“Are you happy with your decision to study in Australia?”
I remember answering the question with ease, the words falling out of my mouth as I spoke on the phone for an interview with The Daily Aztec. Since that conversation, it has occurred to me again the reasons why I decided to spend a semester abroad and I wanted to share them.
“Like a dear friend once said, ‘Make the experiences worth the expenses.'”
1. I’m spending within my semester
Understandably, finance is a huge concern with study abroad and I was worried about the expenses possibly stopping my chances. But thankfully as an exchange student, I’m paying my home tuition as normal — unlike a program outside of my usual semester, such as a short-term program either during the winter or summer breaks. At most, I have to pay for my flights and adjust my personal daily expenses as I see fit.
2. I needed to complete my classes
Looking at my degree evaluation, I had quite the load of classes remaining for two semesters. If I was able to live within my financial means anyway and the classes I needed were available, I figured it was well worth it to pursue an entire semester abroad. Like a dear friend once said, “Make the experiences worth the expenses.”
3. I wanted a change of pace
Having lived in San Diego for a good three years now, I can confidently say that I have made it my space — my second home. I knew which coffee shops to go to throughout the week, I could name places for specific cuisines (I really miss the Mexican food there) if my friends and I were craving something and I knew my favorite beaches and hikes for the weekends.
Essentially, I was comfortable.
But sometimes living in what’s familiar for too long brings on restlessness. I wanted this change in pace because I wanted to challenge myself by experiencing something new. Funny how just as I realized the boundaries of my comfort zone meant that it was time to push that to new limits.
4. I wanted a change of scenery (AKA travel!)
How else would I want to experience a new routine and lifestyle if not by completely dropping myself thousands of kilometers away from home? Not to mention, I just so happened to pick one of the most isolated cities in the world. It was destined to be quite the rollercoaster.
These were the reasons that brought me to Australia. Now, so much more has happened that are my reasons to stay — a list much longer than this, I guarantee!
As I hung up on our call that morning, I repeated the question to myself to really reaffirm how I feel about my decision.
“Absolutely. 100 percent.”
Kat Hidalgo is a fourth-year kinesiology (physical therapy emphasis) major. She is studying at Murdoch University in Perth, Australia for the fall semester.