By Kenneth Young |Staff Writer|
Finally I’m here, studying in America. The land where the cars and the seasons are completely the opposite than from where I’m from.
For those who don’t know me, I studied at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Brisbane, Australia for three semesters before starting my first quarter here at CSUSB. Being here is the result of a process that began back in August 2012.
After months of preparing study plans, going to interviews and various seminars, I was officially accepted in June 2013.
I broke the news that I was going to study in California, and my friends and family were all very excited.
“Where in California?” they asked.
“San Bernardino,” I said. They were silent.
If it’s not Los Angeles or San Francisco, you can assume that most Australians probably don’t know about cities like San Bernardino.
I won’t lie, I didn’t know much about San Bernardino either, aside from the fact that it’s in the Route 66 song.
So why did I choose San Bernardino if I knew nothing about it? The simple answer is, because it offered the best possible matches for my major.
Another reason was because I like being different. Every person I talked to who applied for Cal State put Long Beach as their first preference.
As nice as Long Beach is, the allure of having a unique experience in San Bernardino was also a reason why I listed it higher.
How many Australians can claim that they lived in the Inland Empire?
Plus, if I wanted to go to Los Angeles or Orange County, I knew both were within driving distance.
After the application process was complete, I went to seminar after seminar of people telling me that I was going to experience a wide range of emotions.
I was skeptical because I felt like I knew what I was doing. I felt like I was ready for it.
Let’s just say, I was wrong.
The week before I left Australia went incredibly fast and I was an emotional wreck. I gained a new appreciation for my friends, family and city; yet I had to leave it all behind.
All those months where I was ready to leave felt nullified by that one week where I wasn’t.
Every time I went to pack my bags, I’d burst into tears. Everything was changing.
But let me tell you, that feeling does pass. Once you get on the plane, that nervous tension turns into excitement.
As much as I miss my home back in Australia, I feel like I have found a new one here.
Every day I get to hang out with my new best friends, and that has definitely helped me acclimatize to my new surroundings a lot quicker.
Since I’m only here for one quarter, I learned to be less cynical and embrace every experience while I’m here. Nothing is too lame.
Now I love every day of my life as an exchange student, and you would as well.
So I encourage everybody to study abroad.
You won’t regret it!