This blog post was written by Alayna Dunkerly, a senior at the University of South Carolina. She studied abroad in the Gold Coast area of Queensland. Alayna is a friend and fellow Aussie enthusiast like me!
Studying abroad is a huge (and possibly scary) decision, but I PROMISE it is one you won’t regret. When deciding to study abroad, I was looking for a place and an experience that would introduce me new people, see new things and an opportunity to rediscover myself. I have been to Europe before and always enjoyed my stay but I chose Australia because, unlike Europe, there is no language barrier that would hinder me from becoming close with locals and their way of life. I also chose Australia because I heard so many good things about the laid-back culture, beautiful places and welcoming people.
Kelly Slater Catching a Wave
12 Apostles, Great Ocean Road
Sydney Opera House
Alayna, second from left, with Friends in the City
Up Close and Personal with the Local Wildlife
Looking back, going to Australia was probably the best decision I have ever made. I met some of the most amazing people that, to this day, I still call my best friends. The Australian people were just as amazing as I expected. They were fun, outgoing, welcoming and having a “sweet as” accent didn’t hurt either. The experiences I had while at school and traveling were ones you can’t put a price tag on. Experiences like seeing Kelly Slater surf in the Roxy Quicksilver Pro to sailing around the Sydney harbor are ones that I will cherish forever. Studying abroad also allowed me to learn more about myself than I ever could staying here. Going to another country not knowing a soul and away from my friends and family pushed my outside my comfort zone, yes, but it also showed me how independent and adventurous I could be. I would advise everyone to study abroad not only for exploration of a different country but to be able to embark on a journey that will allow you to reconnect with yourself.
Thank Alayna for the guest post. I wish I had made it up to that part of Australia.