Robert Ortiz

Contributing Writer

I have always had a passion for travel and love to see and experience different parts of the world and cultures, so I knew studying away for a semester would really broaden my horizon. I had done my research for studying away and landed on Australia.

So, in July, I packed my things and headed off to the University of Wollongong in Wollongong, Australia. It is now the beginning of November and my journey is sadly coming to an end. I have had the best of times here; from traveling, meeting new lifelong friends, experiencing the culture and just experiencing the country and continent of Australia. As I have said, I have had the opportunity to make new friends here whom I know I will continue to keep in touch with.

These are people that I hang out with every day and they are from all over the world; from the United States, to Australia, to all over Europe. I hope to continue my traveling adventures after studying abroad and visit them as I do so. I have even inspired many Australians to come to the United States to do a semester abroad, and many of them have applied to do so.

Before I came to Australia, I had worked all summer and planned to save as much money as I could to be able to travel as much as I could while I’m here. I have had the opportunity to visit California, New Zealand, Melbourne, The Great Ocean Road, Brisbane and many other destinations along the coast of Australia.

I also have a trip planned to Bali in Indonesia and a visit to the Great Barrier Reef. Traveling to these places has really broadened my perspective on the world, and life as well. I cannot wait to visit the upcoming destinations to continue my adventure here in Australia before I have to make my way back to New Hampshire. I do not regret spending any of the money I have spent on any of my traveling experiences. I would keep spending if I could, but funds are not unlimited. I have had the opportunity to share these experiences with my new friends here in Australia as well as one of my really good friends from back at Keene State College.

Rob Ortiz/ Contributed Photo

Rob Ortiz/ Contributed Photo

I also had the amazing opportunity to do things such as pet, hold and feed kangaroos and koalas out of my hand, along with skydiving right here in Wollongong. I cannot wait to show my friends and family the pictures I have taken here, as well as anyone who would be interested! Being away from home for so long really makes you realize what you take for granted, but it also helps you adjust to the lifestyle you are currently in. There are certain things I miss such as my family and American food. But I have made adjustments like I said and realize I am experiencing an amazing opportunity, so I am making the best out of every day I am here. Since I am a five-minute walk from the beach I spend a lot of my spare time there and will miss this once I leave.

When I come back home I plan on focusing on my major and plan to graduate on time in a year and a half. My overall experience here has been absolutely amazing and I have learned so much from it, and will continue to do so.

I do not regret my decision to study away for almost five months at all. I recommend studying abroad for everyone! This is an experience I will never forget for the rest of my life, and something that has really helped me grow as a person.

I am thankful that Keene State has helped me experience this amazing opportunity and Ithankful that my parents have made this possible for me by supporting my decision. I recommend this experience to anyone and everyone!

Rob Ortiz can be contacted at Rob.ortiz@ksc.keene.edu