American and English History – Graduating July 2013
University of California Santa Barbara (Sept-Dec 2011)
University of Wollongong Australia (Feb-June 2012)
After such an incredible year of living in two different countries, studying at two different universities and travelling from one side of the world to the other I feel that it is now a good time to reflect and write about my experiences.
After studying at the University of East Anglia for two years I fell in love with Norwich and all that it had to offer. However, I have never been one to stand still for too long and spend a lot of my free time travelling. At university I study American History with English History, and as part of the four year course the third year involved transferring to another university to study for a year.
I chose to split my year in two and spend a semester in America (University of Santa Barbara California) followed by a semester in Australia (University of Wollongong). This was quite a difficult decision as many of my friends on my course had opted to spend their entire year at one institute, as they felt that they didn’t want to settle in to then be uprooted. As I have family from my father’s side in Sydney, only an hour North of Wollongong, I was reassured in the knowledge that if I ever needed any help or was feeling homesick I would have family nearby to comfort me. This also helped my decision to not come home for Christmas, as a lot of my friends had planned to, because I wanted to be independent and stay abroad for the entire year.
I finished my year away by flying to Bangkok and meeting my younger sister to do some island hopping. We spent a month going from place to place, starting in Bangkok and working our way to Koh Samui, Koh Phangon, Koh Tao, Koh Phi Phi and then back to Bangkok before flying home.
It is difficult to know where to start in explaining just how beneficial I have found my year abroad to be. Without a shadow of a doubt it was certainly the best decision I have ever made! It was such an invaluable experience that taught me so much about who I am as a person, and also how capable I am at handling the sometimes difficult situations that were thrown my way. I have gained so much independence and confidence from partaking in the year abroad scheme and have come away with a lot more energy and drive in life. It is something that looks brilliant on your CV as it shows employers that you are a highly capable individual and can cope under stress and in a different environment than you are used to.
At a first glance the prospect of living away from home for a year does seem pretty daunting! What will you do without your friends and family; your cat? In reality it really isn’t all that different than being at university in England, albeit a great deal more fun! Your new university and country become your home and the people you meet along the way become unforgettable friends. I now have close friends in both California and New South Wales giving me plenty of reason to go travelling again once I graduate this upcoming summer. This not only means I get to see some friendly faces on my travels but it also guarantees me free accommodation, which is pretty amazing considering how expensive travelling can be!
Before my year away I had always wanted to work abroad after graduating from university. Having the opportunity to live in another part of the world really helped strengthen and secure my decision to live and work in Australia in the future. I have always wanted to work in the world of advertising and marketing and have an upcoming interview at Havas Worldwide in the next month, which I am very excited and nervous for! I have also applied for internships at global companies, with branches in Australia, as my first step towards working abroad. Furthermore, I have been attending conferences that give advice with regards to emigration, visa application and working abroad (Last week I attended one by Working in – http://www.workingin.com).