No, I won’t be talking about the movie starring Will Smith with aliens invading and things being blown to pieces. I’ve come to realise that I’m a very dependent person. I live at home, I’m sadly still on my L plates and although I do technically have a job, I only get about 3 hours of work a month so it doesn’t really count. I think it’s time I grow up and take some initiative for myself. Now that I’m 18, I’m starting to get restless. I want to go out into the world and see everything, do everything, and experience anything I possibly can. For once I’d like to be independent and do my own thing and rely on myself to get things done and not someone else.
I overheard a conversation between two 3rd years the other day and they were discussing their plans to travel to London when they graduate, find internships and live a merry life. And this got me thinking on the same sort of path; why don’t I try student exchange? Living and studying overseas for a semester, exploring a new country, meeting new friends with all decisions up to you, it sounds a bit like a choose-your-own-adventure. I’d love to do it to be honest; the experience would be a once in a lifetime chance. The main thing that worries me is the money factor. I’ve done a bit of research and discovered that it’s quite expensive to do this kind of thing with the airfares, accommodation, food and anything else you might spend money on. It could easily add up to 10k or more.
I also haven’t travelled by myself on a plane before and I haven’t been on my lonesome for more than 2-3 weeks, which sounds a bit lame I know but I’m not sure how I’d cope being by myself or if I’d get homesick during a semester-long stay in a foreign country. Plus I can’t forget about a potential culture shock turning my world upside down.
The more I think about it though the more I want to do it. Sure, it might cost a lot but I can apply for scholarships or possibly put some of the expense onto my HECS debt. Plus I’d need to find a job in order to save up. The experience and the fun times I’d get out of something like this would be priceless. And yes, I might be a loner for a little while but I’m sure I’d make a lot of new friends while I’m there and I can easily catch up with friends and family back home, thank goodness for Facebook and Skype! You know what, a culture shock is probably the kick-start I need in order to become an independent person. It’d be like BAM, get out into the world and buy your own food, do your own laundry, fend for yourself for once instead of letting everyone else do things for you, and while you’re at it, have lots of fun and see some really beautiful places.
I’ll probably go sometime in my 3rd year, by that time I’ll be a pro at this whole university thing and I’ll be ready to fly the coop for a bit. As for the countries I’d like to visit, so far I have USA and Canada, pretty boring I know. Japan is also on my list but I’m not too sure about it. I’ve already been there once and I loved it so going back a second time would be amazing. I’d be able to see everything I missed out on in Year 12 and get a bit more out of my comfort zone. The only downside is that I’ve lost basically all of my Japanese speaking, reading and writing skills and I’m afraid my experience would turn into something like this from Lost in Translation.
If I start getting organised now, maybe this will actually happen…
Have you been on student exchange? If you were going to do student exchange, which country would you go to?
And finally on an unrelated note, here is a picture of a cat and a dog. It made me laugh.