“What will you discover” is the GlobaLinks slogan. The Discovery Model was designed as a guideline for study abroad students to make the most out of their experience and take advantage of every opportunity. My experience was not the same as my friends but I was able to discover myself in each pillar of discovery.
It’s easy to forget the purpose of studying abroad is to study and experience a new, unfamiliar approach to academics. Familiarizing myself with the Australian academics, especially the grading system, was an adjustment, but I am grateful for the opportunity. Minoring in Spanish, I was unsure if I should take a class in Australia because I knew it wasn’t as frequently spoken as in the US, and the only class available was a much higher level than I was comfortable with. The class had its difficulties but I was challenged to use my Spanish skills more than I ever had in the past. My confidence in my ability to speak Spanish as well as my skills unexpectedly grew.
Australia was a lot of firsts for me; the first time living more than a 30-minute drive from my parents, cooking and buying groceries for myself and traveling outside of the US. I remember being absolutely terrified of cooking for myself every single day and though I would live off salad for five months. It was nowhere near as difficult as I had imagined. I became more independent as well. My friend and I planned a 10-day semester break tip to New Zealand, from what we did each day, finding hostels to stay at and booking transportation to each town.
I did not have an internship or job while I was abroad, which I definitely regret because minimum wage is nearly three times as much in Australia, but I did gain valuable information I can use in the future. I gained much more out of my Spanish class than just improving my speaking abilities. The class focused on utilizing Spanish in real life setting, like applying for a job. I not only learned how to create a strong resume, video CV and how to personalize a cover letter, but also how to conduct myself in an interview setting. Although I learned everything in Spanish, it is easily applicable to preparing for any type of job interview.
I was fortunate to live with an Australian who happened to have a car and it made my time in Australia that much better. She would take my friends and me to local places that are difficult to get to without a car. We ventured to rock pools and into the Gold Coast Hinterlands. I also had the awesome chance to spend a week in Cairns at my roommate’s house. She took my friend and I too so many amazing places, we had a proper Aussie barbeque on the beach and tried sugar cane straight from the stalk. I meet so many amazing people from all over the world that I know I will always be friends with and now I have an excuse to travel more.
I am an extremely finicky eater. I do not any type of seafood and if I do not like the way something looks or smells, it is probably not going in my stomach. Once I got to Australia, that I changed and I told myself I needed to be more adventurous and try new things. The first few days in Australia, my taste buds were exposed to so many new flavors. I tired Vegemite, which is gross, Kangaroo, and every strange-looking fruit imaginable. I even got the courage to try sushi, which I’m now completely obsessed with. I also had the opportunity to attend a rugby match, which is like Aussie religion, and had an amazing time.