Original post date: 02 November

Today begins my last day of courses here at USC. My semester has flown by faster than I could have imagined. Currently I am a few hundred words away from completing my last assignment for my Introduction to Indigenous Studies Class. When I first entered into this course mid July, I had absolutely no previous knowledge about the Indigenous peoples of Australia. Now, as I leave this class behind me, I have discovered the history, heritage, and cultures of the people that have been a part of this country for thousands of years. Another one of my courses that is now competed was Sustainable Tourism. This class intrigued me based on the course name, but throughout this semester I have learned the benefits of eco tourism travel, and have attempted to incorporate what I have discovered into my travel plans for the rest of my life.

Living here in Australia has provided me with the opportunity to interact with a wide range of cultures. My roommates that I live with are from Canada and Germany, both of which have different customs and ways of life to the traditional American way. These past months the four of us have bonded in ways I could not have for seen. There were many nights of sharing recipes with each other, teaching one another new card games, and just discussing the current events that each of us had going on in our homes. Christoph, my German roommate, was very much in contact with his friends and family back home throughout his time here. He always had the most recent news updates about the events of the European Union, especially the troubles that have been happening in Greece. To hear a difference perspective and point of view on these topics was enlightening to me.

Another one of my good friends from Norway was deeply intrigued by daily world news. John would always provide me with interesting conversations during our coffee breaks from the library. I found out an interesting amount of facts about Norway that I had never known. Although I do have some ancestry from that part of the world, I never had learned about the political dimensions or traditional customs that the county has.

All in all, life in Australia has taught me about the rest of the world more than I had anticipated. I do have many friends who are local Australians of which I keep in touch with, but I found that the interactions with fellow foreign exchange students was equally, if not more uplifting, than merely meeting Australians.

Jaime Kamps-Duac is studying abroad at University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia.