Preparations are underway. In 5 weeks I will be on a plane to Washington city. I am in the process of organising my travels to Washington City, Pennsylvania. I will be studying and living at the campus of Washington and Jefferson College for the duration of the 4-month Spring semester. It will be my second time travelling overseas but first on my own. I am 19 years of age and decided travelling while studying my degree would best suit me as I am able to explore the world before being fixed in a full time job. I chose the United States of America as my first place of travel as it was the most appealing to me and eliminates the issue of having a language barrier for my first time travelling alone.
Currently I have applied for travel insurance through the university, received the OS-HELP loan offered through my HECs debt and booked my flights/accommodation through our travel agent. My Visa application has been entered and I have an appointment at the United States Consulate in Melbourne next week. I have decided to travel by bus and spend a day in Melbourne before returning home.
The wait for confirmation from my host university was the first piece of the puzzle. Without that I was unable to start the major elements of the process. The major pieces being the visa application, flights, insurance, financials and accommodation.
Once I began the process I found that my university required me to receive a physical evaluation from my physician. Also a detailed record of my immunisations record. In which I required the key immunisation, in order to study in the state of Pennsylvania.
One of the decisions I have come across as being hard to make a final decision is what bag to bring with me when I travel. I currently own suitcases but am interested in purchasing a knapsack. This is due to me wanting to travel after my studies and I feel that it will best accommodate my needs. I have asked myself, will I have enough space for my things? Will having a bigger bag influence me to pack more unnecessary items? Should I spend more money on a bag in order to have better quality? Should I buy one over in America and send the one I have back home before I backpack?
Personally, I feel that I have been nervous about traveling alone as are my parents but it is reassuring to know that it is through the university and have the security of their help and assistance throughout the organisation and execution. Of course I have been stressing in terms of “Have I done everything I need to prepare for it?”, and as I am traveling in the American Winter I am concerned about the weather being so cold, coming from the Australian Summer. Although I am extremely excited to be able to undertake this experience and privileged to be apart of the Learn Without Boarder’s program.
Angela Venturi, Bachelor of Business International business (Advanced leadership)/Bachelor of Commerce Finance (Advanced leadership) student, Semester 1 2018 exchange at Washington & Jefferson College in the United States.