CUA Mikayla Elliot (6).jpeg

Making Friends

Mikayla – Semester Exchange to Catholic University of America, USA

Semester 1, 2017

Prior to beginning this exchange one of my biggest fears was not being able to make friends over in my host country. I was definitely worried about being lonely and wondered how that would effect how home sick I became. Little did I know that I would meet the incredible people I have during this trip. Not only have I got an amazing group of American friends, but I have also made myself a best friend from the Melbourne campus. Carla (pictured with me above) and I have become such amazing friends over the past 13 weeks, so much so that I am planning to move to Melbourne for my final year of nursing! Carla and I have been able to experience this once in a lifetime opportunity together, we have grocery shopped together, became next-dorm neighbors, explored DC together and here in this picture we went to New York City together.

Something that is completely unexplainable is the surreal feeling that is felt everyday whilst being on exchange. The euphoria and sense of accomplishment of the exchange, never fails to leave my side. Even though I miss the people I love at home, the experience of studying in a different country will stay in my heart forever. This photo is worth 100 words because it represents the sheer happiness that you feel while being here. It represents the friends that you will make! The experiences you’ll be able to pursue. Most importantly, it captures a memory that I will never be able to forget. My main tip for those of you coming on this trip, is one that at the beginning I never thought I would say. That is you have to extend your trip past the universities end date! Initially, I planned my flight out of America 2 days after school finished. However, with the incredible friends I have made while being here, I have now extended my stay! One of the girls is even staying until August. I encourage you not to worry about not making friends and having nowhere to stay for the extended part of the trip, but if you save up that little more money and trust me, I promise it will be worth it. The families I have met here are so, so, so hospitable and when they hear of an Australian coming to their house they will be ecstatic!

This photo means so much to me, it perfectly captures a single second of the many joyful moments of this trip. I promise you that during this trip you will find your own Carla! You will be able to see what America has to offer, the amazing monuments, the other cities you choose to travel in and the erratic change of seasons. I chose to go on this trip so that I could have a better chance at job offers overseas and to experience studying in a different country, however this exchange has provided to me so much more than a good resume. I have grown and I have learnt valuable lessons and I know that when I go back home I will be twice the person I was when I left. If at the moment you are only considering applying, I strongly urge you to take a shot and go for it! You definitely won’t regret it.