The allure of travel and study abroad proved irresistible to Macquarie University fourth year student Anshul Potnis who recently returned from a student exchange in the United Kingdom.
Anshul Potnis is studying a Bachelor of Commerce with a Bachelor of Laws, majoring in economics and spent Session 1, 2014 at Lancaster University in Lancashire, UK. Here she tells us why she found this experience so rewarding.
“You Awriight?” This one-word greeting was possibly the hardest adjustment to make when I studied abroad at Lancaster University in Northern England.
My initial reaction was that people were enquiring about my health, but I quickly discovered that it was simply a cultural idiosyncrasy of my new home. Leaving Australia I was not sure what to expect, however, within a short time, I fell in love with England and its quirky cultural norms.
As my first time living out of home, I recognised that an exchange program would be a challenge, but I wanted to make the most of my experience and immerse myself both culturally and socially in my new surroundings. So, in the spirit of adopting the British way of life, I embraced the English religion – football – and cheered on Manchester United; made the most of my time in the beautiful countryside and hiked up trails for stunning views of the Lake District; celebrated the delicious national festival of Pancake Day with my flatmates, and even picked up some well-loved English slang.
Being on the other side of the world away from family was hard, but the friends I made and the experiences I had through travel and studying at Lancaster created some amazing memories and encouraged me to fully appreciate the exchange program.
I wanted to challenge myself and get involved with my new university so I signed up to play underwater hockey. Before joining the team, I knew very little about the sport however I was intrigued by the wild combination of sports in the title alone.
I dived right into the deep end and over several months of training, I learnt some new skills and forged some great friendships. As an added bonus, I contributed a little piece to history, playing in the 50th anniversary ‘War of the Roses’ tournament against long-time rivals, York University. It was incredibly special to don the iconic Lancastrian ‘red rose’ and play for my very own, home-away-from-home.
I loved my time on exchange and learnt a great deal about myself and about life in general. I’m glad to be known as an honorary Lancastrian and I dearly miss the cobblestone streets, the lifetime friends I made and hearing that exotic English accent. If anyone is thinking of going on exchange, I say, stop thinking about and do it! It will be one of the highlights of your university experience.
While studying at Macquarie University, students have access to a range of exchange programs to enhance their international expertise. Macquarie offers exchanges to over 150 partner universities in over 40 countries. International students from partner universities can also come on exchange to Macquarie University for one or two semesters.