I have always said since I was a little girl that I would study abroad one day – explore new things that nobody back home had ever done before. However, I never knew exactly where I wanted to end up. I dreamt of being somewhere warm, and laying on the beach sipping something fruity, witnessing views and extremes I’d never come across.

It just so happened that my sophomore year roommate was interested in studying abroad as well. That’s when we decided on Australia. My roommate has always been in love with sharks, and I grew up in the mountains of Vermont so any ocean environment sounded amazing to me. It was a lengthy process to get all of the abroad paperwork and costs worked out, but as my plane landed in Sydney Australia I automatically knew it had all been worth it.

Although, we toured Sydney for a few days and got to see the great

Baylee Jacobs/ Contributed Photo

Baylee Jacobs/ Contributed Photo

Sydney Oprah House, my final destination was to the Gold Coast in Queensland, AU, where I live on campus here at Bond University. Don’t get me wrong, Sydney was beautiful, but it was more of an architectural, older city type of eye catcher, whereas here on the Gold Coast it is take- your-breath-away kind of beautiful. There are beaches, grasslands, trees and waterways everywhere. I can hear all of the unique birds screeching obnoxiously outside my window at night while I’m trying to sleep, instead of just the busy city streets I heard in Sydney.

The dorm I live in is also full of students from all different countries, so on top of the weird bird noises I can go from hearing German to Chinese, throw in a little Swedish here and there.

When I hear a loud American in the hallway I pretty much know it’s one of my girls. You’re guaranteed to meet tons of amazing people abroad!

I am a big outdoorsy girl, so being able to walk outside of my on-campus dorm and have a canal on my lawn that has bull sharks and stingrays as well as other fish from the ocean in it is just amazing (but do not go swimming, those sharks will get you!) I think it’s the funniest thing to walk back from getting dinner on campus and have flying fish jumping in and out of the water in the canal right next to me.

It’s also fun to compare the creatures here to the ones we have back home. At Keene State College all students expect to see at least three squirrels on their way to class, but (most Aussies are afraid of squirrels just so you know) here at Bond you can expect to see water dragons, a type of lizard that will pop out and run beside you on the sidewalk.

One night I went for a walk through campus and saw this huge animal in the sky, as it got closer I could see its wings and realized it was a bat at least five times the size of my head! They are huge and make the most awful noises, but they’re sweet!

For you nightlife folks and partygoers, the Gold Coast is the place to be. Not only can I walk out the front of my building and directly into a bar on campus, but during orientation week we’d party and drink in the bar until midnight when a vehicle  with “Party Bus” written on the side of it picks us students up from campus and drives us about 15 minutes to Surfers Paradise where all the hot clubs and late night Ben & Jerry’s are located.

At 3:30 a.m. you can chose to get back on the party bus and have it take you right back to campus, or you can walk over to the ocean and chill on the beach until you are ready to finally make your way home. It is not recommended to go drunk swimming in Australia, just for the record!

My trip’s only just begun and I’ve loved every minute of it! Plus nobody wants to hear about my classes because you’re probably doing much more schoolwork at Keene State than I am down under!

If you want to study abroad, study abroad. Don’t think twice about being home sick – you don’t have enough time for that! See ya’ll in the Spring.

Baylee Jacobs can be contacted at Baylee.jacobs@ksc.keene.edu

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