Jayna – University of South Carolina – USA
Semester 2, 2022
Bachelor of Property Economics
My semester exchange that commenced in the fall of 2022 was a lifechanging experience in many ways. Moving across the world and navigating a new lifestyle can be completely confronting. However, being able to adapt and grow in uncomfortable situations is a skill that can only be learned through practice. I know that a big part of my intentions of going abroad was to me help push myself in areas I wanted to change. Sometimes I find my anxiety stops me from facing things and joining in on new experiences. So, naturally, going somewhere I am constantly forced to try new things and meet new people, was going to be the best way to subside my anxieties. By jumping in the deep end. That’s exactly what exchange is. If you want to get the most out of the semester it’s simple, reach out to other students who are going through the exact same motions as you and being a part of a new community. There were constantly events thrown by my university that helped students get involved. They had market stalls, pep rallies, theatre performances, picnics, and games – to name a few. All these opportunities were given to the students. Which meant, that it cost nothing to meet new people and feel included. The high of being in an exciting new place was written on all the exchange students faces. The school facilities were also a great way to create groups. I remember in the first few weeks, the exchange students set up beach volleyball games every Friday afternoon. Although I had limited experience with volleyball, it became one of my favourite pass time activities with my newfound friends. I liked that other student around me motivated each other to stay active as a way of being social by setting up gym sessions with each other and pool days.
My first memory upon arrival was move in day. It was, what felt like one of the hottest days of the year. I had six months’ worth of luggage I had to carry to my dorm and no car. A student who had been helping first year students move in, saw me and my friend struggling through campus. She ran to her car and picked us up and helped us with all our move in checklist. It was a long day for her, and she got nothing out of it. For weeks after meeting her, she checked in on me to see if I was settling in okay and found my way around. This really does sum up the experience of my exchange. The people I met where some of the most accommodating and thoughtful people which made it easy to pass on this kindness to other students around me where I could. Being a part of the school made me feel proud and connected to others in a profound way. I found that classes were a great place to meet ‘local’ students. I didn’t have any group projects, but I created a lot of study groups with the students in my courses. I found that it made me enjoy my studies a lot more and motivated me to not only keep up with my classmates but excel as well. The contact hours where very different to what I was used to. Moving from almost all online to mandatory class attendance created a great structure for me and helped me stay on top of all my schoolwork. The classes I took strayed from what I would be learning at my home university. Some of the course where more difficult than I care to admit and challenged me, but those courses were also my favourite.
‘Dorm life’ was also a very unique experience. I loved everything about living on campus. I was close to all of my friends, my classes, and extra curriculum. Everything was within walking distance which admittedly made things easier but was also another perk of being able to participate in numerous events. Again, there was a great sense of community that living on campus created.
Find out how you can apply for exchange via the QUT Student Exchange website.