"I WAS A STUDENT IN THE LAND DOWN UNDER...'"
By Breann Thompson, Class of '09
"Overseas - a word that seems to be just a passing thought in the head of an ambitious young person. It seems unattainable but desirable.
Once you finally get up the nerve to start your journey into the unknown you get excited. You start having more of a feeling of independence and self-reliance because you are doing this for yourself - no one else.
It turns out to be one of the best experiences of your entire life. It changes you for the better because you learn to do things for yourself and how to take care of yourself and have those life experiences that make for a great story and learning experience. When you come back and are asked how your trip was... all you can say is "it was pretty much amazing'' because they cannot even begin to understand what it's like to live in another country unless, of course, they do it. It's an experience you can only fully share with those other people who have done it as well.
Breann with kangaroos at the zoo in Cairns
My overseas adventure took place in the land "down under," Australia - a wonderful country! In the beginning, I knew I wanted to study abroad for a semester SOMEWHERE. I found out my roommate's friend was going to Australia for study, so I contacted him and got the information for AustraLearn, a study abroad coordinator. I looked at their website, filled out the appropriate forms and sent my fees in at the right time. It was all a little frustrating and annoying at first but eventually everything was worked out. My Judson advisor Dr. Sara Kiser got all of my information together and approved the classes that I would eventually take in Australia. She was a big help. Through AustraLearn, I also got to take a three day trip to Cairns to see the reef and visit the zoo. That was an experience all in itself. My favorite cities were Sydney and Innisfail - two very different cities, two amazing experiences.
I believe one of the main things my study abroad trip taught me was how to relax and really live in a "no worries" kind of world. Life is about experience and if you are uptight and worrying about things that you have no control over all the time then you cannot enjoy it to its fullest.
I went to the University of Queensland and lived in the dorm, International House, which allowed me to meet tons of awesome people from all over the world, including Holland, Scotland, England, Canada, Singapore, Tasmania, New Zealand, Slovenia, and that's just to name a few!
I think that was another great part of my experience - now I have friends in those places, which means in the future when I want to travel outside of the U.S., I'll have people to see and places to stay.
Another wonderful way to experience a foreign country is to get a job. I worked in cafes and got to meet a lot of the locals. These people constantly thought I was from Canada, which I thought was slightly amusing and annoying at the same time. Compared to the restaurant business in the states, it was amazing to see how different customers in Australia acted in regards to expectations of food service. People in Australia tend to be more laid back.
It's just amazing and life-changing to see how other people live, work, think and exist across the world, and to be immersed in their culture. It's a wonderful experience! If you're considering studying abroad, I completely recommend it. Take at least one semester to go somewhere, meet different people and learn the life lessons that God will make available to you..."
*** JULIE BREANN THOMPSON, is a junior at Judson College. Originally from Hoover, Ala., she is majoring in Business.