I chose to go on an exchange to The University of Western Australia in Perth for a couple of reasons. For one, I had been to the east coast of Australia before and I absolutely loved the laidback atmosphere. Secondly, I wanted a way to skip half of winter while still completing my degree! I arrived in Perth in the middle of February and I didn’t even see a single cloud for at least two months. Immediately upon arrival I felt welcomed. I lived on campus at St Catherine’s College, which gave me an immediate “exchange family” consisting of Australians and other exchange students. Our orientation week included trips to see kangaroos and an intense game of capture the flag! I almost forgot I was there for school!
One of the best parts about going on exchange was the fact that I could take courses that weren’t offered in Calgary. Amongst others, I was able to take a journalism writing course and a political science course that studied the relationship between the government and the media. I had small tutorials in each of my classes and that’s where I met most of my Australian friends!
While studying, I also had plenty of time to explore my home of five months and take a couple of trips during my breaks! A group of 9 other exchange students and I rented camper vans and took an epic roadtrip through the outback for 10 days. It was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done! Among many other adventures, we got to snorkel at the Ningaloo Reef and hiked through rivers and cliffs at Karijini National Park. I was also able to take a short trip to Bali for four days as it’s only a four-hour flight from Perth! Probably the most memorable moment of my life was hiking up Mount Batur, an active volcano, in the middle of the night to watch the sunrise at the top. Perth itself was an amazing city to live in and explore! Every Friday I’d have the day off school and I would take a trip to Cottesloe Beach and do my homework in the sand before taking a swim in the Indian Ocean. You can’t really beat that!
Ultimately on exchange, I was able to complete some of my final degree requirements, but what I will remember most are the friends I made in the five months I spent in Perth. When you’re away from home and out of your comfort zone, you are able to bond with those around you so quickly and find common ground where you might not have back home.
For more adventures, follow Erin’s blog at: http://erinmoulton19.wordpress.com/
Submitted by Erin Moulton
Check out Megan Hamel’s video on her exchange to UWA
Follow UCalgary Study Abroad’s “University of Western Australia” board on Pinterest!