The two-month winter break preceding my trip to Australia has definitely proved to be worth the wait. Arriving in sunny, 85 degree weather in the land down under was a wonderful contrast to the snow I left behind at home.
Surprisingly, I felt almost immediately at home in Australia, despite being halfway across the world. Within the first three days of my arrival, I cross off two bucket list items; snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef and holding a koala bear.
Although experiences like these will never be forgotten, the most memorable moments I’ve had so far have been spent in and around the humble town of Newcastle. This city, which I call home for the next five months, has more than exceeded my expectations.
Rich in history, multicultural cuisine options and remarkable beaches, the down-to-earth feel of the community has made my first month here extraordinary. Having gone on several “bush walks” to explore the suburbs and wildlife areas surrounding Newcastle, I have yet to be disappointed by the scenic views from each lookout.
Most notably, the opportunity to live with five local Australian students has not only provided much needed advice about the university, but has also allowed me to completely immerse myself into the culture and lifestyle of a young Australian student.
Studying and living on campus at a school like the University of Newcastle has given me the opportunity to make personal connections and lasting friendships with international students and locals alike.
I’ve quickly come to realize that perhaps the reason I feel so comfortable in this foreign country is that the tight-knit community here provides an atmosphere similar to the one I am accustomed to at Elizabethtown College. With many weekends of travel still to come, I cannot help but be excited about the rest of time in Australia.
Please note: Student Kristen DeRosa ’19 originally wrote this article for The Etownian’s weekly ‘Study Abroad Experience’ article. It was originally published on March 22, 2018. The Etownian is Elizabethtown College’s student newspaper.
About the Author – Kristen DeRosa ’19
Kristen is a biology major and German minor, who studied abroad in Newcastle, Australia for the spring 2018 semester.
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