Inbound students Study Abroad and Exchange at the University of Melbourne
Exchange in Semester 2, 2011 and Semester 1, 2012
Bachelor of Science
Ever since I was a young teen I have craved the exchange experience! The question shouldn't be "Why are you going on exchange?" but "WHY wouldn't you?!".
The exchange experience is a ONCE in a lifetime opportunity. I made numerous International and American LIFELONG friends. Once on exchange you will realise that you can make great friends in such a short period of time due to the amazing experiences you share with each other, the new life style you submerse yourself in and also because of your accent! Americans LOVE the Australian accent. The exchange experience is also fantastic because it opens your eyes to so much, whether it be academically, socially or culturally.
I went to the University of Connecticut (UConn) which is located between two of the GREAT cities - New York and Boston. UConn, unlike Australian Universities, was a big college town. Everyone lived on or five mins away from campus in dorms, apartments or houses. Therefore the people you meet you would see everyday! You would eat breakfast, lunch and dinner together in the Dining Halls (which offer superb food), you go to FRAT parties on the weekends, or to Huskies (the bar on Campus) on Thursdays. You begin to realise that your friendships are different to those you have back home because you are surrounded by your fellow students and friends 24/7.
If you go to college in America you will quickly learn to become independent. I stayed in an apartment on campus with three other American ladies, where I learned to do my own cooking, laundry, cleaning and I also was able to have people over when ever I wanted (There were no parents there to say otherwise) and I LOVED IT. I loved being independent and I loved doing everything for myself.
Not only did Youth Allowance and a Melbourne University scholarship make my overseas stay a whole lot easier but is also important to remember that the US is insanely cheap for living. I spent only $40 a week on groceries and housing goods were just as cheap and easily accessible, either from Walmart or other local stores.
Academically, I thought UConn was great for Science especially Zoology/Marine Science students. It offered a great variety of subjects that are not available at Melbourne University, including the subjects Parasitology, Biological Oceanography, Marine Biology and a seminar like class on Aquaculture and Fisheries. While there is a greater work load, I felt as though the Professors and their assistants were so helpful, nurturing and resourceful, it was hard NOT to enjoy or NOT pass any of the classes.
And don't worry it is not ALL study, during the holidays and some long weekends throughout the year, I was able to travel the states (there is so much too see!). I travelled both the East and West coasts, going to places such as;
- Washington DC, literally an enormous Doll House, it is picture perfect and SUPER clean,
- Austin, the Blues capital of the WORLD. Austin is so young, vibrant and active.
- Boston, the COLLEGE city full of tens of thousands of students, you'll get to see some of the great colleges like Harvard and Boston College.
- Santa Monica, which is super chilled, relaxed and full of great people both International and American.
- Cape Cod, which is a beautiful beach community in Massachusetts.
I have only listed a selected few of the amazing destinations the United States has to offer.
I was also very lucky to be apart of the UCONN Dance Team. And no words can describe how AMAZING this experience was. I was able to meet a great bunch of ladies, be coached by an OUTSTANDING Coach, dance/cheer at high profile Basketball and Football Games, and was even lucky enough to be on ESPN on several occasions. I was also lucky enough to accompany the UConn Dance Team to Florida where we competed in the NDA Championships, another experience that I will never forget.
As I stated previously the question shouldn't be "Why are you going on Exchange?" but "Why wouldn't you?"!
While it can seem like a long tedious process, all the preparation is WORTH it! So what are you waiting for! Start the Application process now!
And before you know it you'll be living the dream!
Don't forget to make the most of it. :)