Kayla Ritenour

“G’day mate how ya going?–Those are actually the first words I encountered upon entering the beautiful land down under, and surprisingly enough the words that stuck with me for the next 7 months of my life.

At the ripe age of 13 I was watching the discovery channel when suddenly it hit me, I wanted to go to Australia. That drive never left me and the amazing people I met there will never leave me either. I was never a world traveler and besides the surrounding east coast area and Florida, I had never ventured out on my own. It was a huge rewarding step in my life that has changed me for the better. Perth was everything I had expected it to be and more. As a small city on the West coast of Australia, it felt exactly like home. The sun shines every day, the weather is beautiful, palm trees litter the city, and it takes your breath away at sunset, when the sun sets on the bay that inlets into the city. The people are so very kind and everyone has encouraging words, which helps when you’re a lost traveler trying to find your way. A typical day of classes, sand, surfing, eating and going out on the town made me think that life couldn’t possibly get any better, that is until I went to class!

The University of Western Australia literally took my breath away (kind of the way PSU did) when I first entered it. There were peacocks just roaming around and everyone was so very dressed up and professors just sitting on the beach across the road talking to students. Australians cherish deeply their education and it is here I was met with diversity and challenge. The friends I made at uni(Aussie word for school) welcomed me with open arms and I still talk to them to this day. I can’t forget to mention the wonderful college I lived St. Thomas More College, where I met the Aussies and fellow study abroad students who still effect my life today.

As for traveling to the beautiful cities of Sydney and Melbourne and discovering the south Australia and the Pinnacles, I could honestly say this country is the most beautiful country in the world, bold statement I know, but there is nothing like it.I wish I could tell one great story, but there are just too many to count. Life is too short not expand your horizons and embrace the future. My favorite Aussie friend once told me, “You came all the way here to experience life outside yourself, and look what you found…who you really are.”

If there’s anything you’d like to ask me or would just like to talk about studying abroad feel free to email me ude.usp|5905rmk#ude.usp|5905rmk or stop by the Resource Room in Boucke!

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