I have always loved to travel; from a young age it has been something that I would look forward to, whether it was just a weekend at the farm or spending a week by the ocean, I can’t help but feel like a slightly different person on my return, a little wiser, maybe a little tanner and a little more grateful for everything I have. My first solo trip was when I was just seventeen years old and had finished Grade 12. After the inaugural ‘Schoolies’ experience, Hong Kong was my next destination and it sparked my love and appreciation of different places and cultures around the world.
To have been given the chance to study in Paris I am so insanely grateful, the Core Paris program was easily one of the best experiences of my life. The program took my interest as soon as I heard about it. For me, not applying was not an option. I truly believe that travelling is the greatest investment anyone can make. What you learn about yourself and others is truly priceless and there is something so nerve racking yet exciting about being anonymous in a city you’ve never been to before.
I had heard mixed reviews about Paris as whole and I am pleased that I have nothing but great things to say about the city. I can honestly see myself living there and genuinely intend on looking into different avenues to make this dream a reality. Everything is so easy and nifty, yet so breathtakingly beautiful and unique.
We attended French lessons at our partner university (ICP) and we made every attempt to speak the language and put our newfound skills to use in the ‘real world’, even if it was just to order a cup of a coffee and a baguette. The gratitude and excitement that we would receive from locals for doing this was incredible. When you make a noticeable effort with the French culture, the people really appreciate it and it’s shown through their generosity of spirit.
I met amazing people everywhere I went, in transit, out and about in the social scenes of Paris and most importantly the ones I shared my exchange experience with, students from ACU campuses all around Australia. I forged extremely close friendships that I now cherish, as we shared life-changing memories together. In fact, in a week from the moment I write this, myself and three of my closest ACU exchange girlfriends will be meeting in the beautiful Greek Island of Santorini as we all continue to holiday in the most amazing parts of the world.
If I could inspire someone who is hesitant or contemplating to participate in an exchange program, I urge you to do so. I am certain that you would not regret it. ACU is an incredible institution to offer us these opportunities and it is truly a proud and humbling feeling to represent your university and your country while studying abroad, you have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.