Arriving down under

by Ffion Davies, University of Queensland, Australia

I have always loved travelling and visiting new places, meeting new people etc, so the international exchange programme seemed perfect for me. Australia is a place I’ve always wanted to visit, from a very young age. I’m hoping to do some travelling during my time here. Queensland has some breath-taking beaches that I would love to visit. I also would love to go to other countries that are nearby such as New Zealand.

University of Queensland (UQ) had a range of courses that interested me as a criminology student; courses that aren’t available in Manchester. So, after doing some research on Brisbane and UQ there was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to do this year abroad. This opportunity allows me to push myself out of my comfort zone, experience new things and make friends from all parts of the world as well as having an insight into a different educational system with UQ.

I have been here for almost 2 weeks now and am really enjoying it. I’ve met so many new people, have come across different cultures and am adjusting to this new life.

I thought people were dramatic about the jet lag, but seriously it’s a thing!! After 30-something hours of travelling I was met at the airport, by airport pickup that I’d arranged through my halls. Then, arrived at my accommodation at 1 am. The first night was very overwhelming. I only slept for about an hour and a half that night and was feeling all the emotions: nervous, excited; I was thinking “omg what have I done coming here on my own!”. But since then, I haven’t thought that again. You just have to give it time! Don’t get me wrong, it’s daunting (obviously) moving away from family and friends but it’s an opportunity you might never get again so why wouldn’t you do it?

Even though it’s winter here, it still reaches about 22oC most days. This is warm for me but the locals and other international students are in coats and jumper. I’ve had a few funny looks walking around in shorts! Waking up to the sun beating every morning is bound to put anyone in a good mood! Especially after being used to the miserable, wet weather in the UK.

The bus to uni is convenient for me, only a 5 minute walk as well as a shopping centre which is no more than a 10 minute walk. My accommodation arrange several social activities every month which has helped me meet and make friends with other students in the building.

Even though I haven’t been here long, I’m so excited to see what this year has to offer! I can’t believe I’ve actually made it to Australia. To be honest, it still feels a bit surreal that I’m here!!

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