Studying abroad during COVID-19

My study abroad journey from an outside perspective could be seen as nothing short of chaotic. First, the devastating bush fires that swept across Australia. Now, a global pandemic, where no-one is safe. Many students who embarked on similar journeys across the globe respectfully decided, or were outright required, to cut their year abroad short. 

Despite everything that’s happened in this topsy-turvy, unimaginable year, there was always certainty in one simple thing- I was staying put! That is of course, unless I was dragged onto a plane by authority. But only then. All of the turmoil has only made me dig my heels into the ground harder, more focused on my studies, work and future. I realise this makes me sound a tiny bit off my rocker, so it’s probably best I tell the year from my perspective- despite how condemned it appears on the outside. 

The story so far

Arriving in Melbourne in the midst of July wasn’t exactly what I was expecting- or dressed for! I mean that in the coldest way possible. Whoever planted the seeds of lies in my brain that everywhere in Australia has an all year-round summer will be getting a piece of my mind. Not that it mattered, I had just been freed from a 26-hour flight and landed in a country I was only ever able to dream of being in. Now it was real.

Fast forward 10 months and I have travelled across the country, from Cairns, Sydney, Adelaide, Tasmania and Uluru. I have sincerely fallen in love with this beautiful country, it’s wildlife and culture, despite its one blemish (flies at Uluru, I’m talking to you). 

Pirates Bay, TAS

I achieved a HD in my first semester at Monash Uni, while being able to meet a huge mix of amazing people from all across the globe, building strong bonds that I will no doubt always hold on to.

I’ve been lucky enough to land myself an internship working at Businessary which I have loved every minute of from the get-go. Each week is always different and enjoyable, collecting new skills to my toolbox as I go along. Working in this stimulating environment has been a huge pleasure so far, especially alongside a team of supportive and accomplished pros. 

The eye-openers

In the past 10 months, I’ve learned more about myself, the world and others than I have in my whole life. One of the biggest take-aways is learning to accept that I can’t control every aspect of life, sometimes sitting back and letting the storm blow over is the best I can do. But for every 1 thing I can’t control, there’s so much more that I can. I can’t control the fact that all of my learning has been moved online, although I can control seeing this as either an annoyance or a gift. I choose to see it as a gift. Now I have the chance to rewind, pause, eat a sandwich, and resume lectures without worrying about turning heads in the theatre frowning at my strong-smelling choice of fillings… it’s the little things that count. 

I’ve also learned a whole lot about my own dedication and perseverance. Understandably, it’s hard making the decision at 19 to move away from everything you know to the opposite side of the world. But, taking a massive leap outside my comfort zone has made me feel prepared for pretty much anything that swings my way. 

Seeing the world through another lens and realising that my homeland isn’t the only reality has been the biggest education of all. I will now be forever confident that even though I don’t totally know where I’m going in life, it’s never stopped me before.