The five months I spent studying in Australia at Monash University at the beginning of my 3rd year of a 4-year course was by far the best educational experience I have ever had. While I love studying at Reading University, much like I enjoyed school, there is nothing quite like pairing studying a subject you love with travelling and exploring a country that is as stunning and incredible as Australia.
Studying at a different University was great, I was able to make some amazing, life-long friends both from English university but also from Australia. Monash University was very accommodating to all the study abroad and exchange students. They provided taxi services from the airport to our halls accommodations, they organised many trips throughout the semester to ensure we got to see as much of the local as possible, for example they took us to Phillip Island and to Healsville Sanctuary. They also organised weekly nights out to help us meet other people from different countries. One of the best things, however, was that every Tuesday we got a free coffee/ hot drink if we showed our membership sticker at the café on campus!!
My classes were different to the types of classes I have here at Reading, possibly because I was only studying art at Monash where as I do Art and Psychology at Reading. As apposed to lectures they were more like open spaces to work and ask questions of our teachers. They normally started the classes off with an introduction and some artist inspiration, but we were then allowed to just get on with our work. I do wish I had been allowed to study psychology there as it would have been interesting too see if that is taught/ assessed differently. Thanks to the Imagine funding I was able to purchase all the art supplied I needed to produce the work I wanted to. These included paints, brushes, different types of paper, glass, and a professional print.
In terms of travelling, I feel like I managed to fit a lot onto a short period of time. Rachel, a fellow Reading Student who was also studying abroad at Monash, and I did a lot of travelling together. We managed to visit most of Melbourne, Sydney, Tasmania, Cairns, Darwin and I also went to Adelaide and did a tour up through Central Australia to Alice Springs. I have been asked a lot what was my favourite place to visit and I couldn’t possibly answer, however, what I did find incredible was how vast the country was and how every place was so very different, for example going from a city as big and as populated as Melbourne, to Uluru in the desert, to the rainforests near Darwin to diving down to the Great Barrier reef!
I will forever be grateful for this opportunity, it rekindled my desire to explore the world. It also motivated me to come back to Reading and put 110% into my degree as I would love to be able to return there one day. I am so thankful to Reading, my subject departments, the study abroad coordinators and the Imagine funding organisation that made this possible.