University of Sussex Exchange- by Kelsey Truong

Mid September 2015, was when I started my very long journey to England. In fact, it was approximately 26 hours strapped to a seat on an airplane, but it was all worth it.

My exchange was at the University of Sussex in Brighton, England. I was told that this was one of the top universities in England so let me tell you that the words fear and daunt were an understatement. I was terrified that the teaching methods would be different or that I wasn’t going to be smart enough for these classes and on top of that, moving away from home for the first time ever and especially overseas to a place where I knew absolutely no one nor my surroundings added to the fear and anxiety that I felt. This may not sound so positive, but it was one of the best decisions that I have made in my life so far. Not only did this exchange teach me some valuable independence skills, it taught me that I was more capable than I actually thought I was even before I left home. I learnt to adapt a new culture, new climate, quickly learning the ropes around a new environment, quickly making new friends (even though I was certain I was defiantly going to be a loner), I learnt the importance of budgeting, cooking and washing up, all the luxuries that I have always had done for me. The first couples of weeks were rough, with the whole thing of missing family, friends, home but they are only a phone call away.

Slowly, you will defiantly make friends. Being thrown in a flat with a whole bunch of other students and exchange students you’re bound to talk to one another sooner or later (if not there’s always other students in your class or the exchange student meet up that is generally always held).  Of course, academically you want to do well while abroad, but one of the fantastic things about the exchange programs at the University of Adelaide is that, all grades are non graded passes, meaning you still have to do the work and put in the effort but you don’t have to worry about buckling down and locking yourself away and missing out of some major travelling and exploring, which to be honest is what we all know exchanges are about. Although I ran across many and I mean many issues, with my host university involving my classes, which resulted me in having to extend my degree altogether, I have no regrets on the decision I made to study abroad. With that being said, if you are someone who is thinking about enrolling in an exchange program, I’d say do it, what have you got to lose? I can honestly say that yes, it is scary and daunting, and may cost you some money but it is all very worth it. You gain so much like a new appreciation and understanding of another culture, if you haven’t already moved out of home, you can learn independence and how to take care of yourself without relying on others, you make lifelong friends from all over the world not just the local students. Also, it’s going to look pretty darn good on that resume or CV of yours plus you get bragging rights and stories about places you traveled to or what you did to your friends and family for ages until they get sick of it. So don’t overthink it, all the fear and thoughts of things that can go wrong that you may be thinking of, have probably a very low chance of happening (before I left, I was concerned that I would be mugged and stabbed while abroad, which did not happen). So as Shia Labeouf would say, “JUST DO IT.”

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