Wanted: An adventure of a lifetime in Australia
For a lot of students, the idea of going abroad is an exciting opportunity to stray from their comfort zones. The wheels start to turn and the idea of traveling from city to city, gaining international experience and meeting new friends while abroad becomes a near reality. But then, the realization of a language barrier begins to set in and suddenly there’s hesitation to embark on the journey. Whether those few years of compulsory middle-school Spanish never stuck or the idea of mastering French was none too appealing, an English-speaking country seems to be the only feasible option.
Lucky for many students, spending a semester studying abroad does not necessarily mean spending a semester speaking a foreign language abroad. Most students automatically think of several English-speaking friendly European countries which offer many amazing sights to see, but let’s say you’ve been hit by the exotic “let’s pick a country literally across the world” travel bug.
If India or China seem a tad linguistically daunting, think about the vast and diverse continent that is Australia. A study abroad program in Australia provides an unexpected experience for many students who are looking for a change, but something that meshes with their desire for an English-speaking country. Besides English-speaking classes, students also have the opportunity to excel in Australian internships because there isn’t a language barrier to overcome.
For Rachel Schwager, 24, Australia was just the ticket. “I was really looking for a country that I wouldn’t have a chance to go to otherwise and I could take classes in English with the local students,” she said. She recommends making friends any and everywhere, “In class, in the dorms, wherever.”
Rachel found that her July to December study abroad program had about 150 American college students and took classes with many Australian students. The local culture was “really, really laid back and Aussies like to have fun.” It was a refreshing breather from her East Coast university life.
Although Rachel felt homesick from time to time during her semester in Australia, now that she’s back home she misses living 50 feet from the beach.
Learn more about studying abroad in Australia.
Fahima is a copy aide for the Washington Post and has a BA in journalism from American University. She studied abroad in London, England during the Spring of 2009.