Exchange to University of Pompeu Fabra – by Jessica Watson

Hola from Barcelona. My name is Jessica Watson and I am currently studying here in Barcelona for a semester. I was able to do this through a program called global learning at my university, the University of Adelaide. I can’t describe how amazing my experience has been so far and would recommended this program to anyone looking to spend time and study in a foreign country. Spain is an amazing place, so different from Australia and the people I have made friends with are incredible. The moment you step off the plane you are struck with a sudden realisation that yes this is all real, you are alone in a foreign country that takes at least a day to travel to and it’s exhilarating. It sounds daunting to do but it’s actually not as scary as it seems. Yes the language barrier was terrifying to begin with, it’s like being a toddler learning how to speak properly and confidently for the first time but you soon get the hang of it. I highly recommend travelling to a country where English is not spoken because it’s such a different and eye opening experience. However, I do recommend some knowledge of the language before you depart. Going to a country where English is not the native language challenges you and provides such a different perspective on life and culture. So far I have had unforgettable experiences that I never thought were possible. I have made friends through my university and together we have travelled around Spain and will soon travel to Rome together. These friends that I have made will be lifelong friends, who live all over the world. I have also been fortunate enough to visit them over my Christmas break. So not only have I been able to visit Spain but also parts of the United Kingdom and France. The university has also provided me with so many travelling opportunities, so there is no excuse not to see the country. The classes and lecturers have also been so friendly and understanding and they understand that it is difficult to be away from home and normality. Homesickness does exist and you will no doubt experience it once on your journey but that’s normal and the best cure is to distract yourself with a walk through the city to remind yourself how lucky you are to be here. However, the most important thing is to remember that this is a once in a life time experience that you will only get to experience once. I would not have been able to do this however without the assistance and guidance of the global learning team. They helped me apply for universities and took a lot of the stress out of completing the enrolment process. The program also helped me with getting loans to make this trip possible and very affordable. I can’t tell you how much I would persuade you to take up this opportunity in either the second or third year of university, as it is such a great opportunity to grow your independence and is truly an unforgettable experience.

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