Science) spent the Fall 2023 semester studying abroad in Perth, Australia through The Education Abroad Network. Jake had the following to say about studying abroad, “If you are thinking about studying abroad, I recommend taking whatever steps necessary and just do it. You will not regret the memories you make and the people you meet.“
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