Who doesn’t love all the girls who aren’t afraid to dream a little bigger? The girls who go out and experience the world to its fullest. The third part of my series Women Collecting Memories is out. This time with Natasha, who went on to University in Australia. Find out what her mother has to do with her motivation and why she vowed to see the world after her time abroad.
Natasha was 21 when she studied abroad in Australia, and, needless to say, it changed her life. She is now 26 years old and travels full time with her boyfriend. Natasha is one-half of the blog The World Pursuit, which is focusing on budget conscious backpacking throughout the world.
STUDYING ABROAD IN AUSTRALIA
How long was your study abroad? Was it organised through your university?
I chose to study abroad for 6 months but wish that I had chosen longer. Unfortunately, I was too far into my degree and the higher classes I needed to graduate were not available abroad.
I did an exchange through my university. Meaning they literally swapped me for a student at The University of Wollongong to go to my school. I paid my home schools tuition still and only paid for room and board while abroad.
Why did you choose to go to Australia?
It was a land far away from the United States and one a little less traveled by Americans. I also had a friend that had studied abroad in Australia and stalked all of her amazing pictures on facebook. Looking back, I am so glad I chose to go to Australia rather than some of the other contenders like Italy and Spain. The reason for this is if I had gone to a European country to study abroad for 6 months I would have felt pressured to explore all the EU nations in just that short time. With 6 months in Australia I really felt that I had an adequate amount of time to get to know one country and culture without much pressure to move about.
What were your reasons to study abroad?
My mother had studied abroad in college and had always described it as the best time of her life. I was encouraged to get out there and explore different cultures before settling down and starting a career after college.
Has the trip changed you? If yes, in what way?
This is one of the most emotional questions for me. The short and simple answer is yes, study abroad has changed me and actually molded me into the person I am today. I studied abroad five years ago and I think about my time in Australia constantly. It was my first true introduction to a foreign country, I have friends from all over the world that I still keep up with, and it forced me to become a completely independent person. Most importantly, after I went abroad I vowed to see the world – a dream I am currently and will never stop pursuing.
What is your personal must-see?
Uluru, located in the Northern Territory is a must see and a true highlight of my time abroad. I got to go to the real Australian Outback – almost completely desolate, pure red sand, and hot as heck. It’s an area so sacred to the indigenous people and many Australians say they haven’t been to.
What was the funniest thing you experienced during your time abroad?
It’s hard to narrow this down to one experience as the friend group I ultimately fell into was huge and very animated! For spring break, we rented 4 campervans filled with 20 people and drove the coast for two weeks. The vans ended up being old and rundown and completely unsatisfactory, but we made the best of it! We kept joking that they would all break down and low and behold one actually did. It ended up being the van I was in, and we now had to pack everyone into the remaining 3 vans to complete the road trip. I guess it’s probably funnier if you were there.
Do you have any tips for girls planning to study abroad or travelling to Australia?
Branch outside of any study abroad group you might be associated with and get to know the students from your study abroad country rather than your home country. You didn’t travel half way across the world to hang out with people you can hang out with back home!
Did your study abroad experience also change your life? Join the conversation and leave a comment below!
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