The last of Alicia’s Blogs. See her testimonial at https://studyabroad.reading.ac.uk/testimonials/i-will-cherish-for-the-rest-of-my-life/
I am now halfway through my year studying abroad at the University of Melbourne and the time has flown by! I have loved my time so far and have had some incredible experiences that I wouldn’t have been able to have without this opportunity. I have also met some amazing people but have sadly had to say goodbye to a few as they were only studying abroad for a term. We are keeping in contact though and I now have excuses to travel to even more countries. I have also had the opportunity to travel around Australia and have had an amazing time exploring this incredible country with the friends I have made here.
The first term ended with exams which were quite stressful, especially as mine were on consecutive days, and we were all very relieved when they were over. The exams are held in the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne which is a picturesque World Heritage Site-listed building that is lovely to visit outside of exam season but is very daunting when you do have exams. It can hold hundreds of students so it was more of a struggle to find your seat number than it was to take the exam itself. Exams were all over by 16th November though so we didn’t have to suffer for too long before we were finished for the term and able to go travelling. My friends and I decided to travel up the east coast of the country and the day after exams had finished we flew to Sydney. We spent several days in Sydney and visited the landmarks such as the Sydney Opera House and walked over the Sydney Harbour Bridge. We also did the famous Coogee to Bondi coastal walk and, as avid fans of the Australian TV programme Bondi Rescue, spent some time exploring Bondi beach and trying to spot the lifeguards from the show, with little success. We then hired a car in Sydney and drove up to Newcastle where we relaxed on the beach and visited some friends who were currently living up there. From Newcastle we drove to Port Macquarie where we explored the area before heading off to Coffs Harbour. From there we headed to Byron Bay which had some of the most stunning beaches and we spent several days lounging on them before heading up to the Gold Coast.
At the University I had joined the Cheer and Dance society and became a member of the MU Capri Pom team. We had our national championship in the Gold Coast so I stayed in the area whilst my friends continued to travel up the coast. The competition was huge and teams from all over the country as well as internationally came to compete. In our category we came 2nd which I was very proud of and I thoroughly enjoyed the competition as well as being a member of the team. I spent several days celebrating with the team in the Gold Coast then met my friends again to travel back down to Sydney. We drove down to Sydney just in time to be caught in the worst storm it had seen in decades and were forced to spend an additional day in Sydney. We then flew back to Melbourne and made it just in time before my friends had to fly back home. I have had an incredible time so far studying abroad and I can’t wait to start the next term!