I arrived in Washington DC on the 8th of January into the freezing cold from the warm Australian summer, to study Nursing at The Catholic University of America in Brookland, Washington DC.
Washington DC is the capital city of the USA and is full of amazing sights to see. I have not seen as many things as I would like due to the cold. It has been amazing to go to all the Smithsonian museums, which are free. There are so many tourist opportunities! The food here is also very interesting, although at first it seems similar to Australian food, the portions are very large.
Since I have been here I’ve had the opportunity to go to my room mates home in Maryland. She lives in a lovely country area, but like everywhere else it very cold! Further travel plans include hopefully going on a spring break trip to Tennessee and Florida.
One thing about firstly, being out of home and secondly, not having regular income is that budgeting is essential. When planning your study abroad, save the amount you think you will need and then some! Figure out a weekly budget based on the money you have available to you and stick to it! It’s important to have a security blanket because you never know when unexpected costs arise.
The dorm that I live in is directly across from The Basilica of the Shrine of Immaculate Conception, which is by far one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen in my life, inside and out. Since arriving here, I have learned a lot about building a new life, making friends, adjusting to culture and being independent. It’s been so fun going around everywhere showing off my accent which is a complete novelty to Americans. For many Americans, the other Australians and I are the first they have ever met.
We have been welcomed here with open arms, and have lots of friends entertaining us all the time. We celebrated Australia Day all together and made Australian food, it was amazing. It was also one of the girls’ birthdays which made it extra special. The education system is so different here: our class load is lighter, and we have more outside of class homework and clinical placements in hospitals two full days a week. One of which is on a Saturday, which can be a downer, but it’s good to get us used to the real world of nursing. It’s such a great opportunity to be able to learn about healthcare worldwide rather than a sole focus on Australia as it creates a great level of perspective.
I chose to go on an overseas exchange because I have always been passionate about applying my skills in disadvantaged countries. Being involved in that kind of work requires an understanding of differing perspectives and accessibilities to healthcare, which is experience I am gaining on this exchange. Not only that, the Catholic University has a very good standard of education and are very thorough in their assessment. These educational opportunities are only improved by the fact that I am experiencing them in one of the most famous cities in the world.
I cannot wait to see what the rest of the semester holds!