November 17, 2011, by Gael
From Britain to Brisbane…
While The University of Nottingham is where my heart is, the University of Queensland in Brisbane Australia is currently where my home is. I’m currently lucky enough to be participating in a student exchange programme for a semester, and experience the opportunity of a lifetime. As a third year student I have come a long way since I took my first tentative steps as a Fresher in September 2009. Time has flown by, and I have had the best memories, learnt great lessons and held onto so many moments that only student life can provide. Three years ago I would never have believed that I would be sitting on the other side of the World, exploring a different culture for six months. But that’s what The University of Nottingham does; it opens your eyes to our passions, provides opportunities, supports, encourages and provides the foundation for what can be the best years of your life.
I’m in my final year of a cultural sociology course which has increased my cultural awareness and prompted me to pursue a dissertation (final year independent research project) in cultural identity which I am currently beginning to research. The semester at UQ is currently drawing to an end as the term dates here are remarkably different to the UK – we’re about to ‘break-up’ for their summer holiday, but then again I have been studying here since early July.
My week this week has consisted of allsorts; last Wednesday I was sunbathing on a beach in the Sunshine coast. I watched the sunset over the sea, and listened to the waves as the stars rolled in. On Saturday I was invited for dinner at a real Australian family home, and got mothered, a home-cooked meal (the best! As a student) and tried to perfect the Aussie drawl. Monday saw a day with the UQ library, editing a final draft of an essay and researching in greater detail my research topic. That evening was Dance-Fest practice (tomorrow there is an inter-cultural college event called Dancefest which is basically a dance competition); 4 hours of perfecting a seven minute dance. I never thought I’d enjoy dance, but Fresher’s Fayre as-well as the endless opportunities to join different societies at Nottingham changed this. My Aussie life is quite different to my Nottingham life, but without UoN I would never be here. Not only because it offers it as an opportunity but because it has opened my eyes to what I wanted and where I wanted to go and encouraged and supported these dreams.
Next week will mark the end of my UQ experience as exams draw to a close and I prepare myself to say goodbye to the friends I’ve made from across the globe. But for now it’s back to those last few pending assignments…at-least I have the beautiful Jacaranda trees for inspiration, and the wonderful Aussie heat.
Have a great week – don’t let England’s rainy days have too much of an influence on coursework deadlines, get up and have a dance, or spend 30mintues planning your summer getaway – it’ll get you smiling in no time!