The moment I realised that studying abroad was the best decision I have ever made was on a road trip with a group of friends. After spending the coldest night of or lives in a tent, we woke up to the most amazing sunrise at Cradle Mountain…
I have always embraced any chance to travel and experience new places and adventures. So, when I found there was an opportunity to live abroad for a year as part of my Zoology degree I wasn’t going to turn it down.
Tasmania. That small island off the south coast of Australia, nothing lies further south of it other than Antarctica. Flying into the state gives you just a snap shot of its vast green wilderness. I was based in Hobart, just one of the two cities in the state. Mount Wellington overlooks the city, standing at 1271m, sheltering the city from the West coast. Tasmania is well known for its four seasons in a single day weather and its one of the few places you can go skiing and surfing in the same day if you really wanted to!
My favourite thing about Tasmania is that you could be in the middle of nowhere just half an hour outside of the city. The landscape is phenomenal and begging to be explored. A couple of fellow study abroad students and I bought a car when we arrived and this allowed us to make the most of our weekends, ticking off national parks and capturing breath taking views.
Living abroad meant I was able to study new courses not available back in Exeter. In particular, I learnt about Antarctica thanks to Hobart’s Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies. The University is very internationally orientated and so I met people from all different backgrounds, and I now have friends all over the world.
I had a job alongside my studies, allowing me to save for travelling during the summer. Fortunately the way the Australian academic year works, their summer holidays begin in November and end in February. I was able to spend Christmas with friends surfing the reef breaks of Bali then flew across the Tasman Sea for New Years in New Zealand on a solo trip for six weeks. Just before flying home, in July, I even managed to squeeze in a 3 week trip to Fiji!
Whether you choose to travel within Europe or further afield, the thought of living abroad is naturally going to be a daunting prospect. For me however, returning home after 396 days out of the UK, was what made me a apprehensive. It’s a chance to start a whole new chapter in your life and discover what really makes you happy, after living out of a suitcase for the past year I came home to too many clothes!
I have gained so much from living and studying abroad. Not only have I developed lifelong friends, I have also boosted my independence and learnt that the only things in life you regret are the opportunities which you don’t take up. University is meant to be the best years of your life and my year in Tasmania has done just that.