This time last year I embarked on the greatest adventure of my life. I made the decision to study abroad in the Midwestern State of Wisconsin. I had completed a high school exchange year in Wisconsin and knew it was always somewhere I would love to live if the opportunity arose.
Even though I had lived in Wisconsin before I was in a completely different part of the state that was three hours away from anyone I knew except for my roommate. Rachel and I had gone to high school together and when she heard I was moving back she asked if I wanted to be roommates. Knowing someone in the area I was living helped but there was still lots of times I had to do things and figure things out on my own. This was the most challenging part about living abroad. My experience was also very different from a lot of others. I made the decision to live off campus and buy myself a car, two things I don’t think many other exchange students do. This meant that I had to buy all my own furniture and transport it myself, things that aren’t easy when you have no family or friends to help. Little things like a flat battery in the first few weeks of my exchange meant rather than being able to call someone to jumpstart my car, I had to call my car insurance and pay them to come to my apartment and do it for me. But after the first few weeks of being a little lonely and wondering whether I had made the right decision, school started and my world completely changed.
I met some really great people within my course, started working on campus and joined the women’s rugby team. Americans love Australians and this made it super easy to make friends because everyone wants to show you everything and make sure you don’t miss a thing. This meant I was constantly going to sporting events, music events and concerts, travelling around the state seeing different cities and towns, eating different foods, celebrating different holidays and events and experiencing a year where all four seasons are very prominent.
If you don’t know where Wisconsin is, it is one of the most northern states that border Canada and Lake Michigan. It is home to the Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Brewers and The Milwaukee Bucks. Eau Claire, Wisconsin is on the western side of the state closer to Minnesota and The Twin Cities. This is where the Mall of America is, which is the biggest mall is the world with an amusement park inside. Eau Claire is such a beautiful little city in which about 65,000 people live. About 12,000 of those people are university students and the university part of town is exactly what you see in movies. The campus of UWEC is one of the most beautiful campuses I have been on. Whether it’s covered in snow in the winter or the leaves are falling in autumn, UWEC’s stunning architecture with a mixture of old and new buildings makes it a phenomenal campus to look at.
If you are considering the Midwest to study abroad I would say think no further. Every American experience you want to have living abroad will happen in the Midwest. The people who live in the Midwestern States are so incredibly kind and will go out of their way to make sure you have an experience where you don’t miss a thing.