I have been studying in Melbourne, Australia now for 2 months now and it has been the most amazing experience! I have been participating in group assignments, group presentations and a group photo story. My course at home does not involve presentations or group work and so it is fun to experience something new. Also, this way of being assessed has boosted my grades so far, therefore it shows that different ways of teaching and assessing abroad can actually help your degree!
Aside from studying, I have managed to travel up the East Coast of Australia to Byron Bay, the Gold Coast and Noosa in my mid-semester break. A lot of other international and exchange students want to travel while they are here as well, so it is a great opportunity to travel in groups and make new friends. New Zealand and Bali are also close to Australia, so I am hoping to visit them too.
I have not yet felt homesick as I am so busy with work, sight-seeing and travelling that I never feel alone. Also, Skype and Facebook are a great way to keep in contact with people; I have managed to keep in contact with my friends and family at home regularly. Not only this, but the study abroad office at the University of Essex is always very quick to reply to emails about any queries you have whilst you are abroad and have always been very helpful.
From studying abroad, I have made some good friends from all over the world which is great because they have helped me learn about so many different cultures and languages. We are already planning to meet up next summer once we leave Australia!