Primary PE and Sports Coaching student Lottie Meeson spent a semester at Notre Dame University in Australia last year. She's now hoping to emigrate to Australia next year after completing her PGCE and qualifying as a teacher.
We caught up with Lottie to find out more about her experience, and to ask her advice for anyone thinking about studying abroad…
What made you want to study abroad, and why did you chose Notre Dame in Australia?
I saw the study abroad opportunity advertised and researched my options. I had always wanted to go to Australia and before I knew it I had flights booked – including flights to Fiji first to travel the Fijian islands and volunteer in teaching out there, before heading to Australia!
Notre Dame in Fremantle stood out to me because of the destination being so convenient to the town centre of Freo and being right next to the beach! Even better when I arrived there as it turns out that the main train and bus station is a 500m walk from the accommodation and very cheap and easy to get around.
What did you enjoy most about studying abroad?
There were loads of things I enjoyed about studying abroad; the list is endless!
- The independence of figuring out the surroundings of a completely new place and getting involved in the different culture
- Memories which will last a lifetime – even if one of them was running over a kangaroo in the outback in our hired campervan…
- The friends I have made all from around the world which I am still in contact with today and planning on meeting with some throughout the year at various destinations
- Swimming with whale sharks, dolphins, turtles, manta rays and reef sharks
- Getting close up with the koala bears, emus and kangaroos
- Australian Rules Football and surfing
- Meeting so many nice people from all different background
- The weather! (And the beach on the doorstep of Notre Dame!)
- Studying a variety of topics
So study abroad is definitely about more than studying then…what else did you do?
When I completed my exams I flew out to Sydney with two friends and saw the iconic Opera House, Harbour Bridge and the Blue Mountains, then with one other friend we flew out to New Zealand, hired a campervan and drove around the whole South Island visiting many beautiful places. After two weeks there I flew back alone to Brisbane to stay with friends there that I made along the way and again down in Adelaide and travelled these places with friends from both Fiji and study abroad.
What did you learn during your time abroad?
I gained valuable life skills from studying abroad. I was able to approach what were strangers and make lifelong friends, communicate to those with limited English Language and live independently away from familiar comfort zones.
Studying abroad ultimately boosted my confidence – not just in travelling but within myself – to make new friends, live in a different country and experience the Aussie culture.
What are your plans now that you're back?
After studying abroad I have decided to emigrate to Australia once I graduate from my PGCE in summer 2020 because the lifestyle there is much better and there are loads of different job opportunities out there. However I couldn't have made the decision without the fantastic opportunity of studying abroad at Notre Dame.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking about studying abroad?
If you are looking for a chance to travel or see any other country I would highly recommend doing it now with the support of Leeds Trinity University behind you. I always had someone to speak to and get in contact with while I was away, my personal tutor and previous lecturers included. The scholarship was also made available to me of £1,500 which helped contribute towards my travel costs as well as an extra travel grant from Student Finance – if you ask they will help where they can.
I left my part time job to go and it was offered back to me just before coming home because studying abroad is a highly recognised thing to do.
It is an opportunity that not everyone gets and you will not look back on it!
I would not doubt any thoughts you have on going to study abroad. Any questions you have, someone will be able to answer them for you.
Leeds Trinity actively encourages students to spend time studying abroad. You'll get the opportunity to make new friends, develop new skills and have life-changing experiences. Most students can study for a semester in their second year and all student can study abroad for a full year in their third year, on successful completion of level 4 and 5. There are also short-term study abroad options available to all students.