I slowly sip my fresh coffee in the early morning sun, looking past the tree-line into the beautiful expanse of the clear blue ocean. The bitter cold that so recently bit at my cheeks in a snowy Canadian winter slips from memory. I walk across the footbridge and pass by students in down jackets, comparing their winter garb to my flowey summer dress. I smile to myself – sure enough, my Canadian is showing.
I often wonder how I got lucky enough to call Adelaide and Flinders Living my home. Within my first week, I got the chance to admire Adelaide’s stunning beaches, explore downtown, and see wildlife at Cleland Wildlife Conservation Park. Orientation week passed by in a blur of new faces, complementary food, and seemingly never-ending sunshine. My roommate and I became inseparable as we took it upon ourselves to discover all the nearby beaches and parks. All of the exchange students quickly became a tight knit group. Nights spent playing cards in the community centre became routine, as we all shared plans for tomorrow’s adventure.
Once classes started, I was energized by the new people and the new routine. I was challenged to think outside of my comfortable North American context, critically engaging with peers and teachers with various backgrounds and experiences. The Australian accent soon became the new “normal” as words like “bloke” and “oi” slipped into my vocabulary. Before I knew it, I was saying “g’day” passing by friends on campus.
I watched the sun slip over the ocean and the cotton candy sky from anywhere on campus, including the carparks. The view was so great, sometimes even the “mozzies” came to join. Once I realized I had a much higher chance of spotting a koala napping on a tree than finding a snake lurking in the bushes, I grew to love campus even more.
There were countless times where I would just think: wow, I cannot believe I live here. Honestly, it felt like a dream. I had the opportunity to spend time with interesting people from all over the world, to live minutes from the beach, and to explore a corner of the opposite side of the globe. Although I’m in the cohort whose time at Flinders got cut short, the memories I made during my short month abroad will leave a long-lasting impact.
Michele LeBlanc, Bachelor of Health Sciences, S1 2020 Exchange student from Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada
Read Michele’s 2nd blog post here