Studying abroad: no one warns you about the tears!

Bachelor of International Studies student Sarah Levinson recently returned from a semester at the Universidad Adolfo Ibanez in Chile. Here she reflects on the challenges of exchange… and its ultimate rewards.

“Exchange was without a doubt the best experience of my life. But no one ever warns you about how hard it can be at the beginning.

I had wanted to do exchange my whole life, but I had no idea what to expect and the unknown scared me to death.

Sarah Chile 3I had never been more nervous in my life than I was boarding that plane alone. I had to go to the bathroom at least four times to cry my eyes out. On my first night in my apartment in Viña Del Mar I felt so alone and just cried.

It wasn’t my first time overseas and I wasn’t surprised or uncomfortable with the country itself. It was more about being alone in an unknown place.

Looking back, it really is the things that scare you that make you a better person and help you embrace every moment. This fear worked in my favour and forced me to make new friends that I know will now be lifelong friendships.

Sarah Chile 1

Exchange was no doubt the most adventurous, satisfying, and terrifying yet rewarding experience I have had. I would recommend it to absolutely everybody and would do it all over again in a heartbeat.”



Consider yourself a citizen of the world? The Bachelor of International Studies prepares you for an internationally focused career. You’ll spend  one or two semesters overseas to study the language, history and culture of your chosen country first-hand. You can also broaden your career options by combining with the Bachelor of Laws.