Photo ProfileI’m a month or so back into uni life in Southampton, and there’s not a day that goes by where I don’t refer to or think about my year abroad in Adelaide, Australia.

Looking back, I chose to study abroad as it was an opportunity of a lifetime; it was a great chance to experience a new culture and visit a part of the world that I had never been to. I am lucky enough to say I did exactly that.

Throughout the whole of my year abroad, I was lucky enough to have a wide circle of friends from all over the world, which was fantastic. There was always something going on, whether it was meeting up for a kick-about, chilling in everyone’s favourite bar, The Austral, grabbing some food, a house party, a night out etc. I joined the Adelaide Harriers running team in my first semester, and played for the Uni. of Adelaide Soccer (sorry) Team in my second semester, during which I made more good friends. I also had a job, which funded my fantastic travelling experiences, and also added something extra to my experience and CV.

I definitely had my fair share of problems during my time away. There were little things such as not having a phone for the first couple of weeks, to bigger problems such as not being able to study some of the modules I wanted to study. Sadly, despite emailing my co-ordinators and department back home to make them aware of the situation, these issues were not resolved. Luckily I found other modules to study that I enjoyed, but it was a bit disappointing. This is not the Study Abroad team, who were really helpful throughout the whole of my experience! I also had, what could be described as, a “bad weekend”. In addition to the conductor of the university wind band being taken ill during our concert, I learned that Mum had been diagnosed with breast cancer. This was, by far, the biggest challenge during my year abroad.

For anyone that is considering a year abroad you’ll have a great experience wherever you go, but Adelaide as a city made the experience so much better. The city itself was relatively small, but everything was very accessible. The beach was only a 20-minute tram journey away! Surrounding the city square (Adelaide was one of the first cities to be designed) were large green open parks, which were always busy, but never over-crowded, with families and friends. There were all sorts of events going on throughout the year, ranging from AFL, the Fringe Festival, V8 Super Car Racing, so you were never short on things to see and do.

My year abroad has helped me develop a range of skills. I am a lot more adaptable (particularly when it comes to moving into a new environment), I have a better work ethic (I knew that the sooner I got my work done, the sooner I could forget about it and enjoy long weekends away/travelling), patience (I spent a lot of time with international students and sometimes communication was stretched), and I know to make the most of every single opportunity.

One of the questions that i’ve been asked by the Study Abroad team since arriving back in Southampton is “What will you do with your degree after you have finished your studies?” Academically speaking i’m still working towards a decision; i’m currently on placement at the moment, and will hopefully be going on another placement in semester 2. However, my far more interesting answer is back abroad. My trip to the other side of the world was an eye-opening experience, and I would really like to see more of the world before I start an MA or settle into a career. In turn, i’m seriously considering a return to Adelaide. It’s always a risk going to the same place twice, but I enjoyed Adelaide that much that I really don’t think it would be a risk. That said, I know it’d be very different without the close friends I made whilst I was out there over the past year.

My advice for anyone that is considering a year abroad is go for it, you won’t regret it. Throw yourself into everyday life straight away, as it’ll make your experience so much better and will also help with any homesickness. Definitely join your uni’s ESN group; it’s a great way to make new friends and they offer regular day trips and weekend trips away. If you’ve got the chance, then go abroad for the whole year. It might seem like a long time, but it absolutely flies by. I met several people who stayed for one semester, and they quickly ran out of time to see everything. Make the most of every opportunity; if friends ask you if you want to go on a trip or do a bit of travelling, go for it!

Thanks to everyone in the Uni of Southampton Study Abroad Team, especially Cleome Dakin and Isabel Benitez Rodriguez, for making this trip possible.


Oliver Kidd

In July 2014 I will begin my journey “Down Under” to study at the University of Adelaide for a year, and I cannot wait to get started. Both the course and the facilities look really good, and there is a wide range of new modules to chose from. I’m really looking forward to experiencing the Aussie culture, as well as adapting to a new lifestyle. Whilst I am “Down Under” I also hope to do a bit of travelling, in order to make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. To top off what will be an unbelievably good year, I’d particularly like to go a State of Origin match between New South Wales and Queensland.

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