A study abroad opportunity was an unforgettable experience
Jaiden has lived in Darwin his entire life but has always been passionate about exploring and learning about the world. His interest stems from his heritage.
“Much of my perspective on life comes from my granny and grandma, who both lived extraordinary lives,” he says.
“Grandma was born in a remote north Indian village and went to schools in numerous countries and my granny was part of Australia’s stolen generation and experienced the northern part of Australia and it’s wildness.”
While education was never on Jaiden’s radar, a few conversations with friends after high school changed his mind. He realised this could open doors to change for him and others.
He applied to CDU to study his Bachelor of Arts double major in Global Humanities and Society and Culture, and hasn’t looked back.
“I’m now in my final year of study and contemplating the idea of doing my Masters of Emergency and Disaster Management,” he says.
Jaiden has always recognised the benefits of travel.
“Many life lessons and knowledge can be learnt through travelling,” he says. “From a short two-day trip from Darwin to Katherine to a year-long road trip down the Argentinian coast, these valuable and important adventures help you grow as a person.”
Jaiden notes that, for university students, the opportunity to experience travel through study abroad programs are not to be missed.
“Not only do the programs advance your knowledge of other cultures and the world around you; but they help you in your studies by widening perspective and gifting unforgettable first-hand knowledge.”
Studying abroad experience
Jaiden jumped at the opportunity to study abroad as part of his degree. Alongside six other CDU students, he spent a month at Anhui Normal University in Wuhu, China where he studied Mandarin and culture.
“The experiences I got studying in China were beyond my wildest dreams,” says Jaiden.
“Staying on campus at the international dormitory I made so many friends from so many different countries. We had different student events on with local and international students to build friendships that lit everyone’s smiles up.”
Jaiden loved and appreciated every second of his study abroad experience. But there were some stand out moments.
“After a while, I became more confident and comfortable travelling around by myself and experienced some truly unique adventures,” he says. “We went to Huangshan for a weekend to climb the famous Yellow Mountains.”
Making friends with the locals also led to some unexpected and wonderful opportunities.
“I was invited to dinner with some friends and after several hours of eating delicious food and yarning about life, I was in for a surprise,” he says.
“They asked if I’d like to join them on their business trip to Wuhu’s first ever 100 self-driving car tour to Anhui’s second largest mountain range, Jiuhuashan.”
For Jaiden this was an unforgettable weekend.
“It was amazing and involved probably one of my craziest experiences to date,” he says. “This was the opportunity to stand on stage and speak in front of about 200 people at the events banquet which was held in a beautiful resort at the foot of a huge mountain”
The experience was made even more memorable as it was entirely in Mandarin.
Jaiden’s time in China was split between study and socialising.
Language classes ran for a few hours a day. After this, students were free to explore the city and make friends.
“Going out shopping, playing pool at a pool hub, taking photos and shooting arrows at an indoor archery centre was awesome,” says Jaiden.
“Come the weekend we could travel to nearby cities by highspeed rail and stay overnight in hotels. Our first weekend we spent in Nanjing and explored the CBD lights at night, then during the day we went to Fuzimiao Confucius Temple, which was originally built 1034 CE.”
Returning to Darwin.
Studying abroad is an experience that Jaiden will never forget.
“Upon my return to Darwin, I haven’t been able to stop talking about my one-month study abroad,” he says. “I honestly think most of my friends are going to go to China now, even if it’s so that they don’t have to listen to me telling them to go there!”
So, what advice does Jaiden offer others considering studying abroad?
If you’re thinking about travelling but you’re unsure, there are plenty of ways to research and prepare yourself,” he says. “Most importantly, trust in your own abilities; take the plunge and have an awesome experience!”
A bright future
When he graduates, Jaiden is keen to use his experience and skills to help others improve their prospects.
“My goals in the future lie in developing strong relationships between people in remote areas of Northern Australia and people throughout South-East Asia, for a variety of opportunities,” he says.
“Expelling the control of the large companies in southern cities that often dictate these relationships and providing pathways for North Australian people to operate themselves.”
Learn more about our study abroad programs, contact us today.
Meet the CDU students seeing the world while they studyRead more about Meet the CDU students seeing the world while they study
Exciting adventures aside, research has shown that taking part in a learning abroad program could improve your career prospects, too. With generous funding opportunities, studying abroad may be more affordable than you might think.
Engineering abroad: Joel’s overseas study experienceRead more about Engineering abroad: Joel’s overseas study experience
Through the New Colombo Plan, Joel was given the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study abroad and complete overseas internships. The experience both improved his career prospects and gave him the chance to visit many Indo-Pacific nations.
Top tips for studying abroad in AsiaRead more about Top tips for studying abroad in Asia
Studying abroad in Asia is a great option because it's close to home and has strong business ties with Australia. These top tips – firsthand from CDU study abroad student, Joel – will help ensure your exchange goes as smoothly as possible.