By Serena (university of Queensland, Australia)
So I’m finally back in Manchester after 15 months. I’ve had the most incredible experience but now it’s time to get back to reality. Although Manchester itself hasn’t really changed, being here just feels different. I think the main reason is that most of my friends have now graduated and moved away from Manchester, so I feel like its first year again where I don’t know anyone, especially since I’m back in halls. Going to lectures also feels strange since everybody else seems to know each other pretty well, whereas I don’t know anyone! I’m already slightly overwhelmed with the amount of work I have to do in final year. At UQ, the year was pass/fail so the workload was manageable, I’ve forgotten how to be organised!
Every time I log into Facebook I constantly see pictures of the beach/koalas/kangaroos and it makes me miss my home in Australia even more! I know one day I will go back to Australia, and possibly even live there permanently. Looking back at my year, I am so grateful for the opportunity and I can honestly say that it was better than I could have ever imagined it to be.
This is my final blog post so I will finish with some advice for anyone thinking about studying abroad. Firstly, make the most of your year because it goes by so quick. Take the opportunity to do as much travelling as you can. Secondly, push yourself out of your comfort zone; studying abroad is a scary thing, you have to force yourself to become more independent but this will benefit you in the long term. Lastly, don’t over-plan everything. Obviously it’s good to have a general idea of where you would like to go travelling, but leave your plans fairly flexible. You’ll end up discovering places that aren’t in the tourism books, and spontaneity can sometimes be brilliant. Sometimes if your trip is too structured, you end up missing out on things you discover last minute.
If you are considering going to UQ, I definitely recommend. From the campus, to the teaching to the societies, it really is an incredible university, in an amazing city!