Laura: 3 highlights of moving to Australia for study
Laura is from Lincolnshire, in the east of England, and has a BA (Hons) Primary Education degree. She loved teaching her class of 29 eight and nine year olds, but her life had become a work-eat-sleep cycle in an education system that didn’t match her teaching ideology. Laura made the bold move study and live abroad and completed a Diploma of Arts at USQ in 2016.
When someone says the word ‘Australia’, what do you think of?
To a Brit like me, it was definitely the stereotypes: sunshine, the beach, beer, kangaroos, nice accents, BBQs and the like. Yet, in that moment when one of my Year 4 class asked me why I was leaving and moving to Australia, I found myself associating with the cheesy notion that this trip was about ‘finding myself’.
I had made the decision to hand in my notice and move on to a new adventure ... Cue the 24-hour flight to Brisbane.
‘Have you ever been to Australia before?’
‘Who are you travelling with?’
‘Do you know anyone at university?’
‘Do they have lots of scary animals over there?’
These were just some of the questions my class asked. They had a point. This was a BIG move. These were all big changes. Change is not something I particularly liked, yet here I was quitting a full-time job, leaving my family (I’m an only child) and travelling half-way around the world to a country I’d only ever dreamed of visiting.
Cue a new life at McGregor, one of the Residential Colleges on-campus at USQ Toowoomba! On arrival, I found life on-college very much outside of my comfort zone. O-Week was an eye opener. Being a fresher again at 25 felt weird, yet I can honestly say it was the most fun week and I made some amazing friends. That is the joy of college: you get put in situations you may not feel comfortable with at first, but each time, the experiences get better. College life has most definitely made me a stronger person who is open to exploring possibilities.
Living on-college has definitely been a fantastic opportunity to discover a new country while studying, at the same time as having some home comforts, such as your food cooked for you and a friendly face whenever you need it. As an international student, being able to live on-college made the move that bit easier. They say home is where the heart is and McGregor has definitely become a home away from home.
After living on campus in Toowoomba, here are the 3 highlights I’d tell my class about life in Australia if I was standing in front of them today:
- People you meet
Australians really do have nice accents, and great personalities to match. The people I’ve met on-college at McGregor have been some of the friendliest and most welcoming people I’ve ever known. On-college, everyone is happy to help, have a natter, chill, have a bit of harmless mischief and a lot of fun. The variety of people on-college also allow for interesting dynamics and friendships to be formed.
There’s so much to do
Even adults get homesick. Living 10,173 miles away (yes, I did calculate it, many times), from my family was hard and scary, but I’ve had plenty to do to keep me busy while I’m here. There are also always lots of things happening on-college: Residential Shield, semi-formals, formals, and other outings and activities to take part in, which allow for a welcome break from study. There is a strong community spirit about living on-college, especially when it comes to Residential Shield events, which get very competitive. Your college peers are like a family and everyone looks out for one another.
Crikey, the wildlife!
There’s lots of animals around, but they’re not all scary. Despite still having a fear if there are snakes on college, it’s certainly exciting to meet new and exciting creatures such as the goanna I saw in a tree outside my block or the resident kookaburra singing outside your room.
I can only imagine the questions my class would ask about my time in Australia, but I know that every answer would reflect how amazing the people are and how beautiful the country is.
If you’re thinking about making the move to Australia for study, here are 8 reasons why USQ should be your first choice!