I have found that not only is an exchange an exciting experience to put on my CV, but it has also helped me to become a more confident, independent and diverse person.
My name is Ellen and I recently participated in an overseas study experience as part of my double degree of Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Global Studies. In fact, the semester exchange embedded into the third year of my double degree was one of the main reasons I chose to study at ACU.
When I had first left high school and was deciding which university to complete my law degree at, the fact that ACU centred a Law and Global studies degree on a study abroad opportunity was really appealing. I had always wanted to travel overseas, and by choosing ACU, I already knew that in my third year I would be going on exchange overseas, but had the added benefit of knowing that the structure of my degree meant that I would not miss anything or fall behind in either of my courses. I also knew that there would be a lot of support from the university to assist me in going overseas as it was a requirement for my Global Studies course.
In July 2015 I left for a Semester 2 exchange program in Lyon, France. I chose France because I had learnt French in High School and I had always wanted to pick up the language again. Unfortunately I didn’t have a lot of time to study the language outside of university, but I saw this exchange program as the perfect opportunity to revisit the language again. This is also the reason why I chose Lyon out of all the other universities on offer in France by ACU. Lyon had a language faculty where you could partake in either a semi-intensive or intensive program to study the French language.
I chose an intensive program, and the reason behind this was that with my Global Studies degree (and possibly with my law degree as well) I have always thought about the possibility of working overseas, and I feel that it is important to know more than one language to do this, particularly if I chose to work in Europe where I would be competing for job opportunities with people who may already know multiple languages.
The highlight of my overseas experience was meeting so many amazing people from all around the world with all different types of cultures, many of them I am still good friends with. I met most of my friends by choosing to stay in student accommodation, which housed about 150 residents from the university.
It was incredible to meet people from all over France, as well as other intentional students from other parts of Europe, Asia or South America. I now know that if I decide to travel to any of these parts of the world, I will have friends that I can catch up with and who can show me their countries and cities through a completely different perspective that I would miss out on as a regular tourist.
However, a smaller, yet still important highlight was getting to travel around Europe and to participate in every opportunity that was given to me. For example, the student organisations or the ERASMUS program would organise events for students, or trips to different parts of France or Europe.
One weekend, we drove to Geneva, Switzerland because it was only a 2hr drive from Lyon.
On the university study break week, a friend and I decided to fly to Barcelona, Spain for the week because it was only a 1 hr flight. Every weekend there seemed to be something on that allowed you to experience living in Europe, in France and to continually meet new people.
Taking part in an exchange program I would now say is the greatest thing to do at university. The experiences and opportunities you will find in another country are unlimited. I have found that not only is an exchange an exciting experience to put on my CV, but it has also helped me to become a more confident, independent and diverse person.