Stephanie Jessiman from Rider University in the US studying abroad at USC Sunshine Coast

5Australia has marked the start of my new life. This may sound a little cheesy, but this is coming from someone who has never left her home country by herself, let alone leaving her state by herself. My name is Stephanie, and I am from New Jersey, where you don’t really have to leave the state to find anything you need.

Upon reading myself to leave for the planned 5 month semester abroad, my home institution eased any and of all my worries, no matter how drastically preposterous they were. Once I arrived in Australia, I immediately met so many great people from all corners of the world, everyone was so kind and so friendly. I guess because all of us were thinking and feeling the same way. I would definitely say the first 6 weeks at the University were some of the best, not to say the second half was not as good, corona hit the world pretty badly. USC was very quick to respond to the issues on hand and tried to help each and every single one of its students. I do not think I would be able to make it through the semester if I were still at my home state to be honest. Australia has so many incredible views, beautiful hikes, luscious beaches, that when the stress of everything got too much to handle, a simple mind getaway was not too far to reach.

Towards the end of the semester, my friends and I were fortunate enough to go away on a road trip up to Cairns, and I honestly think that is the most fun I have ever had in my whole entire life. The people that we went with kept us laughing, the food we were eating kept our bellies full, and the places we went to, created some of the best memories that I will always remember. Australia has been a beautiful gift that I will hold on to as long as I live.

– Stephanie Jessiman

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