Why I chose to go overseas and why you should to!

Jo Chard
Exchange to Catholic University of Lille
Semester 2, 2015

I’ve always wanted to travel and when I was 17 I made that dream possible by going away for a month with a group from school to Vietnam and Cambodia. The possibility of seeing somewhere completely different excited me and also made me very nervous. I had the time of my life while I was away and since then I had the bug. When looking for a university degree I wasn’t sure what to look for and when I came across ACU’s Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Global studies I was interested, and when I found out about the exchange component I was hooked!

So when this year came, the semester I was finally going away for I had the same feeling that I did when I went away for the first time. I chose to go to Lille, a city in France as I had a few friends traveling around Europe so would be easy to meet up with them plus it was a gateway into other countries. Plus it had always been a fantasy of mine to live in France and come back to Melbourne all French. Funnily enough, I think I’ve got more Aussie pride over here than I did back home.

Since being here though, the travel addicting that I had has hit a whole new level. I’ve been saving for this trip for a while so despite the bad exchange rate (anyone in the UK on the pound right now, my heart goes out to you) I’ve been able to travel. So far I’ve been to, France (obviously), Belgium, Hungary, Croatia, England, The Netherlands, Austria, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Italy and I’m planning on doing so much more!

While the traveling has ultimately been the highlight, coming over here has taught me a lot as well. Just going to university and having to deal with a completely different system that does not make sense to me has been hard but I’m dealing with it. In France, instead of having four subjects like we do back home for roughly three hours a week, you have classes that go for 1-3 hours once a week. With this, you have to take many classes to meet exchange requirements. Keeping track of all the different things I’m learning and taking multiple exams at different times of the year has also been tricky. I’ve learnt that I can cope with it, nothing lasts forever and while I’m looking forward to going back to a university that has less subjects and less hours, I’ll probably end up missing all the variety there was over here.

It’s true what they say, the more you see, the less you know. Doing this exchange has taught me that I don’t actually know that much about the world and it has expanded my horizons. I’ve meet so many different people, ventured out of my comfort zone to the extreme and coped in many difficult situations. I recommend doing an exchange to everyone as you learn so much about yourself and the world!