Namrata did a split year abroad in Spain and Australia in 2019/2020, and we asked her for some insight into her time abroad. She gave us some fantastic reasons as to why the places she studied are great, and we can’t wait to send more students to see what she is talking about!
By Namrata, Psychology and Business Management
International Year at Universidad San Jorge, Spain and Edith Cowan University, Australia
Benefits of studying abroad in:
- Spain is a beautiful country filled with a rich culture and history – living in Spain really helps with understanding and gaining an insight into the culture! It is also fairly easy to travel around the country, so you are able to explore smaller Spanish towns and cities.
- Festivals is a huge aspect of the Spanish culture and you will (hopefully) be able to experience some celebrations!
- It is one of the best ways to learn a new language as you can use and practice Spanish in everyday life!
- There is no language barrier thus making it easier to communicate with everyone however, Australians do love their slang. This also means that there is a greater number of courses/modules to choose from!
- The weather is amazing compared to the UK, it is sunny for the majority of the time. This makes it ideal if you enjoy visiting beaches and exploring the outdoors. Australia has some of the most beautiful beaches.
My time abroad
Going on a year abroad was the best year of my university journey and I would recommend it to everyone! I split my year abroad with the first semester in Zaragoza, Spain and the second semester in Perth, Australia.
I feel my international year increased my self-confidence as I travelled extensively and lived in a country where I did not know the language. I was able to travel to 12 different cities/towns in Spain which gave me a deeper insight into the culture.
At the university I went to in Spain (San Jorge Universidad) there were student organisations dedicated to organising trips such as hiking, zip-lining, or travelling around Spain. Through these organisations, I was able to see Valencia, San Sebastian, Santander, Bilbao! It was nice to explore these cities as usually when people think of Spain, they usually think of Barcelona or Madrid. The city I was living in (Zaragoza) is quite unknown to many people, but it is a hidden gem. One of the biggest festivals celebrated in the city is ‘Fiestas del Pilar’ which brings everyone together and the celebrations last for ten days! This festival was one the highlights of my time in Spain.
Prior to going to Australia, I was naïve in thinking that it is similar to the UK – only difference being the nicer weather! However, I learnt that there is a lot of history around how Australia came to be and the impact it had and still has upon Indigenous people. There were also some major differences in lifestyles and some culture shock.
I found that the Australians I met lived a kind of ‘work hard play hard’ lifestyle – they were serious about their education and work, but they also knew how to have a good time. I felt that it was easier to make friends and build relationships with domestic students as there was no language barrier. Saying this, Australians love their slang! There were quite of few times where I didn’t know what they were talking about or vice versa. It was interesting to see the difference between UK English and Australian English.
There were international cafes organized by the university for international students where we were able to meet other internationals as well as try Australian food. Through this café, I was able to try lamingtons – a classic Australian cake, fairy bread (which I thought was quite strange as it was bread, butter, and sprinkles!), TimTams, etc.
Some of my highlights from Australia include going to Rottnest Island and seeing Quokkas (which only exist on this island) and watching countless sunsets at the beach!
Due to Corona, my study abroad in Australia was cut short but, I will be going back at some point! I loved it there and though this experience I have made life-long friends from all over the world!