Land down under

My name is Brittany Curtis. I am 22 years old and will be graduating from the University of Manitoba with my bachelor of kinesiology this spring. However, over the last six months, I have answered to the nickname “Canada,” lived and studied exercise and sport science in Melbourne, Australia and traveled the Aussie east coast, as well as all over New Zealand.
I attended Deakin University on exchange for 12 weeks from July to October. Despite being on the other side of the world, school life in Australia was much like school life in Canada — maybe slightly warmer. Once I’d found myself a place to live and gotten registered for my classes, the routine I settled into was similar to that I follow at home. Deakin University is smaller than the University of Manitoba, but the quality of education was much the same. The exercise and sport science program, specifically, is highly accredited at Deakin. The professors were very knowledgeable and keen to help. I experienced some culture shock due to the fact that I study sport and the major sports there are Aussie-rules football, cricket and netball. But I went to Australia looking to gain perspective, and inevitably, studying novel sports proved very interesting.
The clever part of doing an exchange is being able to pursue your studies at the same cost as you would at home. The best part was the people I met. The uni organized an orientation, which facilitated meeting the other exchange students. This was an opportunity to meet peers who were in the same position as I was, and an interesting opportunity to learn about many other cultures. However, being that I was often the only foreign student in my classes, I met many Australian students who enjoyed my (newfound) accent, and helped me to pick up the Aussie slang. I became extremely close with the friends I made, particularly the other exchange students, as they became my everyday family.
The reversed terms, due to different hemispheres, also afforded me the opportunity to enjoy an extended Christmas holiday, so I spent two months traveling. My exchange to Melbourne was undeniably worth every penny I spent. I would not trade this experience for the world. Ursula K. Le Guin said, “It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” I agree.