I come from a land down under: Study abroad tips

It all started in October 2014. I always knew that I wanted to study abroad as part of my degree. However, it was not until the study abroad fair that I decided that Australia was my destination of choice. Whilst I was enjoying student life in Sheffield, I felt that studying abroad was an opportunity that I could not pass up. Therefore, I began preparing my application. The process was slightly overwhelming at times. Researching all the universities and attempting to choose a shortlist of my top five proved to be difficult. Nonetheless, I managed to narrow down my choices to five universities in Australia and Canada. Then came the tricky part; the personal statement. After a few hours of procrastinating, I finally managed to type up a page summing up why I wanted to study abroad.

The next step of the process was finding out which university if any, had accepted you. Luckily for me, I was offered the chance to study at the University of Wollongong, Australia. The location was perfect; an hour and a half from Sydney by train with accommodation ten minutes from the beach. Naturally, I accepted the offer immediately. Then came the pressure of exams. Whilst all my friends were doing the bare minimum required to pass, in order to study abroad I needed to achieve a 2:1. I even set an image of Australia as my laptop wallpaper as study motivation. Fortunately, I achieved the grades I needed and before I knew it I was on my first flight alone to the other side of the world

I remember being in Singapore airport questioning my life choices. Not knowing what was waiting for me in Australia was the most difficult part for me. However, I need not have worried. Upon arrival at the airport, I was picked up by a taxi driver who took me to my accommodation. Along the way he gave me some tips on how to avoid being killed by the lovely Australian wildlife. I had chosen to live at International House as I wanted the chance to meet people of all different nationalities. This was a great decision. Whilst studying abroad, I made amazing friends from all over the world and experienced things, such as surfing, that I would not have had the chance to experience otherwise. The best part of all; knowing that I have a free house to stay at if I want to visit any of my friends. Last weekend, I visited a friend in Hull, I am hoping for a slightly more exotic trip next time.

Now, I am settling back into life at Sheffield as I complete my third and final year. Adjusting back to life in the UK has not been as challenging as I anticipated. However, acclimatising to the cold winter weather may prove to be the toughest challenge yet!

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