I’m Jacqueline, a student from the University of Calgary (UofC) in Alberta Canada, who is on a year-long exchange here at Flinders. Back home I am a Communications major, minoring in Sociology. Here at Flinders I am lucky enough to be taking a wide range of option classes (or ‘topics’ as they call them) that aren’t available to me back home.
In order to make the most of my exchange experience and because I had almost three months off after UofC’s Fall Exams (thank you Oz semester dates!) I was able to travel South East Asia for four weeks, and then arrive in Australia two weeks before move-in day, here at Deirdre Jordan Village. As soon as I arrived I knew I would love Adelaide. It was interesting, when I would tell people back home that I was studying here, almost nobody knew where Adelaide was, and those that did would ask me “why do you want to study there? Its boring”. Personally, I do not think I could have picked a better city to live in for the next 10 months. Adelaide reminds me of Calgary, there is a big city centre with lots of shopping and hustle and bustle, and then there are the quieter neighbourhoods (where Flinders is). Major plus side: the beach!! People forget that for a Canadian that is used to having winter and snow for almost 8 months of the year, having a beach close by is a huge selling point. Also, being away from a major city means I can look out my window and see a koala in the tree! My friends at home are incredibly jealous. Like Calgary, other major cities are close by. Instead of going over the mountains to Vancouver, I will hop on a $50 flight to Melbourne or Sydney! It will preserve the wow-factor for me not to be living in a tourist attraction. Not to mention, Adelaide Fringe was one heck of a party! Definitely gave me nostalgia of Stampede, having everyone outside drinking and eating – minus the cowboys of course.
I did experience a bit of homesickness on move in day. From my window I could see people’s parents helping them move in, getting groceries, and saying their goodbyes. It made me realize how far away from home I actually was, and dealing with a 17.5 hour time difference meant I couldn’t even Skype my family. However, I pulled myself together and went to the Welcome Dinner, where I met many amazing people that have been nothing but friendly and supportive! The events in O-week were a great way to meet everyone; that’s where I met 4 of my closest friends that I have here in Adelaide!
My advice for anyone who is feeling overwhelmed or lonely is simply to be around people in the Village, the Hall or just around campus. There are a lot more internationals, and people from other parts of Australia than I realized! Just post on the Facebook page and see if anyone is available to do anything; groceries, go to the beach, a movie, or even just to go for a walk – I have never seen any post go uncommented on.
After one month living here in Adelaide I couldn’t be happier. The classes at Flinders are different and interesting, the people living around me are nothing but fun, and the weather is amazing (this is Fall?!). I have learned a lot about myself recently, that I can handle living away from home for a year, in a country that is so far away I am always a day ahead of my family and friends!
I am very excited to see what this exchange has in store for me, for the next 8 months of school, and the lasting impressions I will carry with me for a lifetime.