A Cultural Melting Pot in Australia

Today’s blog post comes to us from API scholarship recipient & Husson University student Shannon Ripley! She studied abroad with us in Australia and is sharing her experience with us today.

Deciding which country would be best for my time abroad was the hardest, yet easiest part of my study abroad experience.

I wanted to have a cultural experience I could share with friends and family, a better understanding of the differences our world shares with others, but I also had always wanted to see Australia. I’ve dreamed of the Great Barrier Reef and seeing a kangaroo since I was a child, but I was worried their country was far too similar to my own. I decided the experience would just have to present itself, and API helped make sure this happened.

When I landed in Australia it looked as though I was on the East Coast of the U.S and the only noticeable difference was the accent. During my time abroad, I had my eyes opened to so many differences our very similar cultures shared.

API gave us the opportunity to experience traditional aboriginal dances, artwork, and history.

Their pride for the past was much more prominent than I had ever seen anywhere before. Australia, full of its own diversity, really has a whole different culture living within it. I learned over two thirds of the population isn’t Australian, and I became aware that even though the culture seemed so similar to home, I was living in a melting pot of many people from countries all over. It was a tourist destination dream, and a big attraction for people of the business world. The country had more diversity than I ever expected and their world was completely different than the one I grew up knowing. 

Great Barrier Reef

Many of the people I met abroad were not from Australia. Due to the high population of foreigners, I made friends with many people from the United States even though we were thousands of miles from home. The experience I gained abroad would not have been complete if it weren’t for the friends I have made here. Everyone that is willing to travel alone to a new country has a tendency to be spontaneous and finding people with I share these free spirited tendencies with was thrilling.

Shannon, Cydney, & Kelsie in a volcano in Bali, Indonesia

After only two weeks abroad, I made created a strong bond with two girls.

We decided if so many people from nearby cultures come here, why can’t we go there? We used our fall break to take on the adventure of backpacking through Southeast Asia, a culture that is almost the opposite of our own. We visited temples, learned their history, and experienced food out of our comfort zone.

But why stop there? We decided to keep it going and traveled throughout Australia and over to New Zealand. These experiences we shared together were unlike any other, and we learned so much about the world we live in and ourselves by expanding our trip abroad to even more diverse cultures. In just four short months, I managed to visit eight countries, meet tons of friends from around the world, and have the experience of a lifetime. 

Want to join us in Australia? Visit our website for more information!

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