2010 - James Ringrow from Nottingham in Queensland

I thoroughly believe that by studying abroad I will obtain a better degree than I would have done by staying at home.

Looking back on it now, it seems incredible that my U21 experience only lasted six months. The people I met, the places I visited and the memories I wistfully dream back too could fill pages. It was undoubtedly the time of my life.

While abroad you have the opportunity to break free from your established friendship groups and come into contact with people from a whole variety of backgrounds. It certainly helped that I went to a nation famed for their friendship. From the immigration official who welcomed me into Australia with the stereotypical ‘G’day’, to the Qantas stewardess who waved me goodbye, the Australians I met could not have been more welcoming and friendly, even after they lost the Ashes!  Living in another country can be a daunting prospect, yet for me the excitement of living in Australia was second to none. The relaxed outdoor lifestyle which I enjoyed in Brisbane was a pleasant departure from anything England has to offer. After all, any place where you can wear your flip flops in winter is surely one to stick around in!

Certainly, the difference in learning was also a factor in my enjoyment. I found the teaching at UQ to be of an excellent standard, with smaller classes and more interesting subject material than I had in Nottingham.  I thoroughly believe that by studying abroad I will obtain a better degree than I would have done by staying at home.

Then, there are the places I visited while in Australia. From day trips to the beach (certainly not a regular feature of any student’s life in Nottingham), to weekends away in the pacific islands of Vanuatu or the road trips along the Great Ocean Road, we certainly made time to explore.  I think the times I spent travelling were some of the most exciting, and it was on these excursions that I truly realised the benefits of being abroad. After all, at home I would never have had the opportunity to enter the ‘Cage of Death’ and go croc-diving, or abseil down a waterfall.

By studying abroad you have so many opportunities, that your time overseas becomes so much more than simply going to university.
Looking back on it now, I wished I could have gone for longer. Speaking to others, I have yet to hear a bad word said, and we all wistfully dream back to the days when we could go to the beach after lectures. Personally, I can’t see any reason why you wouldn’t want to get involved with Universitas 21.