Getting an Australian education at record speed (plus koalas)

‘Studying abroad for a couple of months; an experience that you will never forget!’ It sounded like a standard advertisement trying to get more students to do something, like most other campaigns. Though, right now, I could not agree more with this statement.

Until the first of July 2015, the day I left my country, I had no real feelings about my adventure in Australia. I was not scared, I was not nervous. I was excited of course, but it almost felt like my emotions and I were about to be thrown into a deep and dark hole called Melbourne of which I had no knowledge. No knowledge based on experience, because everyone knows that Melbourne is a city in Victoria in Australia. That Australians drive on the left side of the road, speak, what they call, English and live in a country that is populated by some of the most dangerous animals and some of the cutest.

Joyce with Koala

Meeting the cute locals

My knowledge, though, was about to be expanded in a faster speed than a koala can eat the fresh leaves of his favourite eucalyptus tree. I figured out how to get to places on Deakin’s Melbourne Burwood Campus, I learned some Aussie slang (‘barbie’ is my favourite), I explored parts of Melbourne with a group of people I had never met before, I tried to surf in Lorne, I saw my first koala, I learned that Australians discovered Wi-Fi, I enjoyed a really weird circus, I improved my English a lot, I made friends and a whole lot more. All of this in just my first week.

Joyce with friends on a night out in Melbourne

On a night out with friends from the Deakin Study Abroad Club

Reading those experiences sounds like it was all just a fun trip in the rollercoaster that was only going up. But just like every rollercoaster, it had to go down sometimes. My biggest challenge came in after being in Australia for about a month. I got homesick. Even though I got lucky enough to have my brother travelling all the way to Australia, it is an inevitable emotion that most people will experience once in their lives. I personally think that being homesick does not have to be a negative thing: it makes you appreciate what you miss. I embraced the feeling and let myself be homesick for a moment, but I got up and tried to replace it by the things and people I did have right there, right then: my friends.

Looking back at my exchange so far I think that I can say that this has definitely been one of the best parts of my life. By going abroad I gained an experience that gave me the opportunity to discover myself, make friends forever and learn about the world. I faced challenges that I would have never encountered if I stayed in my own country and I think that it made me stronger as a person. I had an amazing time and could only hope for it to never end!


Greetings from the Netherlands – thanks for the good times Australia!

To learn more about Deakin University and opportunities for international students, visit the Deakin International webpage or ask a question below.

You must be logged in to post a comment