Dear ESV members,
The time has almost come, 2020 is in sight. Before we start the new year, I look back on a great 2019. In the first half of the year I was still in Nijmegen and I had the opportunity to attend many ESV activities. Highlights for me were the study trip to Salzburg, Vienna and Bratislava, the Batavierenrace and the city trip to Berlin. In the second half of the year I spent my time on exchange in Australia. Although I had to miss the beautiful Nijmegen, I had the best time of my life here! When Wouter asked me if I wanted to write about my exchange, I didn't have to think twice. Hereby some experiences from my time on exchange!
The preparations for my exchange started at the end of 2018 when I applied for a place in Australia, the country of my preference. As IBA and IE&B students had priority in the application process, there was only one place left in Australia, namely in Sydney. At the beginning of 2019 I received the good news that I had acquired this place!
After saying goodbye to family and friends, I left for Sydney mid-July, where my foreign adventure would begin! Before the semester started I first had two weeks to explore the city. I soon met two British persons and one Dutchman, with whom I experienced many adventures during the semester. In those first two weeks we already visited the tourist highlights, such as the Opera House and the Harbor Bridge, but mainly also discovered the nightlife of Sydney. The first few weeks reminded me a lot of my own intro and here I also met a lot of people, with whom I had a lot of fun.
When my "intro" time was over, I had to accept that it was time to study. At the beginning of August my semester started at the University of Sydney, where I studied for 4 months. Via USYD I managed to arrange an accommodation on campus, so I could literally roll out of bed in the morning and be at my lectures in two minutes. The courses were certainly interesting and the level was comparable to the Radboud. A difference between USYD and Radboud was that for most courses USYD based a large part of the final grade on assignments that you received during the semester. Because of this you had to keep working hard during the semester to pass your courses. All in all, I certainly enjoyed studying at USYD.
What I remember most about my time abroad are the people I met and the things I was allowed to do! After spending 5 months in Sydney, I can say that I think it's a fantastic city to live in. As Australia's largest city, there are so many different neighbourhoods, restaurants and sights to discover. Together with my friends I think back to all the things we have done together, ranging from joint meals and hikes, to memorable Thursday evenings in Ivy’s and Sundays at the horse races. A personal highlight for me was running the Sydney Half Marathon across the Harbour Bridge, which was truly an unforgettable experience. Furthermore, I have never laughed so much with two Dutch friends in Tasmania during my mid-semester break. If I look back now, time has flown by.
My semester was over at the beginning of December and I have been traveling ever since. Now I have already had 4 weeks of traveling along the east coast of Australia. From Cairns I visited many places with a hop-on hop-off bus to Gold Coast. For example, I dived at the Great Barrier Reef, sailed at the Whitsundays, and I went on an adventure on Fraser Island. All of them great experiences! Celebrating Christmas at 30 degrees on the beach took some getting used to, but it was certainly delicious too! I have spent the last few days in Melbourne and as I am writing this I am on the bus to Sydney, where the annual fireworks show will hopefully continue. Anyway it will be an unforgettable evening, where I will meet a large number of my friends again. After that, a two-week road trip in the south of New Zealand is still on the schedule, which I will certainly enjoy.
While writing this piece, I realized that it is impossible to capture all my experiences in this article. Anyway my exchange was a great time and I can heartily recommend everyone to go on an exchange. I hereby wish you a good New Year's Eve and a happy new year!
Greetings from Down Under,