I started my journey in Melbourne both nervous and excited about this new venture in my life. I discussed my thoughts and expectations in my first blog post titled, “Home is Behind, The World Ahead”. Now that I’ve been living and attending university in Melbourne for the past few months, it has now become a familiar place to me. I have made a group of friends, study partners, and discovered some of my favorite spots in the city. I now feel more like someone who lives in Melbourne and less like a tourist or visitor.
Another thing that has changed is my perspective on living and studying abroad. My academic and professional goals are the same as they were before I left for Melbourne, and they will be made possible with the help the Gilman Program has provided. Along with the financial support from Gilman Program, the Program also supplied me with resources such as the Gilman Alumni network. The information shared by this network combined with my experience abroad has me considering attending graduate school abroad. My experience in Melbourne has exposed me to the difference in academic institutions throughout the world, and what these unique differences can offer me.
Studying in Melbourne has provided me with more academic independence, collaborative opportunities, and ways to ask for help strategically. Specifically, at the University of Melbourne there are fewer tutoring resources and help outside of class than I am used to at my home institution; especially for my math and computer science classes. This has resulted in me building relationships with my classmates and professors, as well as required me to do a lot of independent work and research outside of class.
I wouldn’t say that my time abroad has changed me as a person, but it has changed my viewpoint, increased my skills, helped me meet amazing people, and gain new experiences. I now no longer feel limited to the United States and realize that I can go anywhere in the world to work or study. As a member of the Gilman community, I know that I will have Gilman’s support to make that possible. This perspective change is what differs the most from my initial thoughts. I started my study abroad experience expecting a new and exciting time and will be leaving with a new outlook on this area of my life.