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An international community

December 2, 2019 by Curtin CEL Team

An international community

Bob Berrios-Garza shares his experience as an international student studying at Curtin. This is part three of his story:

Something that I appreciate more than what Perth offers, is what student life at Curtin offers.

This is something that doesn’t show up on a brochure or a list on TripAdvisor, but in my opinion you cannot overlook this factor when making a decision about continuing your education in another country.

Going it alone
I went abroad without knowing anyone. This seems like a very trivial fact but, for most people in the United States, this is very rare.

Most people from the US, especially from my university, study abroad with a group of friends. This is obviously a good idea, as you are about to be thousands of miles from home in a foreign country you have never been to before. It’s good to have some familiar faces around you, and it’s an amazing opportunity to travel the world with your friends.

I was not afforded this opportunity, and it made me a tad bit nervous anticipating my abroad experience.

Student housing
When I got to Curtin, where I was placed at Erica Underwood House, I found out that this was not going to be a problem. I had three Australians in my flat, as well as a girl from Mauritius, and it was awesome to be exposed to people of different cultures right off the bat. I did get along with the students from other schools in the US, several of them becoming good friends. But I found myself drawn to people from different countries.

I made friends from Kenya, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, England, and just about every part of Western Australia. My closest friends throughout the semester were from Prague, Germany, and Greece respectively. And, while I am not the most outgoing person around new people, the community that surrounded me while at Curtin allowed me to step out of my comfort zone with ease.

You will always miss your friends from back home throughout the study abroad process, but here in Perth I made a new family. The social circle I built felt eerily familiar to the first semester of my freshman year of college at Tulane University except, instead of hanging out with kids from different states, I was playing sports or enjoying a beer with people from opposite sides of the globe, with a completely different life experiences and perspectives than I had.

The overall West Oz experience
Connecting with people with completely different life experiences helped me grow as a person and the forces that allow the international community to seemingly gel with the population of Australian students is a marvel to witness. It’s an opportunity that I highly doubt you will get the chance to experience anywhere else, and to top everything off, you get to submerge yourself in Australian culture.

In conclusion, Perth might not be at the top of your list when thinking of where to study abroad. But I think it’s an amazing place, and if you want to truly make the most out of a semester studying in another country, I would highly recommend giving Curtin a look.

Down Under is waiting, ready to welcome you with open arms and a big Aussie smile.

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