‘Exchange has been the best experience of my life’

If you had asked me a year ago to travel half way across the world on exchange, I would have said you were crazy! But, being on exchange has been the best experience of my life.

Hi, I am Amelia and I am currently completing a one-year exchange program at San Diego State University (SDSU) in California, United States. I am studying a Deakin double degree: Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Food and Nutrition Sciences.

On campus at SDSU

I applied for an exchange program because I wanted to gain a sense of independence while being able to study and see the world. Thanks to Deakin Abroad, this exchange has allowed me to do both. I have found that America is a great destination, and allows many opportunities for travelling as there are 50 states! Learning about the different cultures and states has definitely opened my eyes to another world.

Visiting the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco

Prior to my exchange program I found it difficult to go out of my own comfort zone as I was a shy person. However, being immersed in a new country where I didn’t know anyone, I was quickly able to move outside of my comfort zone and meet many people in the same situation. I was extremely nervous getting on the plane, but opening this new chapter has allowed me to experience such great opportunities and meet amazing people. I have been extremely lucky to meet so many friends from all around the world who I will keep in contact with after my exchange program.

Some of the many friends I have made during my time on exchange

When moving to America, accommodation was an aspect that was important to me. I wanted a living space that was close to the SDSU campus and convenient. I found student housing close to SDSU. The benefit of living in a student accommodation complex is I am surrounded with other likeminded SDSU students who are able to guide me.

When starting at SDSU, all my familiarity was gone. Nerves were running high and I felt like I was experiencing the first day of university again. However, I quickly discovered that studying somewhere new allows me to experience different ways of learning. At SDSU classes are highly interactive with several group projects and presentations. This means I can network with many peers and make connections with my classmates. Although the college life at SDSU has been extremely different to my university experience at Deakin, I have thoroughly enjoyed the different learning experience.

Spending time at the beach with my new friends

Attending a college that has a large sports focus was also something that I wanted to be a part of my exchange experience. I have been lucky enough to attend a college that has a great football team and an even better basketball team. I have loved watching the games and it is so exciting to be immersed in the fun sporting atmosphere here.

Enjoying the amazing atmosphere at a college football game

Being in San Diego, there is also a big influence for Mexican and Hispanic foods and cultures. Being immersed in the American and Hispanic cultures has allowed me to experience beautiful foods that I had never eaten before.

It is hard to put into such short words just how incredible this opportunity is. Exchange is an experience you will never regret. Studying and travelling at the same time is an opportunity that cannot be experienced beyond your time at university. I hope that this is just the start and that I will have other opportunities to travel abroad in the future. I feel that this experience has helped me to connect with more people and has inspired me to seek a career where I can continue to travel the world.

I cannot recommend exchange programs enough to other Deakin students. This experience is once in a lifetime and will not be a regret. I encourage more students to participate in opportunities like this.

For further information about studying at Deakin and to view the many degrees on offer, visit our international student page.

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