What happened to the time?

I can’t help but highlight how incredibly quickly my study abroad in the US went! I’m still travelling around the US now so it feels like my adventure hasn’t ended although my studies in the US are well and truly finished (as of Dec 11th)!

It’s hard to really articulate how much my time abroad has changed me both personally and professionally. I have learnt an incredible amount about the United States and Australia (as well as other countries) since coming abroad. The experience has given me so many insights into other cultures and really challenged me to rethink my judgements and perspectives in life! I have definitely learnt to become more accepting and understanding of different points of view and ways of life. I have also grown to understand myself better, particularly what makes me unique from other people.

I would say that the greatest aspect of my time abroad was the connections I made with people along the way – local American students, international students, university staff, professors and everyone else I met along the way. I found people to be extremely friendly and welcoming which I really valued during my time away from home. It was also interesting to observe the differences in the education system (which I found easier than the Australian system) – the style of teaching, assessments and grading definitely varied in a number of ways. Another highlight of my time abroad was going on trips away with the university, with friends or even by myself. Some of my favourite ‘getaways’ included San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, Las Vegas, Seattle, the coast of California, Arizona and Napa Valley.

Getting involved in campus life… Yay or nay??

So I thought I’d dedicate this post to talking about campus life and my thoughts on getting involved in the different opportunities available to you. I’ve always been very proactive and enjoyed being involved in my community (work, university etc.) but I never could have imagined how much it would enhance my study abroad experience!

Incase it’s not clear enough, my recommendation regarding getting involved in campus life is a big YAY!!! (I hope that makes sense…)

Since arriving on campus I have been involved in various opportunities including:

  • Hall Government – organising events to promote a sense of community in the apartments I live in
  • Model UN class – a class that revolves around preparing for and attending a Model United Nations Conference in Seattle, Washington
  • ESB Research Lab – provides the opportunity to conduct research (within the business school) in a personal area of interest
  • French club – to learn about French culture, watch French movies, play games & most importantly – eat French foods!

These experiences have really helped me to get the most out of my time here, learn about American (and other cultures) and also learn more about myself. I really think that getting involved in student life at your host university is one of the best ways to make new friends and have a rewarding and valuable experience whilst studying abroad!

My advice is to join clubs and sign up for opportunities as early as you possibly can. Also, make sure you are proactive in finding opportunities, don’t just wait for opportunities to come to you – look at notice boards, read emails and ask around!!

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Model UN team from University of the Pacific in Seattle

 

Things are different from home?? What??

Hi again,

IMG_5317I want to dedicate this post to talking about the differences in the US and Australian university systems (from my experience)!

The classes are definitely different here than Australia. The main difference I noticed is the frequency of classes and assessments. I have three classes each week for each of my classes (so 13 per week). This is definitely more than the number of classes I was going to while in Australia. Generally there are a number of individual assessments for each subject (up to 10) which are worth a lower percentage than assessments in Australia. As an example, I have 10 separate assessments for one of my classes (each worth 10%). At first the system seemed quite overwhelming but it has actually been fairly achievable as each assessment requires less time and effort.

Here’s a couple of differences in the language (both academic and random) that I’ve noticed so far:

  • Lecturer = Professor
  • Uni = School or university (people look confused when you say uni here)
  • Thongs = Flip flops
  • Swimmers = Bathing suit
  • You all = y’all

Thanks for reading 🙂

Angela!

And the study begins…

Wow!! I can’t believe it’s been so long since I’ve posted – time really does fly when you’re away! So much has happened in the past six weeks I’m not really sure where to start! I’ve done plenty of travelling but I suppose I’ll skip to the ‘school stuff’ for this post.

I’m now in my second week of classes at University of the Pacific (UOP) in Stockton, California in the US! It’s definitely been an eye opener so far and has taken me more to get used to than I expected!

Firstly, I arrived at UOP as one of only six international exchange students (we definitely formed a bond very quickly)! We were firstly assigned to on-campus accommodation which is great because I can experience the ‘real’ college lifestyle. After a being placed in the wrong accommodation (which is a whole other story), I was eventually moved to a three-share apartment with two other girls which is great 🙂

My initial week at UOP was jam-packed with heaps of introductory sessions and welcome celebrations which was a great way to get to know other people on campus! The week started with International Orientation, then New Student Orientation then ‘Weekend of Welcome’ so after a full week of craziness I was pretty exhausted. I definitely underestimated the challenges I would face moving to a new country and a new university and adjusting to a different system.

