Scoring my first boundary in cricket

One of the other exchange students Philip, who was from Taiwan, joined the Bath Spa American Football team. Going to watch him play made me realise that I wanted to get more involved with extra-curricular activities in Bath. I had always wanted to play cricket and so Claire and I decided to join the cricket team. We went along to practice one day and were welcomed warmly by the boys in the team. Claire didn’t stick with it, but I did and played three matches for Bath Spa during the time I was there. I wasn’t a star, but it never mattered to everyone else, and we had a great time together as a team. I scored my first boundary in our 40-over match and made some great friends.

The Cricket Team and I at Bath Spa

The Cricket Team and I at Bath Spa

Joining the cricket team was a great way to meet people and make friends, not just within the university but also in the community. We played against two of the local teams in Bath – Lansdowne Cricket Club and Hampset Cricket Club. Playing cricket in England was so much fun, and having tea during our break felt very authentically English! I was lucky enough to also attend the first Ashes test in Cardiff at the beginning of July with one of my friends from the Bath Spa team. It was a great day, despite the eventual result of the match.

My experiences while I was on exchange have helped to broaden my mind and have changed my perspective on the world. I am less judgemental and more confident in myself than I was before I went on exchange. Going to England was a good choice for me because there was no language barrier, and some of my family are English so it almost feels like home. Studying in another country was an unforgettable experience, and I am so glad that I was able to take part in exchange while I am at university.

Three degrees winter weather

For my study exchange this year, I attended Bath Spa University in southwest England for five months. It was one of the best and most valuable experiences of my life. I met people from all over the world, got to travel extensively in Europe, and made priceless friendships and connections.

I stayed in halls at Bath Spa, which helped me to make friends, and also meant that I could wake up ten minutes before my classes! I studied two creative writing subjects and one film theory class. I really enjoyed all of my classes, and got on well with my teachers and peers. I am studying creative writing at QUT, so to experience a different approach to teaching writing was very interesting.

While I was in Bath my best friend was a girl called Claire from the United States. She was on exchange from Colombia College in Chicago. I never thought that I would make such a good friend who was from a different country. We even travelled together for a month after we finished exchange to a music festival in Spain, then to Malta, Italy and Hungary. And now I have a great excuse to visit the US, and a place to stay in Chicago!

I had been to England briefly once before, on my gap year in 2012. However, I have never lived in a country other than Australia. I thought that living in England would be really similar to Australia, as our cultures seem fairly the same. But I was wrong! For one, we arrived in the middle of winter, so it was freezing. Bath Spa University is located three miles outside the city of Bath on a property that used to be a farm. The campus was beautiful, even in winter, and had a lake that froze over in January!

I started going running as soon as I started living in Bath. I used to run down the driveway that goes up to the campus, and then into town. If I felt lazy I would catch the bus home. In winter it was sometimes as cold as 3 degrees Celsius when I was running. It was actually a nice change from running in Brisbane, where in summer it gets to thirty degrees by 10am, so you have to go early in the morning. In Bath I could go for a run whenever it fit in with my university schedule. The path was also nice and flat, another positive change from the Brisbane hills. I ran with the Bath Spa running club once or twice but they were too fast for me.