The wing of an airplane midflight.
Studying Abroad in College: My Experience in the Land Down Under

January 1st, 2018 wasn’t only the start of the new year, but the start of a whole new world I was about to experience.

My family dropped me off at Bradley International Airport just before the sun came up on New Years Day, and since then I have never been the same. I hugged them each goodbye and walked through the doors of the airport, on to the adventure that would change my life forever.

When the plane finally touched down in sunny, warm, glorious Gold Coast, Australia, I almost jumped right out of my seat. The views just from the plane window were impeccable. I’ve never seen such beautiful beaches that stretched for miles and green plush land. I grabbed my two massive suitcases that were almost bursting with clothes and shoes and walked outside the airport doors to a feeling I will never forget. Heat and humidity may not seem ideal to some people but for me, I long for the warmth of the sun on my skin. I knew my whole world was about to change and I was ready. The world was at my fingertips.

However, before I experienced this amazing, once-in-a-lifetime trip, I was absolutely terrified to go abroad. Um, hello, just picking up your life and moving it 10,000 miles across the world is SCARY. I didn’t know what to expect. Would I make new friends? What was I getting myself into? I knew that going abroad would change my life and here’s what happened when it did:

1. Pure happiness.

In all of my 21 years of life, I have never experienced a happiness like I did when I was abroad. I felt like a kid on Christmas morning every single day.

2. Independence.

I mean, not for nothing, I did travel across the world by myself so I would say I gained just a “little” bit of independence. No, but seriously, traveling without your family really brings out a side of you that you probably didn’t even know existed. I was doing things by myself and loving it. I wasn’t afraid to explore the world alone, even if that meant feeling a little lonely at times. I’ve learned that feeling lonely is completely normal and accepting that only makes you stronger as a person.

3. Friendships.

The friends I made while abroad have been people I’ve been waiting to meet my whole life! These are the people I know I will have in my life forever. The bonds we’ve formed are unbreakable because of what we experienced together.

4. CRAZY Adventures!!!

When I say ‘crazy’ I mean jumping-out-of-a-plane crazy! In the same week, I jumped out of a plane 15,000 feet in the air and down onto the beautiful shores of Byron Bay and then took a helicopter ride onto the snowy, icy glaciers of New Zealand! 

5. Budgeting Expertise.

Okay, so not every part of being abroad was super amazing and fantastic. I had to learn how to budget. Ew, gross! I just hate the word “budget”. I didn’t want to have to worry about finances, but since I was 10,000 miles away from home and had no steady income for 4 months, I didn’t really have much of an option. So, I learned how to handle my money and made weekly budgets to figure out what I could and couldn’t afford. It was difficult, but I made it work. I spent money on the things I really wanted to do, like travel around Australia and to countries like Indonesia and New Zealand. These were once in a lifetime opportunities that I wanted to take advantage of while I was there. Long story, short: BUDGET so you can do the things you want in life!!

 

6. A New Perspective.

Since I’ve gotten back from Australia, I look at life in a completely different way. I used to take things in my everyday life for granted, but after traveling on the other side of the world I realize how fortunate and lucky I was to be able to do the things I was doing. Not everyone gets the same opportunities in life. I take chances and risks now. I used to be so afraid of doing things that scared me but going abroad changed all of that. I’m not scared to speak my mind any more or do things that I want to do. I used to feel that I would be judged if I wanted to do something that the people around me weren’t doing or didn’t want to do. Now, I dance to the beat of my own drum. I am different and I appreciate the small things in life. I have a new perspective on life.

 

 

Going abroad to Australia was truly one of the best chapters of my life. It changed me for the better. I gained valuable lessons that will help navigate me through the rest of my journeys in life. If you have the chance to study abroad or travel, GO! Some opportunities only come once in a lifetime.

Learn more about studying abroad at Springfield College

About the author

Meghan Godfrey, '19

Meg Godfrey graduated from Springfield College in 2019 with a degree in Psychology. After four years at Springfield College, during which time she worked in the Office of Communications as an intern, Meghan is currently working toward her Master's degree.