Rylie Malm from the University of Idaho studying at USC Sunshine Coast

I have learned a lot from my experience abroad, not just in my field of study but also about myself. My road to get where I am now was not easy. I was and still am constantly having to overcome barriers I didn’t know where there. I found that instead of fighting these hang-ups and spending energy and time on something that isn’t working, just except it as it is. Moving forward with the lot I was given was the only way I was going to make things work.

This was true in my very first week of being in Australia, I had already navigated giant snowstorms and missed flights, and lost luggage before even getting to campus. None of these inconveniences kept me from moving on. Eventually things got better, I settled into routines, going to class, studied on the week days, and explored the Sunny Coast on the weekends. I went to Eumundi Markets, Mooloolaba and Alexandria Headlands Beaches. I even took the train to Brisbane to visit a friend I met when she was on exchange in my hometown.

I have explored the hinterlands of Montville and Maleny. I have also been to some pretty cool places for my courses including Conondale National Park and Fraser Island. I even had fun getting caught in the rain in Noosa National Park. Just recently I took a trip to Sydney; I loved walking through the parks and under the tall buildings. I learned a lot about the history and culture of such a large place.

Through all these adventures good and bad, I went with the flow, taking every opportunity that crossed my path. I didn’t let a problem or setback keep me from exploring and seeing all the wonderful things I have seen. Like turquoise blue oceans crashing on the rocks at Fraser Island, the view of the Sydney Harbour, or the creek on campus right after a rainstorm, swollen with water. With all these adventures and experiences, it’s now a memory that I think about and how I have grown in strength and confidence. That being spontaneous is important to seize the day. To try everything and to learn everything because why else am I here? Although I may have had a few rough patches, everything will be fine in the end.

Lastly, my tip to future students studying abroad; is to seize every opportunity to try something new because a semester goes by quicker than you think.