My name is Amelie Hoffrén and I am a Swedish international student at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC). I am doing a three-year-long bachelor degree of Criminology and Justice, minoring in Sociology. I moved here just after I graduated high school so I have no experience of Swedish Universities, but I imagine that they are quite different from USC.
In June 2016 I left my home in Sweden for an adventure on the other side of the world. A few weeks before I got here I started my ‘research’ – i.e. stalking every international student at USC I could find on social media. I thought I was prepared for everything and anything that the Australian lifestyle had to offer. Let’s just say that I was very wrong, not to mention naive. First of all, my whole life did not fit in my suitcase – shocker, right? Friends, family, and the comfort of living at home had to all stay in Sweden. Secondly, no one told me that winter nights on the coast can get quite chilly, especially as Australian households rarely have heaters. So leaving your window open when it’s 5 degrees outside at night is not recommended. Thirdly, I sure as heck wasn’t prepared for Aussie slang. It never cease to amaze me how creative Australians have been with the English language. Just when you think you’ve heard it all, someone will say a word or phrase that makes you realise that you’ve only seen the very tip of the iceberg.
Now almost 3 years have passed since I first got here, and holy moly what a blast it’s been. My main reason why I wanted to study abroad was because I could not decide whether I wanted to travel or study. Studying here has allowed me to see different parts of Australia as well as two trips to New Zealand. I have also made friends that made it possible for me to travel to America and stay there during one of my uni summer break. Another thing studying here has allowed me to do was to foster dogs! I have been taking care of dogs until they get adopted whilst studying at the same time. Although juggling the two can be difficult at times, it has also helped my studying a lot as I have to take regular breaks to take them out for walks.
I could easily write a hundred reasons why studying abroad has been the best three years of my life and another hundred on what you’re about to sign up for. However, reflecting back on this whole experience now when it’s coming to an end, I’m glad that I didn’t know what was waiting ahead when I boarded that plane almost three years ago.
The beauty of studying abroad is that no matter how much you researched beforehand, you will never be able to fully prepare for the adventures that await you once the plane touches Australian land.