ACPE International Student; Maddie, moved to Australia to follow her dreams of studying abroad. The following article details the initial challenges faced when moving to a foreign country.
The decision to move away from home is not always the easiest you do, and for me it was no different. In the previous post, I mentioned that for as long as I could remember wanting to move overseas to study, but to be totally honest it took me almost 8 years from when I first mentioned it to my parents until I actually moved. I am a thinker, so I needed time to be able to put myself in the situation of living abroad, but when I reached that point everything went smoothly and most things went very quickly from thereon.
I got accepted to ACPE in March 2018 and only three months later I was in Australia to start the adventure of a lifetime, and so far I have not changed my mind about moving overseas! My mom came along and was with me the first week I was here to help me settle in, but she left the weekend before classes started. I will be totally honest and say I cried and was teary the whole day after she left to go to the airport, and then the Sunday after I was a total mess. I had no family or friends here, and I felt really lonely which was the reason for being sad. BUT, classes started on Monday, and when they did all I could feel was nervousness and excitement for my first week. I also freaked out at the realisation that all of my assessments would be done in English. I should have known it would be alright, even if I sometimes still do not understand a certain word.
Hot tip: To ease the nerves about writing in a language that is not your first language, check out ACPE’s Student Learning Services (SLS), they are there to assist you.
Even before I came to Australia I knew that I could seek help with writing, and it is not a weakness or a failure for not knowing certain things every single time, especially when you are alone in a new country and the language spoken is not your first language. I had a small language barrier when I got here. Simple things such as not saying please and thank you, since these words are not used in the same way in Swedish. I had to really work on that, but now when I look back on it, I laugh because it is so silly but so important to understand how everything works where you are in the world.
The ACPE staff and my teachers really helped and supported me in the first semester, and still do. I still go to them, even if it is not related to ACPE when I do not understand. During orientation week I also met one of my best friends today, and we supported each other and still do when we do not understand, or just need that little extra confidence boost. During orientation week I also met a lot of other students, and even if I do not have the same classes as them, we still do a quick catch up at campus when we run into each other.
As I mentioned, I was sad the first two days here alone but then classes started and I had something to focus on. However, my first summer break came and I became very homesick because suddenly I had all this time but I had no clue what to do with it. I remember going into campus to use the gym and as a bonus, I got to chat with some of the staff there. They listened to me and understood how I was feeling, so they recommended beautiful places for me to visit, and that made me feel both seen and heard. Homesickness can still hit me and especially around Christmas and holidays in general, but today I do the best I can to try and find something that positively reminds me of home.
In the end, I do not regret moving and my friends back home are still there a phone or video call away. I might not be able to catch up with them or my family face to face often, but it makes it so much better when we do meet each other.
The best with moving where no one knows you? You can make your own reputation and become who you are without being judged for changing or finding small parts of your identity.