Business Communication commences at UNC Charlotte. A week where I make new friends, eat my first corn dog and see snow for the very first time in my life. And this is just the first seven days.
Growing up, it had always been a dream of mine to study at College in the United States of America. A dream I never thought I would be able to live. Then one day, the heavens answered my prayers and AIM Overseas was introduced into my life.
I had first heard about AIM when I was in one of my lectures at university. It was day that began like any other:
- Wake up
- Drive to La Trobe University in Melbourne (where I am a student)
- Pretend to be interested in lectures
Then BOOM! AIM Overseas representatives walk into my class. That same moment the AIM students spoke, I had signed up for Business Communication and Negotiation Skills. This specific course appealed to me the most as I am a Media and Communications Student. Being in the Media and Communications industry requires a wide range of knowledge and skills such as leadership and the ability to network. This course was a no brainer for that education experience, it was just an ultimate bonus that it happened to be located in America.
It was not long afterwards that I had heard back from AIM, landed the interview and secured my spot. This was the moment where my dream became a reality. The course commenced in January and it was only September at this point. I had four months to save as much as I could to have the best experience. I picked up extra shifts at work (Manager at McDonalds), helped out around the house and stayed in most weekends in order not to waste potential spending money. This was hard work, nevertheless it has been worth it after experiencing this first week.
This was my first time travelling to any part of the United states, so I wasn’t too sure what to expect in regards to society, food, lifestyle and so on. I was going in with a blind eye all alone and spending it with people from all around the world whom I had never met before, and I have never been more eager. After a 14-hour flight, a five-hour break and another five-hour flight, I had finally made it to Charlotte, North Carolina. When I got into the taxi at Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT), the first thing the driver had said to me was “Ya’ll in College?” this is when I realised how different this was found to be from Melbourne. I was dropped off at our hotel the Drury Inn.
Day one and two mainly consisted of classes and getting to know those who you will be working with, where we would need to go on campus and out schedule for the week. UNC had my heart. It was so grand, icy cold and full of green sweat shirts. It was epic.
Day three and four is when I had woken up to snow, the first time I had ever seen it in my life. This was amazing that I even got to experience this, as it had not snowed in Charlotte in the last year! This did however effect the fact that school was cancelled due to the weather conditions, so all of us AIM students decided to roam freely exploring the icy streets of Charlotte, throwing snowballs and drinking hot chocolates. Believe it or not though, we actually all wanted to go to school and learn. Crazy right?
As the weekend approached, the AIM students were all taken around Charlotte to do the tourist things and see all the iconic places Charlotte was known for such as the Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte Motor Speedway and attending a Charlotte Hornets basketball game against Miami Heat (in which Miami Heat won by one point in the last 0.2 seconds)!
Just seven days has commenced and I have experienced and seen things for the first time in my life. North Carolina, it has been real.
"I've absolutely loved the program. The highlights for me were definitely the visits to the migrant shelters and getting to hear peoples' stories. I also had a fantastic time on the Night Walk, I loved that the whole community got involved and were so warm."
The experience of being in another country with a brand new group of people, yet juggling the study aspect proved to be so insightful and fun! The well-mannered structure of the program saw us get the most out of each week.