Despite all of the daily challenges we encountered while in New Caledonia (humidity, getting lost, losing belongs, an earthquake), it was definitely a very worthwhile trip! However, if you’re only looking for a cheap holiday, an overseas intensive is probably not the best way to go about it. Yes, the New Colombo Plan funding helped to make the trip a lot more affordable but it is, after all, intensive! There was, of course, some time to explore and relax, but we did have a pretty tight schedule.
You will learn a lot in a very short space of time, and classroom language learning just can’t compare to an immersive language experience such as this. If you really want to put your language skills into practice and increase your fluency and confidence, an overseas experience is the best way to go. But you can’t be lazy while you’re there – use the language at every opportunity you can get!
- Check your junk email regularly: even if your emails seem to have been working well! This is the main method of contact between you, Flinders and your in-country institution. Our entire group missed some very important emails about a tsunami warning being lifted, because they went to junk!
- Understand and prepare for the climate: clothes, water, food, sleep, shelter. All of these things will help your body cope in a different environment, but it pays to be aware how each of them affects you individually, as it might be different for other people travelling with you.
- Pace yourself : understand how much time you have and don’t go too hard too soon. Make sure you schedule in down-time, as on an intensive like this you don’t want to spend a chunk of your time run down or sick.
When we returned to Adelaide, I was immediately struck by a contrast between where we had been and, while looking out of the aeroplane window, experienced a moment of clarity about what we had learnt about the socio-political situation of New Caledonia and its uniqueness. I think that’s something you can only appreciate by going to a country, and not just by studying it.
Eloise Quinn-Valentine, Bachelor of Arts-Enhanced Program for High Achievers student participated in the program “Understanding New Caledonia: New perspectives and traditions” in November- December 2019. The program was funded by the New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant (short term)
- Read Eloise’s 1st blog here