Hi ya! How ya goin’?
This is one of the many phrases that you will hear and begin to use during your time here in Australia. Specifically in Townsville, a city in northern Queensland. Studying abroad in Australia is an amazing experience for anyone who wants to experience hands on learning and a new adventure every week. Since I arrived at James Cook University just over a month ago, I could not be more happy with my decision to come here and study Marine Biology. The town is amazing, the professors and instructors are passionate about what they’re teaching, and the people that I have met here, both international and Australian students, have all been amazing people to talk to and form friendships with.
While the experience has gotten better everyday since arriving, there were definitely times when I experienced stress with adjusting to not just being in a new country, but a new school with new people and new classes with a different system than I was used to. Going through airports and getting to campus was pretty easy, especially when traveling with friends from school like I did. However, I felt that the first moment I was completely alone in my room was the most stressful because I didn’t have any general materials like bedding or towels, my adapter for the Australian power outlets wasn’t initially working, I was thinking about the next couple of weeks ahead and was nervous, I was exhausted from traveling, but I didn’t want to sleep, and I couldn’t figure out how the WiFi worked. While all of this was scary, I found that as I started to unpack and prepare for my stay here for the next four months I began to relax a little more. I also had a great group of girls from OSU to talk to and get settled in with even though none of us were really in the same dorm.
Within the next week I met a great group of people that live on the floor above me and we all experienced amazing adventures together. We toured Townsville, went to the Billabong Animal Sanctuary and held a koala among other animals, spent the day at Magnetic Island and just go to know each other. A lot of the people that I have met here studying abroad are marine biology or some sort of biology students doing their marine biology electives here. This continues to excite me everyday because we are able to hang out and have fun while also helping each other in classes. Fun story for anyone majoring in marine biology and thinking about coming to James Cook University in Townsville, marine biology is a very big program here and is something that the school is widely known for. Because of this, whenever you meet a local Australian getting their degree here and you tell them that you’re studying marine biology they will usually go “oh, okay” or “of course you are”. I found this really interesting and kind of funny because I am so used to people going “oh my gosh that’s so cool!” This just goes to show that JCU really is one of the top places in the world for marine biology and just how many students come here to study it.
Studying abroad is an amazing experience that not many people have the opportunity to do so I feel very thankful to be able to have this opportunity and have a great group of people supporting me both at OSU and here at JCU. While the initial adjustments are scary at first, I have learned that taking everything one task and one day at a time will lead to an easier transition. While there is a fear of not meeting people that you’ll click with, don’t worry! There are so many opportunities to meet amazing people throughout your residence hall and classes. While you are always a student first, don’t forget to let loosen up a little bit and step out of your comfort zone and have some fun. There is so much to do in Townsville and beyond that a new adventure awaits you every chance that you get.
You’re in AUSTRALIA, and there is so much culture and life and beauty to the country that you have to see in order to believe.