When I went on exchange to Australia, I’d say my experience was quite ordinary… I was bitten by a terribly poisonous spider, I got in a fight with a kangaroo, and I came home with my adorable pet koala. Okay, I’m only joking. But in all reality, I don’t think any exchange can be ordinary, or at least, neither of mine had been (I’ve been to Germany too!) I met more Germans in Australia than I did in Germany. The best biology class I could ever have was at the Great Barrier Reef. I learned about the European economy in Germany. I have networks established with faculty and peers in five different continents. And I think that when you have to adapt to another culture or place, you not only become more of a global citizen, but you understand and appreciate more about where you come from.
One of my biggest concerns for studying abroad was money. But with some bursaries and hard work, I paid for both of my trips on my own. I also learned of cheap ways to travel while still experiencing culture (in Germany, beer is cheaper than water).
My experience was not only about overcoming the literal mountains that I climbed in Australia, but also about the figurative ones that I had to face. I put myself out there, and I found that the more things I tried, the more people that I met, the more I got out of the experience. I also realized it’s the same for studying here. It set into motion a desire in me to take on as many opportunities as I could. If I hadn’t gone abroad to see what was “out there”, I wouldn’t have even noticed all the opportunities and adventures that are right in front of me.