Lucia (Lucy) Burzynski
Major: Kinesiology and Health
Minor/option/emphasis: Exercise Science Option; Psychology Minor
Hometown, State: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Type of experience: Exchange
Experience: A Semester in Australia - Deakin University
Experience website: https://isuabroad.iastate.edu/index.cfm?FuseAction=Programs.ViewProgram&Program_ID=129
Studying abroad at Deakin has, by far, been the best choice I have made at Iowa State. I was able to get a quality education within my major while also traveling the world. Being on my own on this adventure helped me to grow personally while also continuing to work towards my degree from ISU. I made lifelong friends, learned a lot about myself and the world, gained self-confidence, and experienced some once-in-a-lifetime things.
I first learned about ISU's relationship with Deakin on the CHS Study Abroad website. In the past, Kinesiology students have studied abroad at Deakin and successfully got credit for doing so. I knew that being in my junior year now I needed to take high-level kinesiology classes, not just humanities and electives. I ultimately chose Deakin because they offered a number of classes essentially equivalent to classes in ISU's kinesiology department. Plus, I found Australia super interesting and intriguing without being too intimidating.
An impact to my life...
This experience has changed my life for the better. It was a huge period of growth for me personally because navigating Australia and Deakin alone forced me to mature and take control of my life. It has fueled my desire to travel and given me the confidence to do so. It has also given me a network of friends across the globe. And as far as my future career goes, it has showed me that there are options outside the USA for me to get involved with inner-city health in the way I hope to.
My most valuable learning experience...
While studying abroad, I had planned a trip to Sydney for myself. I ended up missing my flight back to school because I had the dates screwed up in my head. At first this was an overwhelming and stressful experience for me, but ultimately I learned some important things about travel and life. I learned to always leave space for mistakes in travel. More importantly, I learned that in life, sometimes things happen and it gets to the point where there is nothing more you can do besides be kind to yourself, look for a solution, and prevent future problems.
I will never forget...
I had a lot of memorable moments in Australia, but the first to come to mind is an intimate night I had with my roommates. I got lucky enough to live with amazing roommates from Australia, Italy, Japan, Cambodia, and Malaysia. Before the semester ended I remember us all going out to dinner to celebrate our time together. One thing led to another and we ended up buying matching pajama sets from K-mart. Then, we went home, put on our pjs, and had a fashion show and photoshoot together. The relationships I have with those girls are truly life changing. That night reminds me of how they let me be my full, authentic self.
A surprising discovery...
I think growing up and living in America, we often don't realize how little we know about the rest of the world. I was shocked at how in-touch with American politics, pop culture, etc all my international friends were and how ignorant I was as to what was going on in most of the world. American culture and news has a way of globally holding relevance, so I think it's important for me to take a more deliberate effort to expand my knowledge beyond our borders. Moving forward in my life I intend to consider global perspectives and experiences in everything I face.
Advice for others...
For those who have the means and infrastructure to do so, I would fully recommend studying abroad. I would advise anyone seeking out an experience such as mine to say "yes." Say "yes" to more opportunities than you say "no" to because you never know which situations are truly once-in-a-lifetime. So much of what I did was wildly outside of my comfort zone, but I couldn't be more grateful for every choice I made that made my experience what it was.