Study Exchange in Brisbane

Alex Armstrong – BSc (Hons) International Hospitality and Tourism Management – Study Exchange in the University of Queensland

Hi, my name is Alex Armstrong and I’m an International Hospitality and Tourism Management Student who was fortunate enough to do my Study Year Abroad at the University of Queensland, in Brisbane, Australia.

Unfortunately, from the moment I left the comfort of my family home I seemed to find myself coming across a variety of problems. The main problem I faced however was suffering a serious knee injury which required major surgery little over a month after having arrived in Australia. Quite a daunting predicament as I’m sure you can imagine. Yet, when all around you seems to be going wrong, there is always hope to be found and my hope was in a woman I had briefly met on my second day in Australia named Vittoria. She practically adopted me whilst I was recovering from my injury; for which I am forever grateful. This demonstrated to me how important it is to expose yourself to new people and interact in a positive way with everybody you meet as you never know what they may end up meaning to you – in this case a lifelong friend.

Once I was back up on my feet and able to look after myself, I finished my exams for my first semester in Australia and proceeded to have my operation over the summer holiday period. Although an extremely tough time, I was lucky enough to make a full recovery thanks to the support of those around me and was now finally able to get back to making the most of my time in an amazing country! I visited a friend in Adelaide for a week and then proceeded on a 6-week trip along the east coast of Australia from Cairns all the way down to Sydney. I learnt so much and enjoyed every moment but a few highlights that stick out to me include earning my Open Water PADI scuba diving certificate on the Great Barrier Reef and seeing three giant green turtles on a night dive, Skydiving at Airlie Beach, visiting the Whitsunday Islands on a sailing boat and exploring the beautiful K’gari Island.

After I finished my backpacking trip, I started again with academic life for my second semester abroad. This time with more of an idea around how things worked. I was able to meet plenty of amazing international students from all parts of the world who I now consider friends and am eager to visit. I engaged in different societies which were offered such as the surf society which organised some really cool surf trips and started to get back into my high-performance swimming training with the Varsity Squad.   

Overall, from my study year abroad experience I have learnt to always give things time and that overcoming setbacks always holds rewards at the end. Alongside this, I found that embracing every opportunity to explore and engage with anything is the best way to find yourself having incredible and interesting experiences.   

I hope my shared experience highlights the personal and academic growth that can be achieved through perseverance and a willingness to engage with the opportunities presented to you during international study experiences.