"In July, I boarded a plane alone to Australia for my year abroad. I had shortlisted Australia, Canada and the USA as my options, but Australia was always my first choice. Having never lived in another country before I was apprehensive. I was looking forward to a year of sun and of course, studying. My time here has been more than I could’ve imagined.
I have been living on the Gold Coast in Queensland for over 10 months. My place in student accommodation means I have been able to make friends and find others on study abroad years. My host university, Griffith University, is ranked highly with 5 different campuses.
Through my time at Griffith university, I have been able to delve further into psychology. I have taken modules such as ‘Abnormal Psychology’ which provided me with an understanding of how to be a clinical psychologist. I also chose to study criminology modules. This will benefit me in relation to my dissertation which I will be writing next year, as this will have a Criminal Psychology element.
The most important module I have been able to study is Aboriginal History. I knew I wanted to understand the country I was living in, and this module has been an excellent way of doing that. This enabled me to create assessment pieces different from what I had done at Lancaster. Overall, my academic knowledge has grown to encourage me to think further about how culture and psychology are linked.
I also worked in a local theme park, operating rollercoasters. This enabled me to earn a wage and gain experience working with the public. Thanks to this, I had the opportunity to travel over the Christmas period. I was able to visit Tasmania, complete a hike in New Zealand and spend three weeks living with locals on tropical islands in Fiji. I will also be spending two weeks hiking through the Australian desert before flying home. My days off from university have mostly been spent at the beach or hiking. During my first term, I went on a camping trip to Byron Bay which was incredible. I have been lucky enough to see humpback whales, dolphins, snakes, turtles, sharks and sting rays. I also had the opportunity to compete at Griffith Uni events such as a trail half-marathon in Toohey Forest. This would not have been possible had I not chosen to study abroad.
I would highly recommend a study abroad year to anyone who wants to travel and develop independence. I also think this year has been beneficial to me in choosing which pathway I would like to follow with my psychology degree. I have been able to speak with more academics and learn extra content which has helped me decide which career idea to pursue. I am very grateful to Lancaster for this opportunity"
Holly Barnett, 4th year BSc Psychology (Study Abroad)