Hey Missouri State! Cody Vaughn here, reporting from the beautiful city of Sydney, Australia! I thought that it would be a good idea to share my experience with students back home at MSU while I’m still in the thick of it. I’ve spent a whole semester here starting in July, and I have just over a month left—however in terms of personal growth, I may as well have been here years! I have been extremely fortunate to be able to get the experience I have had here. I’ve enjoyed some of the perks I get at Missouri State here, like having a dining hall and living on campus, as well as some new things, like living with people from everywhere in the world and learning all about the culture of a fascinating new world. Australia is absolutely amazing, particularly all the people in it. One of the major things I will be taking home with me will be a more relaxed, happy attitude. The “no worries” mantra I hear all over Oz has really rubbed off on me, and I love it.
One suggestion I make to all students of MSU is to get out and explore. This could be in the form of studying abroad like I’m doing, or simply taking a holiday where you go out and see the world outside of the Midwestern U.S. I recently read a statistic that roughly 2/3 of Americans don’t even have a passport, and after finally going abroad and meeting others in the world, I finally see for myself just what a blinding effect this can have. Most Australians and otherwise that I have met are shocked that we don’t travel very far or very often, usually taking holidays in other areas of the states. If you have the chance —which if you’re a university student, you probably do – I implore you to GET OUT THERE. The world is awesome, full of things to learn and experience, and people to meet and bond with. One thing Missouri State urges us to apply to our learning is the ideals of public affairs. One of the ways they say you can do this is to be a more competent, globalised citizen. What a better way to become globalised than to actually travel around the globe?
While I’ve been away, I’ve had a unique experience in terms of being an Honors student. I’m very glad the Honors College prepared me for a higher academic standard because schooling runs quite a bit different overseas; I’ve noticed that in Australia things are much more based on independent study. At my school I was given a big reading packet for each class for the entire semester that I was supposed to read on my own for class each week. In most of my classes, nobody made me a schedule, reminded me to do my work this week, or gave me an assignment or quiz to check I had the material down. It all came down to massive finals and essay assessments at the end of the semester that usually made up more than a third of the grade. While this is different from my experience at MSU, the Honors College helped me prepare for that by putting me in an atmosphere that emphasized independent reading/study and prized a scholarly attitude. They also helped me work out a schedule in which I could take classes for transfer credit here and still graduate with Honors. While I’m technically not taking any Honors classes here, I’m not worried about eventually being able to graduate with an Honors degree because the Honors College helped me work out a plan for my whole time in college. If you’re looking into studying away, I recommend making a plan so you know when you have some wiggle room to put something like this amazing experience in, even if it means working a little harder in your not-so-free time. If you came in with even a tiny bit of transfer credit from high school (I had a pretty good amount so I had a semester or two free), then this especially applies to you. You CAN study abroad and still do the smart, honors thing. (In fact, you’ll probably become even smarter as a result.) So look into it—you won’t regret it! Well I’m off to wrestle a crocodile and knock koalas out of trees, so until next time… this is Cody Vaughn, signing off!