After her laptop broke in the Sydney airport in early January, University of Mississippi student Anna Howard of Marietta, Ga., felt as though her study trip to Australia this semester was off to a not-so-great start.
“I was going completely crazy without my connection to the outside world,” said Howard, who is enrolled at Macquarie University in Sydney.
However, good did come from not having her laptop for a short time.
“For one thing, it made me come out of my room, so I got to meet a lot of people,” Howard said.
The junior English major is taking courses in marine biology, philosophy, screenwriting and travel writing, which will count toward her UM degree. While there for 19 weeks, made possible through an exchange partnership sponsored by the UM Study Abroad Office, she also hopes to broaden her horizons and learn more about the Australian people.
“I hope to gain a different perspective on this part of the world,” she said. “What I know now is so small compared to the size of the world, and I truly hope to take in every part of the Australian culture that I can.”
Howard said she became easily acclimated to the Sydney lifestyle. Early on, she attended icebreaker parties, made many new Aussie friends and even learned to ride the waves at a weekend surf camp.
On recent 10-day spring break trip, she went bungee jumping, “which was completely insane but amazing,” she said. She also enjoyed white water rafting, scuba diving and sailing along the Great Barrier Reef. She concluded her “holiday” by spending several days in Tamworth, the music capital of Australia.
Since arriving in the country, she has been entertained by its unusual wildlife.
“Cockatoos and parrots are plentiful here, and they have magpies that have the most interesting call I have yet to discover,” she said. “I also got to see a kangaroo while on a weekend trip, a lot of them actually. They were so tame, they would just stand there and stare at you; I got as close as 5 feet away from one.”
Before she returns home the end of June, she expects that her study abroad will enhance her overall college education.
“I have the opportunity to take classes that I might not be able to at Ole Miss, and I am learning from others who are different from me,” she said. “I think that this experience will not only further my education, but it will also further my character through learning and growing outside of my comfort zone.”
Howard is slated to complete her undergraduate degree at UM in May 2011. After graduation, she plans to attend law school, and she also hopes to write fiction. A 2007 graduate of Lassiter High School in Marietta, Howard is the daughter of Heidi and Peter Howard.
Partnerships with international universities such as this one with Macquarie allow UM students to study in other countries for the same cost of tuition as studying on the Oxford campus.
For more information on UM Study Abroad, visit http://www.outreach.olemiss.edu/study_abroad/.