USC student Abby Hannah studying overseas at Millersville University in the US

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On the 16th August, I took a flight from Brisbane to Los Angeles which was the beginning of five months away from the place I called home. After spending a few days in LA, I left the West Coast and began my journey to a small city called Lancaster in Pennsylvania. In Lancaster, about 15 minutes out of the city, there is a small suburb called Millersville, which was home to Millersville University. Millersville was so different from the Sunshine Coast. It was a small suburb in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by corn fields and Amish folk. Before classes started, there was a four-day orientation for new students and I was put in a group with other international students from China, Germany, Spain and more. Being surrounded by people in the same situation as myself helped, because we all felt pretty lost together. The friends I made in this group remained my friends for the whole semester, and I still call them close friends now that I’m home.

The Millersville University campus is made up of a mixture of beautiful old brick buildings and modern buildings. There’s a lake in the middle of the campus with Millersville’s own swans, Miller and S’ville, surrounded by the old library (now faculty offices) and the new nine-storey library. Being at Millersville was a change from USC, where I only came to campus when I had a lecture or tutorial, to having to be on campus 24/7. Sleeping, eating, socialising and learning all in the same place. The International team at MU helped and put on so many events for the International students, giving us the chance to travel to New York City for the day which is only three hours away, and they took us to Hershey Chocolate World which is where Hershey chocolate is made, along with an amusement park with many rollercoasters. I also organised trips among my friend group and we took our own trip to New York City over Fall Break for three days, and a day trip to Washington DC (only two hours away) where we got to see the White House, the Capitol and the Washington Monument.

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I was lucky enough to experience a snow day in November as it started snowing at 10am and didn’t stop until that night. Classes got cancelled and the whole campus looked like a winter wonderland. Although it didn’t snow again, the weather was freezing for a Sunshine Coast girl and I couldn’t leave my dorm without at least three layers of clothing for the rest of the semester.

During my time at Millersville, I met so many amazing people from America and other countries around the world. Millersville feels like a second home to me and I’d love to go back and experience it all again. I encourage everyone to study overseas as it open your eyes to so many amazing opportunities and experiences. I learnt so much about myself as a person and about so many other cultures. Find a country and a school that suits you and don’t stop until you get there, because it’ll be the best thing you do.

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