When signing up for my classes, the first surprise was that classes are run very differently here. For me, instead of having a lecture and tutorial for each subject each week (like in Australia), I have three classes per week for each subject so the classes a lot more regular! At the moment I’m taking three business classes and one French class (ahhh!!)… I’m happy with my business classes but French is definitely going to be a challenge for me :s

Now that I’ve been here at University of the Pacific (UOP) for two weeks, I can finally say I’m a lot more settled and am getting into a routine. The main cultural difference I’ve noticed so far is the enthusiasm and energy that people seem to have here. There also seems to be a lot of team community spirit and people have a lot of pride in their university. Stay tuned for my next update on living and studying abroad in the US!

Hanging with the UOP mascot!

Hanging with the UOP mascot!

The other exchange students (minus 1), our ambassador & student advisor

The other exchange students (minus 1), our ambassador & student advisor

Entrance to UOP!

Entrance to UOP!

…The Philippines, Singapore, England & France…

What an amazing experience so far! I’ve been having a fantastic time seeing different places and meeting new people. Here’s a quick wrap up of the places I’ve been so far!

The Philippines 

Food, shopping, food, shopping, food, food & more food! Had a great time in Manila staying with a friend from school. Myself and another two friends from school spend just over a week with the crazy food being a real highlight! Filipino food is so flavoursome and varied. Some of the interesting dishes included:

– Tapang kalabaw (vinegar cured water buffalo)
– Camaro (fried crickets)
– Barute (fried frog stuffed with pork)
– Halo Halo – shaved ice w/ milk, sweetened plantains (banana), sweetened coconut
– Inasal Na Manok – BBQ chicken marinated in different spices (lemongrass & coconut vinegar)
– Banana-cue – fried plantanes (like banana) covered in sugar, fried again then skewered

Fried frog stuffed w/ porkCrickets

Singapore

I absolutely fell in love with Singapore! The city was amazingly well organised, I just wandered and explored all day and night! I did a tour through the Asian Civilatiin Museum and saw the Singapore River then spent the rest of my time wandering the whole way around Marina Bay. I saw the Esplanade, the Merlion, Gardens by the Bay, the Fountain of Wealth & much more!

Gardens by the BayMerlion

London, England

Although I may not have made the most of the touristy aspect of London, I definitely had a great time there! I did a walking tour which included Buckingham Palace, Westmister Abbey & Houses of Parliament. I met a couple of people on the walking tour so we decided to do a London’s Gone Wild pub crawl which was great fun. I’m considering heading back to London to work and live in 2016 thanks to being able to study via distance through CSU while being overseas 🙂

Changing of the guards in London Buckingham Palace

France

I definitely enjoyed wandering around Paris but wow my legs were sore after a long day of sightseeing! We managed to see the Mona Lisa, explore the Louvre for a bit, see the Arc de Triumph and the outside of Notre Dame. After two nights in Paris we headed down to the Beaujolais Wine Region and stayed in a contiki chateau for a couple of night which was both fun and incredibly relaxing.

Contiki Chateau Eiffel Tower

A Larkin Abroad – First check in (of many)!

Here’s to checking in for the first flight ✈️✈️ of my adventure & my first post on the road (well more like in the air)! 🎉🎉🎉

Albury Airport Farewell

Albury Airport Farewell

First stop is Manila in the Philippines for the next week so I’ll post sometime while I’m there after I recover from the 10 hour wait in Sydney today. The words inspiring me for the start of my trip came from a mentor of mine, Graham Hill, who said something to the effect of:

“The aim is not to get experience. The aim is to have an experience!”

4 sleeps until the adventure begins!

Passport & Visa FINALLY arrived today – such a relief!

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m from Albury, NSW and am halfway through my Bachelor of Business (HRM) with CSU. I’ve always planned to travel the world and study abroad!

My exchange adventure is beginning six weeks early as I do some travelling beforehand! I’ll post the odd update of my travels over the next six weeks as venture through the Philippines, Singapore, England and throughout Europe 🙂

Hope you enjoy keeping up with my adventure!