Time down under a life changing experience

RP staffer learns plenty in Australia

Erika Marion, Assistant Sports Editor

I never thought I would be brave enough to study in a foreign country, but it was truly the best experience of my life.

This past winterim, I was fortunate enough to study abroad in Australia. I have always wanted to study abroad, but I wanted to find an alternative to an entire semester in a different country. Fortunately, I found a perfect balance in studying abroad for a month while still receiving credit for school.

I applied through the global experiences program here at UW- Whitewater and studied at Deakin University Geelong Waterfront Campus in Victoria, Australia.

Since it was only a month, we were only required to take one class called ‘Australia Today’ where we learned all about Australia’s culture and history. As part of our coursework we  had classes on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday followed by field trips on Thursdays and Fridays for two weeks.

The rest of the time spent down under, we had time to explore. We went to many different parts of Australia in our free time, spending free days at the beach or exploring new cities.

I had the opportunity to road trip the Great Ocean Road, which is on the southern coast of Australia where you hit some of the most beautiful beaches and landmarks. Great Ocean Road is one of the world’s most scenic coastal drives. It was the most beautiful road trip I have ever been on.

Even though I enjoyed the road trip so much, my favorite part of the entire trip was a boat ride around the Great Barrier Reef–one of the seven wonders of the world. I wanted to see the reef before it was completely dead, since 80% of it has already died due to pollution and other issues. We also had the opportunity to go snorkeling and swam with the sea turtles that were all around us. I will remember that day for the rest of my life.

If you are a student thinking of studying abroad, I highly recommend doing it. I stepped out of my comfort zone by traveling out of the country for the first time in my life, and I have no regrets. It was the best experience of my life. I met so many new friends, learned so much about myself and experienced a whole new part of the world. It truly changed my life for the better, and I am forever thankful for it.