I’ve been dreaming of University exchange to the United States since I first heard about the opportunity, back in High School when I was 15 – now 20. I was always a big dreamer through High School, thinking of University and what I would like to study, and when I found out there were opportunities to study overseas, I knew I would try my hardest to make that happen.
Right from applying to Universities in year 12 I was calling to see if the courses offered an opportunity to take part in the exchange program. So you can imagine the excitement and happiness I experienced when I received my acceptance in May 2016 after such a long process of planning, applying, and waiting especially after being told the University of Arizona was a very popular choice for 2016!
Since starting at Flinders last year in 2015, studying International Tourism and Events I made a bucket list of some of the things I’d like to see and do on Exchange if I were to be accepted. I stuck this up on my wall for inspiration to keep working towards it. When it came to applying, there was a small part of me that almost was too scared to follow through, I experienced this same feeling when I accepted my scholarship, started telling people, and of course booking my flights. Someone once told me, do things on the count of 2, especially those things that you really want, even if you are worried about them, and to jump at opportunities before having everything perfectly planned, and assured me you’ll make it work, and you can work the rest out later. And so I did, and although I leave in 4 weeks with not everything perfectly planned I couldn’t be any happier that I took that advice when I was close to turning away.
The following are my travel plans so far:
- Arrive in LA on August 7, spend a night
- Undertake international orientation at the University for 3 days
- Go on a 4-day surf and sail camp trip in San Diego (an offer that was offered after acceptance only to University of Arizona international students)
- Move into my off campus accommodation for U of A students (The Cadence) – Check it out!
- Begin study at U of A (August 22) – After exams (mid Dec) meet my friend in New York who will be studying at University of Calgary
- Go on a Topdeck bus tour from New York – Miami (over Christmas and New Years)
- Have 5 weeks spare to travel Canada, and other places in the United States (not yet planned)
- Go back to Australia early February
Although the process has been stressful at times, especially with money and worrying about the big events I’ll be missing out on Australia, I am so happy with my decision to take this opportunity of once in a lifetime, because I know the experiences will be incredible and like nothing else I have ever experienced.
Why I wanted to go on exchange?
- Meet and make friends from around the globe
- A better understanding of the American culture
- New experiences that I could not have in Australia (e.g. living at University accommodation)
- Travel the United States and Canada
- Attend a different University
- Go on an adventure completely independent
- Step out of my comfort zone
- Have a once in a lifetime opportunity
My advice if you’re considering applying for exchange:
JUST DO IT while you have the chance! Work the rest out later!
Emily Cocks, a Bachelor of International Tourism student, Semester 2 2016 exchange at University of Arizona, the United States