It was a cold winter day in 2014 when I first set my foot on Australian soil in Brisbane with a friend of mine. Coming to Brisbane to continue my study as a part of a double degree program from Universitas Indonesia, I came unprepared, without a place to live and lacking proper winter clothing. As expected, the blistering cold and rain soon froze my tropical skin. Initially, we stayed at a local motel for a few days, but it wasn’t long until we found a place to stay permanently. For the next one-and-a-half years we shared a house with housemates from all over the world: Canada, Norway, India, Saudi Arabia, Italy, and Australia. Being able to learn the differences between people from different cultural backgrounds was truly an amazing experience.
Not entirely convinced to take the bus at the time, I bought a bicycle to get myself around the city. I thought that cycling would be a good way to stay active and enjoy the surrounding scenery instead of taking and sitting on the bus. Being health-conscious, the next step for me was to join the nearest gym from where I lived, which was either the university gym or the local gym. Living quite far from the campus and closer to the latter, I decided to join the local gym. Apparently, the gym was also a good place to easily get to know and make friends with the locals who exercise regularly. It didn’t take long for me to realize that Australians are generally health-conscious, which explains a common sight of people jogging in the morning or afternoon, or even in the middle of the night. The healthy habit is supported by the government as they often provide a special cycling or running lane on the streets.
Moving on to the next part: my education. I went to the University of Queensland, one of the best universities in the country and the whole world. Externally, the university building itself might look old, but inside, it was equipped with modern, state-of-the-art education facilities, such as the latest computer, television, projector, and website system. Moreover, all of the content of the library was accessible online, which enabled you to study anywhere. Furthermore, the (mostly young) teaching staff were smart, friendly, educated, and always ready to assist you. Interestingly, I once had a project supervisor with a PhD who was only at his early 30’s. Overall, in my opinion, the university delivered what they promise and was most definitely worth the financial spending.
During my free time, more than just visiting the tourist attractions or commonly-visited places, I took the train to travel to uncommonly-visited places. In Brisbane, the Queensland railway line can take you up north to Sunshine Coast, up west to Ipswich, and down south to Varsity Lakes near the New South Wales border. Along the route I usually stopped at random stations and start exploring the nearby region. It’s a wonderful thing to do as you will always find interesting things, such as a historical spot, a cool café, or secluded beaches whose almost every corner is spot for a good picture. Being a history nerd myself, traveling to the suburbs that preserve all the old buildings felt like traveling back through time.
In conclusion, Australia offers everything that you expect as a place to study. I would recommend Australia to anyone pursuing higher education. You will experience a once in a lifetime journey by learning with people from various cultural backgrounds. You will enjoy and be influenced by its healthy lifestyle, delicious culinary, and beautiful sceneries. In your free time, you will be able to travel and have the time of your life. There are also plenty of festivals that you can join. All of those while studying in some of the best universities in the world. Hence, those are the reasons why I am going back next year to pursue my master degree. Because Australia is just a place to be.