Salutations. This is Hawaii Pacific University Student Marsalles "Marcel" Williams, coming to you from the Land Down Under; Australia. I know this is pretty late, but its better late than never haha.
Like I said previously I am a current Junior at HPU who is majoring in History and Political Science. Although James Cook University, or JCU, is predominantly a science school, I still wanted to attend this school, as it would give me an idea on what the political system was like outside of the United States political fabric, and see for myself what it was like in another country. I also wanted to learn the History about Australia, as I personally know very little regarding its history.
As for studying abroad, I decided to attend James Cook University in "The City of Townsville," located in the State of Queensland, Australia. Originating from Los Angeles, California, I already lived thousands of miles away from home, coming to Australia was an ever bigger move not because of how far away it is from Hawaii and the mainland, however because its the first time I've ever lived in another country for so long.
Before adventuring out into the outback, I did some research on where I was going, I mean after all, I had never been to Australia before. I researched everything regarding the country of my destination; from what the people were like, to what the environment and weather was like. Once I received notification that I was eligible for the study abroad program was very much excited. however between the time I was accepted and the day I left, I got pretty nervous, mostly from things I saw on TV and online. for example I saw a youtube clip regarding the infamous "Australian Mega-Spider," I'm not going to lie, I flipped out. But I wasn't about to let some online sensation turning me around. I made a promise to myself that when I saw I'm going to something in the future, that I was going to stick to it, and that's just what I did.
Fortunately those fears eventually went away, as I was determined to go. I think hardest part of leaving was saying goodbye to my family, who escorted both my brother and I to the airport, and stayed until our plane left the ground. It was a fourteen and and half hour flight from L.A. to Brisbane, a flight I thought I wouldn't be able to handle, but since I slept the entire flight for some reason, it was almost as if it were only a few hours.
Almost immediately once my brother and myself arrived in Australia, I saw a complete difference between there and the States. for starters the Australian people are far more nicer than Americans. Both my parents and grandparent have been to the continent before and told me how wonderful it was and how kind the Australians were, however I wanted to find out for myself. Never before had I seen so many people who were incredibly nice, and i wasn't even in the country for an hour. what really amazed my was the weather. Australia's weather patter is the polar opposite from the northern half of the equator. In other words when its winter in the United States, it was summer in Australia, and boy was it summer. Imagine the hottest day in Hawaii, the double that, it was that humid. The animals however were the real attraction. There are so many nocturnal animals that venture out at night its amazing. My first night I stayed up listening to the Kookaburras, which was kind-of annoying but since I'm an International student, I regarded it as an experience.
Life at the University, or as they call it here the "Uni," the environment was much more fascinating. Much like HPU, you have people not only from Australia, however people from all over the world. I was quiet amazed the amount of African students attending JCU (I know that is difficult to understand, but you don't see that many black college student back in the States, so I just found that interesting). The James Cook University campus is also amazing because there are wild Kangaroos, Wallaby's, and "Wallaroos" that just roam the campus, ignoring the students and doing their own thing.
So far my life here in the Land Down Under has been, well... Just simply wonderful, I'm learning new things new thing every day, plus I'm really enjoying the social life here. Honestly I'm really glad I decided to travel out here, so I gain a better outlook of the world, and not the one I learn about online or from somewhere else. There will be many stories and lessons learned from my study abroad experience in the near future, but until next time, this is Marcel Williams coming to you from Townsville, Australia.