A UOW student’s postcards from the University of Connecticut in the USA.
She had always wanted the American college experience and that’s exactly what Chloe got at the University of Connecticut (UCONN). The wind blew her out of her comfort zone and into the University’s sailing team. She also found time to venture over to Canada and Puerto Rico while she was there. Whether it was cheering on the college football team, excursions to major landmarks or spending way too much money on food, it really was the opportunity of a lifetime.
My study abroad experience has been the best six months of my life. I always wanted to have an “American college experience” and UCONN seemed to provide just that, with so much school spirit, sporting opportunities and a great range of classes that were able to transfer back to my UOW degree. It was a perfect fit. I also wanted to experience snow during the winter.
I have met people from all over the world and had the opportunity to experience and see things I thought I would never get the chance to see. It has definitely opened my eyes and furthered my understanding of different cultures and beliefs, and allowed me the chance to shoulder more responsibility. For most people the initial response to things we don’t understand is fear, although study abroad let me learn to love and be curious about aspects of life that I wouldn’t have previously considered to be normal in my own life. It taught me to trust and to be open to all new opportunities and adventures.
The experience I will remember most about my exchange is meeting all the different exchange students who also shared my passion for travel. We were able to travel to such amazing locations all across the United States and I was even fortunate to have the time to explore parts of Canada and Puerto Rico.
I was really nervous going into study abroad that I wouldn’t be able to cope financially although after looking into the funding I could receive from the Government and reviewing my budget monthly I was able to survive six months abroad.
Although I live out of home in Australia, I initially found that I had to budget a lot lower than I would back home because I wasn’t receiving the income I would usually receive from my part-time employment. For a girl that loves to shop, I was a little naive to think I could spend the same while travelling and being unemployed. I then had to learn to change my spending habits in order to maintain my financial stability.
TIP: You WILL spend more money than you hope on food!
Study aboard provided me with the opportunity to meet people from all over the world and make connections in places I never would have imagined. The University of Connecticut offered a society that funded excursions to most major landmarks in the USA – Washington DC, New York and other local trips! It also provided exchange students the chance to be paired with American students and their families to experience a traditional American holiday such as thanksgiving – a once in a life-time experience.
I was able to step out of my comfort zone and join the UCONN sailing team which gave me the opportunity to travel and compete in regattas all of the East Coast of the USA while meeting lots of American students.