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Student Experience


Amber Graney
Flinders University
Adelaide, Australia
Fall 2011

Amber Graney- Adelaide

I lived in Adelaide, Australia for five months, and it was the most amazing five months of my entire life.  At first adapting to the new environment and currency was really difficult and stressful.  Leaving family and friends go on the other side of the world was the hardest thing.  Although the first two weeks were extremely difficult, once I met people in the exchange orientation I never looked back on those hard days.  I met people from Singapore, Ethiopia, Fiji, Germany, Sweden, Ukraine, England, Scotland, and obviously Australia and New Zealand.  The people I met made the trip absolutely amazing.  We all were kind of in the same situation together so it was easy to join forces.  We went to the city together, rode the bus, headed to the beach, and would go out and surf together.  Every exchange student there had the same idea to travel, so it was exciting to travel around Australia with all these people.  We initiated the accents and adapted to this different culture.  It was very interesting though, because we all compared how we did certain things in our own country.  I loved hearing the stories of my friends because although they live somewhere else, we typically do some of the same things.  Even hearing the differences was amazing because it was so new to me.  When we traveled we stayed in hostels, where we met even more people who were just backpacking through town and told us the ins and outs of the cities.  Being there made me appreciate what all I have here in America but also how America is not the “center” of the world.  Going to Australia all influences were from some American culture but Australia developed its own identity without America’s help.  Australia has a deep history that is not portrayed in the US so it was amazing to learn things that I was never taught in school.  As for schooling in Australia, I am a senior and so I am kind of stuck in my ways when it comes to school.  I was able to step out of my comfort zone and attend lectures and tutorials.  It was odd to not have to ever use a text book because Flinders relied on Journal Articles for classes.  I did love that none of the things I was learning were biased.  One day I would read an article showing facts about Aboriginal slavery and how it definitely happened in Australia, while the next I would read an article showing facts that it never happened.  To me that was extremely beneficial learning both sides of the story to come up with my own answer.  Every day that I was in Australia I remember thinking of how badly I wanted to go back home to NC, to be with my family and friends.  Now that I am back, I have realized I am back in reality now and nothing new happens here, I do not meet people from all over the world here and go on new adventures and nothing here is new to me.  Studying at Flinders was absolutely incredible and encourages everyone if given the chance to go somewhere new because you have nothing to lose, and everything to gain!

 Amber Graney- Sydney