Program: UMD Exchange: University of New South Wales
Term: Spring 2018
Major: Psychology & Family Science
Studying abroad had a huge impact on my worldview, and therefore on myself. A critical skill that I have learned while studying and living in Sydney is how to be proactive not only personally but professionally as well. Being in this new country with different cultural values has been challenging, and it has been a process to figure out the different aspects of university life here. However, being proactive and asking questions has proven to make the process more efficient. I have been able to seek more guidance and nurture more personal and professional relationships because I have explored the university and all of its resources and used them to my advantage.
Advice for future #TerpsAbroad: When planning to go abroad, it is important to consider the social norms and conventions of the community you are about to go to. If these customs are in direct conflict with an identity of yours and that makes you uncomfortable, I believe it is best to prioritize your safety and plan ahead for either continuing to study in that community, or being flexible to change programs. There are so many amazing places and people in this world so exploring another study abroad location can be a blessing in disguise!
Living in Sydney was an exciting adventure that I have not experienced elsewhere. Living in huge city meant that exploring new places was extremely doable and exciting. My most memorable experience was hiking along the western coast, just below Sydney. The scenery was incredible-- trekking through deserted beaches and up cliffs, through thick brush in one area and through streams next, and seeing all the beautiful and unique wildlife was all easily accessible by the convenient transportation system. All the different landscapes in Australia is something that you cannot find elsewhere, and I was so happy I got to explore.
Advice for future #TerpsAbroad: Studying abroad sounds daunting in many ways, but it does not have to be. Many people are deterred by the myth that studying and living abroad is expensive. This is a myth-- studying abroad can be just as expensive as tuition, and even less! With a multitude of programs and countries, this experience is accessible to all.
Being abroad is exciting and the possibilities are endless. I came into this process with just this mindset and forgot to consider the possibility of homesickness and loneliness. What helped me was realizing everyone else was in this same position, and going out and becoming involved on campus and meeting new people would help alleviate those feelings.