Bridget Deutz is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Australia.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
During our trip we had the opportunity to spend time in the Broome with an Aboriginal family. While in 'the bush', we heard several stories about their culture - to hear what they've endured and overcome as a culture was a great insight and privilege to learn about. It gave me a completely new perspective and a refreshed appreciation for diversity.
Why did you choose the program in which you participated?
I wanted to Study Abroad because I wanted to challenge myself while gaining a new experience. My entire life I've grown up in rural areas of Minnesota. From small town to small town, I've had tight nit, very comfortable communities. I wanted to get out and experience something new, while gaining a better independence and new outlook. I chose the Australia program because it has always been a dream of mine, and I viewed the travel opportunity as one of a kind. Having the chance to immerse myself in not only a new culture and style of living, but in another University and education system was so exciting to me. I couldn't think of a better fit!
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
The experience is one-of-a-kind no matter where you go. My experience was what it was because I allowed it to be. It was nerve-wracking, exciting, eye-opening, fun, and one of the greatest learning experiences I believe I'll ever have. I learned so many things, met amazing people, crossed countless things off my bucket-list, and was able to experience another country's college education system. I know the decision was hard to make, but I can't imagine going anywhere other than Australia now. If you're even thinking about going, or have the opportunity to go, DO IT! Grasp the chance, it may be once in a life. I wouldn't trade my semester in Australia for ANYTHING.
How has the trip affected you? How are you different for having completed the experience?
This trip gave me a chance to get to know myself on a deeper level. I feel as though I have a better grasp on what's important to me, what I value, and who I am as a person. I also gained independence; my semester abroad allowed me to rely on and trust myself and grow as an adult in a different way than simply moving to college did. My time in Australia made me more confident in knowing who I am, and made me more open to new opportunities, new people, and of course- new places.
What advice do you have for future Study Abroad Students?
Its OK to feel nervous. Whatever you do, go in with minimal expectations, if you can keep an open mind you'll be open to whatever the trip has to offer you, and will learn more about yourself than you ever thought. Take time to reflect when you can. If you give yourself time to take a step back and breath in the moment, you'll come to appreciate them immensely. Have fun, never look back, and have no regrets.
Do you have questions about studying abroad in Australia? Email Bridget at firstname.lastname@example.org.