18 May 2016
This story started one day, when I realised it is not about finding out who you are, it is about creating who you are. So I started repeating to myself: Live the life you love and love the life you live! Ask yourself honestly who you want to be and what you need to do to be that person.
The answer was already clear, I knew exactly what I was looking for, the only thing to do was to take the first step!
I chose Australia because it is a country I had never visited and I was attracted to its peculiar characteristics and its special way of life.
My first choice was the University of the Sunshine Coast because the courses were compatible with my home university, seeing that my academic duties are my priority. And now, after many sliding doors, I am here.
The University of the Sunshine Coast has also captured my attention for its location and landscapes. Find another place where you can enjoy the natural company of kangaroos’ as part of your daily life!
People here teach you the art of smiling. Even if they’ve had a terrible day they find a reason to be happy, to enjoy their time, their life. And they invite you to do the same, conquering you with their enthusiasm.
I had very high expectations for this exchange program, but never imagined it could be so fulfilling, after one month here I could not ask for anything more.
I believe that studying in another country with a different language is a great opportunity, one of the most significant experiences of my life. I will never forget the feeling of belonging.
Throughout this experience I feel adrenaline. I am psyched for everyday challenges, to forget my fears and limits.
My goals here are to improve my English, to attend new courses that allow me to diversify my curriculum, to overcome exams by facing them with commitment and also to grow as a person.
I love travelling and everything about it. When we visit or live in another country we should be ready to adapt, have humility and empathy for others and respect local traditions, even if they are different from our own.
This aspect is what really makes you thrive when you travel, rediscovering yourself in an unfamiliar setting.
Rise and shine is the slogan of this university. These two words explain perfectly the soul of it - it is something intrinsic in the people here.
They are open-minded, friendly, helpful, and they make our [international students] uni experience as unforgettable as possible, while giving us so many services and support.
“You will be fine” is the main sentence I’ve learnt here, since the first day.
These are just some of the reasons I have had such pleasure as an international student.
Since the first day I felt integrated with the Australian students and lifestyle, being part of the uni community where students from around the world come, stay connected and work together.
Even if there are hard days I know it will be worth it because life begins at the end of the comfort zone.
Carpe diem is the right philosophy for my experience, I am enjoying every single part of it. We only live once so take your chance. I am ready to discover Australia and what it may bring!
Finally, some tips for other international students.
Remember, you are in a place where you can feel life, a place where you can lose yourself in the beauty of the stars (oh yes the Australian sky is one of the best I have ever seen), where you can be free, where you can breathe, feel your heart beat, just be you, where you find a natural playground you have never seen, a place you will never forget.
#1 Do not be afraid of new and overwhelming things. Challenge yourself and exceed your limitations.
#2 Be ready to re-evaluate yourself, meeting people with backgrounds completely different to your own.
#3 Be confident in yourself. Be the first one who believes in your possibilities.
#4 Learn to choose and find your balance.
#5 Enjoy your time with a smiling face. We are young once in life.
#6 Do not feel alone because you are not - rediscover yourself and your team spirit.
#7 Work hard to achieve your goals but never forget your life, dreams and objectives - take care, protect and reach for them.
#8 Enjoy this precious experience. Do not be in a rush to finish it! Build friendships and you’ll feel at home at USC.
#9 These special moments will not be easily forgotten.
#10 You will not be the same person when you go back home.
I hope the story of my experience can help someone in the same position in the future.
“You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.”
Irene, international student from Italy.