Scotland Claire Harbeck

Why I went on exchange and why you should too!

Claire – Exchange to University of Bradford, UK

Semester 2, 2016

Ever since I was little I always wanted to go overseas. My parents never took me because they thought I should see the treasures of Australia first. As I kept on growing up, I continued to crave travelling out of the continent. I remember seeing my course, Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Global Studies, advertised here and there when I was in my final year of high school. I remember hitting a light bulb moment that if I did this course,  my third year could take me somewhere else in the world and not disrupt my studies AND give me enough time to save up for it. It was settled; I was going to do this course.

I wished to go on an overseas exchange for many reasons:

Firstly, I wanted adventure. Due to not being overseas before AND about to do it solo for six months was really a shot in the dark. However, that’s what I wanted… I desired to go into the unknown and experience life differently. I heard from previous exchange students that they travelled during their time overseas. I thought this was great news; studying and travelling nearly simultaneously! I chose the University of Bradford due to where it is situated: in the middle of England. I thought this would allow me to travel in opposite directions around the United Kingdom with a similar duration. Bradford is close to multiple airports which can take me either overseas or to London based airports. It also, I believe, has a pretty good train network which (with connections) can take you abroad. I feel free to travel anywhere I like and have already journeyed around England and Scotland (with more to do). I’m planning on travelling to Europe in a month or two!

Secondly, I wanted a change in my life. I started to feel a wee bit restricted in my actions, thoughts, and feelings and knew an alteration was needed. I wished to meet people in a variety of life stages from a number of places around the globe. Now, being overseas for two months, I have met many amazing people with whom I know will be lifelong friends (I have more international friends than English as well!). I have had many open minded discussions about probably anything you can think of and frequently meet a range of interesting characters. I love my classes at the University of Bradford as they cover context in another light which I find refreshing. I am both surprised and grateful that in two months my perspective on life has altered significantly and I’ve found lifelong friends.

Scotland Claire Harbeck 2

Some of my friends and I in Edinburgh. From left to right we are on exchange from Australia, Morocco, Spain, and the Philippines.

Thirdly, I wanted to go on exchange to challenge myself. As soon as I arrived at my accommodation in Bradford I felt I was already a changed person! I believed that travelling solo (as well as it being my first time overseas) would allow myself to grow in skills, confidence, and personality. It pushes you through your limits and establishes a new sense of purpose within yourself. In the past two months, I have learnt so much about how I handle situations, how I learn the best, and how I motivate myself. Nonetheless, I have also significantly learnt about travelling, budgeting, United Kingdom’s (and Europe’s) history, and a number of cultures and perspectives. I wanted to see what I could do with no one’s help…. I’ve realised I can do a lot.

I wanted to go on exchange overseas for an adventure and a change in my life and myself. I have already accomplished these three things in two months! Imagine what I can do and what might happen in the upcoming months! Imagine what you could do!! If you’re thinking about studying abroad, I highly advise that you carry through your thoughts and do it. It is life changing. It’s one of the best choices I’ve made so far in my life.