I love travelling. I had already visited quite a few countries before attending the ZHAW, and when I learned that we had the chance to study abroad for one semester during our Bachelor in Applied Languages I was very enthusiastic. It is something that influenced my decision to study at the ZHAW.

by Nadia Boubrahimi, graduate Bachelor’s degree programme Applied Languages

I chose to go to Australia during the fifth semester for various reasons. First of all, I had never been there before. Secondly, I wanted to improve my English skills. Lastly, I dreamt of living in a warm country on a coast and being able to go to the beach as often as I wished. In addition, in the land down under, the semester dates are very different. I would study from August to November, which gave me a semester break of over three months to travel before starting my last semester back in Winterthur.

When I arrived in the Murdoch University village in mid-July, it was a disaster. I was completely jetlagged. Also, I saw my surfing, beach life expectations immediately die because the weather was miserable and freezing. I wondered if I had done the right thing since I had just left behind a beautiful Swiss summer and found myself in a wet, cold, dark and gloomy Australian winter instead.

The situation gradually improved over the following weeks. Even though my studies, job and social life in Perth were quite busy and I struggled to find a balance between my duties and fun, I was already planning to follow the sun somewhere else. During the semester, the university’s association for exchange students organised two fantastic camping trips to discover Western Australia and get off the beaten path. I joined the northwest and southwest trips. I also spent a week in Bali, a typical destination for Australian tourists, with some of my new university friends.

At the end of the semester, I started the real adventure with some of my new international friends. I worked on a paid translation document in Melbourne and afterwards went on a road trip in Tasmania. I attended a yoga retreat in New Zealand and enjoyed Australia day in Sydney. We had a barbecue on the famous Coogee beach, ate kangaroo and watched the fireworks from the opera house. Finally, after two months of travelling, I flew back to Perth to enjoy a few last weeks of beach and sun during the authentic and sweltering Australian summer. By the end of my travels, my expectations of Australia were more than fulfilled.

Plenty of outdoor activities, such as surfing, trapeze flying, snorkelling, camping, biking, kayaking, hiking and climbing, fulfilled my sense of adventure. Sometimes these activities were enjoyed in nice weather, sometimes fighting against the wind, rain or even snow. I received a good dose of adrenaline and discovered the natural environment and unique native animals in a fun and authentic way.

Even if it wasn’t always easy, this semester abroad gave me the chance to make new friends from all over the world, discover breathtaking places and have a memorable experience.

You can find more blog posts about students’ adventures on their semester abroad with the ZHAW here.

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