I studied abroad in Melbourne, Australia at La Trobe University during the fall semester of my junior year at K-state. I had never even left the Midwest before so this was my first major trip. The day after I arrived I took a three day orientation trip on the Great Ocean Road with other international students. We had surfing lessons, went hiking, and it was my first time ever seeing the ocean. We stayed in a hostel in a little beachside town called Lorne. The university I attended had a wildlife reserve on campus with many kangaroos, some emus, and many other native Australian animals. We also ventured into Melbourne central business district on several occasions to explore Australia’s fashion and culture capitol. I also attended an Australian Footy game (which is basically a mash up of American football and Rugby). I went on a 4-day trip to Sydney where we; climbed the harbor bridge, went to the Opera house, hiked in the Blue Mountains, toured around the city, and went on a party cruise through the harbor at night. The harbor cruise at night will probably always be one of the most beautiful things I saw while in Australia! There is absolutely nothing I can think of to rival it.
While in Australia I learned a lot about myself. Being a very “country” person thrown into the urban city environment, with all sorts of different cultures and backgrounds, was definitely a shock to my system. I was able to study agriculture and visited a sheep farm, where I realized that is where my passion is and it was something that reminded me so much of home. I realized, to be truly happy, I need to be somewhere working closely with agriculture and find somewhere I can feel like my true self. I was definitely out of place in Melbourne but I would not change that feeling because it helped me to realize more of who I am as a person. Overall I loved my study abroad experience and hope someday to return to Australia, even if just for a vacation. It also ignited the travel bug in me. As to where I will go next, who knows.
Jessica is a junior majoring in Agricultural Education.
Jessica studied abroad at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia
through the International Student Exchange Program during the Fall 2012 semester.