Yesterday I received probably the best and most exciting e-mail that I have ever gotten. Better than any funny joke, trip confirmation and possibly even better than finding out that I got into University. Yesterday I got the e-mail telling me that I have been approved and accepted to go on exchange next semester to Melbourne, Australia :D Cloud 9 doesn't even begin to describe my excitement, I am completely over the moon!!
Ever since early high school I have dreamed of studying abroad, and it was always something I knew I wanted to work towards. That was part of the reason that I chose to come to Carleton: our exchange program works with hundreds of universities around the world, and you pay Carleton tuition instead of the university you're going to (which makes a huge difference let me tell you). So I always knew I would apply for exchange, so last semester in the fall I began looking into the process and seeing what needed to be done. Needless to say it was a lot of work, and I have been actively working on this since way back at the beginning of October. The application itself involved a lot forms and signatures, along with 2 short essays and 2 handwritten letters of recommendation n by professors. Now that was an intimidating amount of things to get together! However I always try and make a personal connection with my professors which proved to be extremely beneficial when it came to this. So by the end of November I had everything together and ready to go, and in the application went. Now it was time to wait.
Ever notice how time crawls by when you're waiting for something? While I won't lie and say that the past months have gone by so slowly (I actually have no idea where all that time went), that application was always in the back on my mind. Waiting and waiting for that fateful e-mail.
Then came the beginning of February, and the first e-mail. This one informed me that I was approved to go on my exchange, WOOHOO! However I would have to wait until the end of the month to find out where I was going. You have to put your top 3 choices of host institutions when you apply, and while they try and give you your #1 it is not always guaranteed. These were mine:
1. Melbourne, Australia
2. Trento, Italy
3. Lancaster, England
And while I would have been overjoyed no matter where I got sent, I really did want Australia. The reasoning behind that being primarily because of the program offered there. I am going to Monash University, and they offer a joint degree in Fine Arts and Business. Perfect for what I want to do (run an art gallery)! This means that I can take the fine art classes that I love, but also take the business classes like marketing and accounting that are necessary for running a business. If I could hand design a university program that would literally be exactly what I would do! The other plus side to going there is that there is no language barrier. And while it is a similar culture in some ways, it is also extremely different in others. I love that I get to immerse myself in a new culture but that I will still have that common ground of language and such so that I will not be completely lost.
What is different about going to Australia however is that because their seasons are opposite of ours, their school year is as well. So technically I am going in my fall semester here at Carleton, but it will be their winter semester in Melbourne. Oh and it runs from July-Novemeber. Just to make it even more confusing. Which also means that I leave in 5 months, and I will be gone for 6 months all said and done. Because the plan is that since the semester only goes until mid November, I am going to take the next month before Christmas to backpack and travel around the country since December is summer time over there :) Perfect set up right? That's what I'm talking about!
And so now I sit here trying to study for midterms, but my mind is on the other side of the world. I can' believe how lucky and blessed I am to have this opportunity. I literally feel like I'm dreaming! I am so thankful to my incredible parents, who have always supported me and encouraged me to do this, and who were almost more excited than I was when I talked to them yesterday when I got the e-mail. I could no have done this all without having them behind me, and it means the world to me. That being said this also gives them an excuse to come to Australia, so it's looking like we might have a Hildesheim Christmas down under this year! Who knows :)
So here's to new adventures. To students going around the world. To all my family and friends that have helped me get here. To finally achieving my dream! I really could not be happier :) And my happy dance around the house yesterday for hours proves that one...