Kate – Semester Exchange to SUNY Oswego, NY, USA
Semester 2, 2016
Looking back at when I received my acceptance letter for exchange, I had so many hopes about what was ahead of me. Reflecting back on the past few months, I can honestly sit here whole-heartedly today with a big smile on my face and so much appreciation for this opportunity. Each morning I wake up, so grateful to be here and proud to say this was one of the best decisions I’ve made. I have made the most of every single opportunity provided to me and as a result have grown as a person in many ways. Here are 3 of my main reasons that have made my trip the incredible experience it has been:
This is something I have always enjoyed and my love for it has now grown even more. I have been able to explore many different places in the US including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Miami and New York City to name a few. Each state and city is unique, and has ultimately given me the chance to learn new things about the American culture from being immersed in it. I have embraced their cultural foods, practices and even political systems, which are different to Australia’s. Weekends and public holidays are ideal for short trips, especially to places close to the college you are at so make sure you do your research and plan in advance!
- Academic Improvement
Having studied over here as part of my degree, I have gained so much experience from each class taught. The professors here all have PHD’s and are very experienced in their fields. My college in particular is known for primary education, which is one of the reasons why I chose to come here. The teaching styles and strategies used are often different from the ones used at home, especially in that they only have tutorials with smaller classes available rather than lectures. I feel like the professors get to know us individually a lot better and I feel this approach is more beneficial for my learning needs as I can ask more questions and seek clarification more regularly. They also have field trips within the courses, which is something I’m not used to. These field trips provide an opportunity to further learn about the content and put our knowledge in a real life context. For example, one of my subjects I am undertaking is ‘Planning for students with Disabilities’. I was given the opportunity to teach in a school that caters for special needs and use the teaching strategies learnt in this class to improve a specific students academic achievement in a variety of curriculum areas. Overall, all of these aspects have enabled me to learn in new and alternate ways and I feel this will be an advantage to my future role as a teacher.
- Meeting New People
I can proudly say this opportunity has enabled me to make friends from all over the world. Staying in an international dorm, I have become close with people from Spain, Turkey, France and Germany to name a few countries. All having come on exchange together, we have created a close bond and so many memories. I have also been able to meet a lot of Americans through my classes, volunteer work I have undertaken and clubs I have joined. The classes are smaller and scheduled more regularly in the US so I have been able to get to know my peers on a more personal level. Clubs are also a big thing here compared to home with almost every student being in one. They have on offer over one hundred clubs, varying from sports to interest based ones. These friends I have made are friends I know I will always keep in contact with. It is through getting to know these people that I have grown so much as a person since being here. I have not only become more confident but also more appreciative of the memories I have made that will last a lifetime.
Without ACU Study Abroad, I wouldn’t be here today and they are whom I am most thankful for. If anyone is considering doing exchange and are having any doubts, there’s no need to. If the opportunity is there, take it and don’t waste a single second of it because the time will fly!