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Amy B - Australia

My trip to the University of Newcastle in Australia was the most memorable and exciting six months of my life thus far. Each day was literally a new adventure as I explored and absorbed my surroundings to the fullest. Australia is an amazing country with gorgeous landscapes, clear and crystal oceans, exotic and unique plants and animals, and a wonderful population of people who just love to meet Americans! Australia is such an easy country to get around and it attracts travelers and backpackers from all over the world who are more than happy to exchange stories, tell you a tale, and have a good laugh. Some people are students, others traveling nomads, but the people I met throughout my travels taught me some unforgettable things, and allowed me to experience so many cultures in one country. Australians themselves have an extraordinarily friendly and outgoing way about them. They love their land and appreciate visitors who can enjoy in all of the wonders down under has to offer. It is so easy to find a local to act as a personal tour guide as you live and travel throughout Australia. Expect to meet so many new friends out there who you may keep in touch with long after your stay.

Towards the end of my visit, I had the chance to take a three-week backpacking trip down the coast of eastern-Australia. I started the first week of my trip with a friend who I had met while living in Newcastle. When she departed home, I met a girl at a hostel from Toronto, Canada who was going my way! We ended up finishing the last two weeks of our trip together and became great friends till this day! We had countless adventures scuba diving, snorkeling, hiking, bush walking, off-roading, sailing, living up the nightlife, and meeting amazing people along the way!

Before my semester overseas, I had never left the U.S. By the end of my stay, I had been to Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji. Prior to living in Australia, I was afraid of heights. By the end of my trip, I had taken up rock climbing, and got to skydive over a glacier in New Zealand. Until I traveled abroad, I had never met anyone who had traveled the world. Throughout my stay, I found myself immersed in a fascinating culture of backpackers from any and every spot on the globe, and I ended up living with three Norwegian students. By putting myself out there and getting out of my comfort zone, I learned more about who I am and about the world than I ever could have throughout six months in my familiar environment. The best way to learn is through experience. I highly encourage everyone get the experience of living in a foreign country. It is the best decision I ever made. Now, I am left with the decision of where to go next?!

Warning: expect a pesky travel bug to nag you upon your return!!!

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