A world for Diana

Diana Mezanec is in the third year of an integrated Masters degree in Geography. Diana is originally from Lithuania, but moved to Ireland when she was eight years old. As part of her degree, she has spent a year studying at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia

Why did you decide to spend a year studying abroad?

I’ve always had a passion for travelling, so I always knew that I wanted to spend a year studying abroad. When choosing universities for my UCAS application, Lancaster stood out as it offered a year abroad as well as a four-year integrated Masters. The opportunity Lancaster gave me was once in a lifetime, not only to study abroad but also to experience a different culture.

What did you learn from your experience?

I learned so much regarding other cultures in Australia and all the countries I travelled visited. But, it’s the experience I gained in learning about myself that truly stands out.

What were the most memorable experiences?

Where do I start? When studying abroad, I think it is important to put yourself out there. During my first semester, I decided to join the Boardriders Society, where I had the chance the learn how to surf and participate in Surf Camps, which were very fun. It wouldn’t be study abroad in Australia if you didn’t surf!

I was able to travel all around Australia meeting friends, as well as visiting New Zealand, Fiji and many more countries across South East Asia. During my solo travelling, I experienced some crazy things I wouldn’t have even imagined myself doing, like bungee jumping, and became engrossed in other cultures.

Even after I finished my year at Monash University, I took the opportunity to work for a passionate team, fundraising for amazing Australian charities, such as Fred Hollows Foundation and The Royal Flying Doctor Service. This job allowed me to further explore Melbourne as well as other states across Australia and meet some amazing people, who I still stay in touch with. It was an unbelievable experience I will cherish forever.

Did the experience live up to your expectations?

It exceeded them. It became a part of my life I will never forget. I am very lucky to have had these experiences.

How did the experience benefit your degree and your future prospects?

Being a Geography student, I feel that experiencing what you learn is very important. While studying abroad, I was able to carry out fieldwork in arid environments (which aren’t present in England) and learn more about Australia as a whole. I was able to study modules, which furthered my knowledge and having this opportunity to experience what I was learning about only helped me. My all-time dream is to work in an environment that would allow me to travel around the globe. Studying in Australia gave me the confidence to pursue that dream. The experience also gave me an opportunity to make lifelong connections.

What advice would you give to new students considering a trip?

Just do it! It was the best year of my life. You will meet so many amazing people from all around the world, so you have nothing to be scared of! Put yourself out there and you’ll have an unforgettable time – I couldn’t imagine not doing a year abroad.

Is there anything else you want to say about your study abroad experience?

Even if you decide not to study abroad, you should still consider vacation travel, organised by the Global Experiences Department. I participated in the Psychology and Well-being Programme at Sunway University, in Malaysia, a two-week inter-cultural exchange programme. I learned about psychology, health and well-being in Malaysia, as well as engaging with NGOs, and psychiatric hospitals. As well as exploring Malaysia, I learned about Malay, Chinese and Indian cultures. I loved it so much I decided to come back. It was an overall amazing experience where I made lifelong friends.

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