Welcome Back! TRU Study Abroad Ambassador Matty Chillihitzia Shares Stories From Her Life Changing Experience In Australia

How Studying Abroad changed my life

Studying Abroad in Australia has changed my life in many ways one was being a part of a smoke ceremony with an Indigenous elder from Australia. After the ceremony he went around shaking hands welcoming them into the country. He stopped at me and asked me where I was from and then gave me a hug and said welcome sister from another country. I was so moved from his words that it was hard not to cry. At that moment, for the first time since I landed in Australia, I felt like I was home even though my real home was thousands of miles across the ocean.

The second moment that changed my life was when I stood up on my surf board for the first time. It took me almost a month of surfing every weekend for hours a day to stand up. When I did, feeling the wind in my face made me feel like I was on top of the world: nothing could go wrong. At that moment I accomplished one of my goals and felt like anything I set my mind to. No matter how many times I fell, I got up and tried harder the next time. Now, when I am having a hard time I think of that moment and think “I cannot give up”; so I keep pushing myself to do better and try harder.


Another way Studying Abroad has changed my life is the great people that I have meet when I was there. The friends that I made were my family way from home we traveled together, studied together, and fell in love with Australia together. We called ourselves International Love, we choose this name because everyone that was in the group were form all over the world (Germany, Sweden, Italy, Austria, and Canada).


The last way Studying Abroad has changed my life when I did a four day hike through a national park in Queensland, we walked at least 10km a day. We had the semester to plan our route and plan our food for the days we were hiking. It was the hardest, most challenging, best time of my life – I have never been through that experience before. I was getting blisters and my legs were getting sore from walking all day and I was getting annoyed by everyone. But at the end of the day we always had some good laughs from the day and we talked about the great scenery we saw. At the end of the trip everyone grew close together and I was so proud of myself for finishing the hike and never giving up.


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