“If you’re on the fence, just do it. No matter what complications come up, you will be able to deal with it. And barring extreme illness or injury, the experience is worth it. Almost every adult I have spoken with about my experience abroad regrets not traveling as a student.”
It was always my dream to study abroad to be able to experience a different country in that much depth. There were several factors that led me to choose Australia including good school programs, English-speaking, and the fact that I had family in the country in case of emergency.
My most interesting cultural experience was actually learning how similar everyone is despite living in so many different countries. Most of us had similar interests and even personalities, and without hearing them talk they I would not have been able to guess where they were from.
The biggest challenge and concern for me was definitely the financial aspect. I wasn’t able to get as many hours at my job as I needed, so I definitely learned how cut my expenses and maximize value when I did spend.
I wish this were more exciting, like I woke up and rode a kangaroo to class every day or something. But most days were pretty normal: I woke up, went to class, hung out with my friends, and went home. Sometimes we played sports or explored the city. I met someone new pretty much every other day.
I took three engineering courses while abroad, along with a research project. In general, the lectures and labs were the same as Berkeley classes, while the exams and assignments were much easier.
The most memorable aspect of my time abroad was definitely the people I met. It was awesome to hear their perspectives and meet people from dozens of different countries.
After basically spending the last six months meeting new people, I find myself being much more outgoing and expressive than before I left.
If you’re on the fence, just do it. No matter what complications come up, you will be able to deal with it. And barring extreme illness or injury, the experience is worth it. Almost every adult I have spoken with about my experience abroad regrets not traveling as a student. Especially with Australia, the fact that they speak English (albeit hard to understand at times) makes everything much easier.