Brownyn Brown – Australia
What I learned on exchange
1. Bring Uggs to Armidale – You will wear them all the time! Honestly, I brought shorts too. Don’t bring shorts; it’s way too cold to wear them, even in the dorms.
2. Stay in the Dorms – If your school has a dorm, take advantage of it. I didn’t have an exchange partner, so it made it way easier to make friends. Even if it gets tiring for you to socialize constantly, just do it. You’ll learn a lot of new things about yourself when you’re surrounded by people.
3. Live in the Moment – Try disconnecting from back home for a week, or even more. My Whatsapp stopped working two weeks before exchange ended. I only had Skype in the end, which I used to chat with my parents twice a week, because of the time difference. In a way, it was nice to be disconnected. I was able to focus on the people in Australia rather than the technology.
4. Use Dorm Time Wisely – You’re going to have a bunch of spare time. Download a bunch of movies before you go. Every weekend in the dorms, we would all get together and watch movies all day. Order out. Try the local food joints.
5. Socialize with other Exchanges – It’s always interesting to hear what others have to say. I learned South African slang, French sayings, and Omanian practices. French-British accents sound so cool. And it seemed like every South African is gorgeous. I also learned how to eat Indian food properly from the Omani.
6. Armidale Slang/Aussie words
- Bloody – Very
- It’s Alright – You’re welcome
- Barbie – Barbeque
- Bloke – Guy
- Bogan – A kind of hippie
- Rubber – eraser
- Joggers – Running Shoes
- Biscuit – Cookie
- Jumper – Sweater
- Tuning – Flirting
- Feral – Hippie
- Maccas – Mcdonalds
- Hungry Jack’s – Burger King
- Lollies – Candy
7. Homesickness will happen – And it happens often, depending on the person. You will get homesick. I thought I wasn’t going to become homesick, but it did happen. Every two weeks, I would wonder why I was on exchange, that maybe it was a mistake. I would begin to think that maybe I didn’t have any friends and being around dormies was completely pointless. It faded away after two days, at most.
8. Pack light – I packed four sweaters and two pairs of jeans. If you have uniforms, you barely need any clothes. It also helps with the weight of the bag. My bag was overweight (the airport guy made me pay for it too).
9. Prepare your speech on the plane – On the way to your exchange destination, you are really reflecting about what exchange will be like. It’s a long flight, so you might as well get some work done anyway.
10. GO GO GO on exchange – I cannot emphasize this enough. Even if you don’t want to go, GO. I didn’t want to go, but I loved it. Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, just go. It’s a great experience.
Bronwyn’s first post
When I arrived in Sydney, I didn’t realize how hectic the Sydney airport would be. There were more people than I had ever seen. From SFO to Sydney, Priya and me took a flight over with Arman (who we excitedly met).
The next day, we spent time in Chinatown (which was a tourist trap) and on the streets of Sydney. Then Priya went with her exchange partner to Canberra.
I took a plane to Armidale and was greeted by Mrs. T, who is the extremely nice exchange coordinator. When I reached the dorms, there were five other exchange students, who I’ve gotten to know well. They are from France, South Africa, and Oman. Each one of them has a very different personality, which leads to some funny group chats.
The other girls in the dorms seemed a little crazy at first, since they would scream at each other from across the hall. Now it just seems normal, even if they don’t scream as much.
The classes that I chose are Maths, Science, English, Textiles, Nutrition, Design & Tech, Zumba, and Health. Also, I have prep every night for two hours, which is where all of the boarders do their homework.
The school has uniforms, which I’m not used to. If you get a uniform violation, then you have to pick up rocks or clean the stables (which my roommate has endless horror stories about).
For the first three weeks, my exchange has been pretty exciting. I’ve been meeting all sorts of people from many different places, which is a great experience.