The reality of what I’m about to do hasn’t quite sunk in yet. I will fly out of Adelaide in less than 2 weeks, and I won’t be home until just before Christmas. It’s a little daunting to say the least!
Aside from an international service trip that was organized by my high school, I haven’t travelled overseas, and certainly never by myself. I have found it both hard and frustrating to find the time to plan every little detail of this trip between keeping up with study in Semester 1, hobbies, social commitments and working to save as much money as I can! This is probably what I’m most worried about – not being totally organized in a foreign place. I’ve decided to travel before term starts (on holiday with my mum, who has never been to Europe either), rather than afterwards because I’m not overly keen on freezing cold European winters! At this stage, I’m keen to come home for a hot Aussie Christmas, but I have bought a flexible return flight in case I do change my mind and want to stay longer.
I originally planned on going to France for exchange, as French is my minor, but have since decided to go to England. To make the most of my time overseas though, I’m going to spend 10 days in Paris before travelling to the UK. I know it’s not long, but I’m excited and anxious to be immersed in French culture and language. Hopefully I will be able hold my own!
As well as doing a semester exchange, I’ve decided to do a week-long summer school program in musical theatre on West End. I was so excited when I came across this course, it was the first thing I booked and paid for – before I booked flights! I hadn’t anticipated this in my original budget, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to perform on West End. I’ve also already started looking at the clubs on offer at my host uni and I am hoping to join a few of their arts groups which simply don’t exist at Flinders.
I also have some family in Scotland, who I am keen to meet for the first time. We have hired a car for this leg of the journey and I am looking forward to exploring little towns, the highlands and the places which have special significance to my family.
I’ve only just received confirmation of my on-campus accommodation, which has been very frustrating as I haven’t been able to finalise the accommodation I will need before term starts until now. Things are falling into place though, it just might be a race to make it through my to-do list and pack my bags before the plane takes off!
Eloise Quinn-Valentine, Bachelor of Arts-Enhanced Program for High Achievers/Bachelor of Science, Semester 2 2017 exchange at Royal Holloway University of London, UK