Studying abroad, and traveling in general, has been difficult for college students because of COVID-19 regulations in international countries. Kayla Bailey (’17) has overcome these obstacles by being permitted to study abroad in Australia.
Two years ago, Bailey applied to study abroad in Australia but plans were canceled when the pandemic began. Being able to study abroad became more challenging for Bailey thereafter.
“The application process is not for those who lack resilience,” Bailey said.
Although the application process itself wasn’t difficult, the COVID-19 changing protocols prevented students from participating in study abroad programs.
“The reason that there [are] only four of us from America, three at my university and one at the University of Sydney [Australia], is because we applied much earlier than other people, [and] in my case two years in advance,” Bailey said.
Bailey is currently studying at the International College of Management Sydney, where her flexibility and completed application allowed Bailey to visit Australia. With COVID-19 restrictions vanishing, studying abroad in Australia will be more accessible.
Being able to travel throughout her career is something that Bailey wishes to incorporate into her future because, she said, maintaining her happiness can be found in keeping traveling in her life. Additionally, Bailey’s blog is an important aspect of her life that allows her to express her passions for cultures and travel.
“My degree [at Champlain College] is in marketing with a minor in international business, so perhaps I will work for the World Trade Organization or the European Union. Moving back to Ireland and working for the EU is my current dream, but who knows what life will bring. The number one thing I can say about the experience of the past six months abroad is that never in a million years did I see myself living the life I lead now,” Bailey said.
The most rewarding experience for Bailey has been meeting an online friend of 10 years in person for the first time. Visiting Australia became the desired destination for Bailey in order to meet her friend, Selina, face to face.
“I have a friend here who I met online when I was 13. We have been friends for 10 years but never met in person until now. She has been telling me about how great Sydney is, so I had to come see it for myself. I was also really interested in the wildlife here, so I wanted to see it first hand,” Bailey said.
From August 2021 through December, Bailey has been in Dublin, Ireland. Bailey will stay in Australia until May 7 and will move on to a new internship opportunity in Asia.
These upcoming travel opportunities are amazing new experiences Bailey is happy to have. After experiencing a lack of vacations and travel while growing up, visiting and exploring new places has brought joy to Bailey’s life.
“My parents are homebodies, so I did not travel much until becoming an adult. However, I think that this lack of travel made me more curious…Travel has made me more compassionate and understanding of those who are different from me. It has made me a stronger person. It has made me much more confident in my abilities and self. It is the best thing I have ever done,” Bailey said.
In response to advice for other students wishing to study abroad with COVID restrictions, Bailey said “Be patient, be persistent and do not lose hope. Almost all of my friends said that they wanted to study abroad at the beginning of college. Now that I am almost finished with my degree, I am the only one of my friends to study abroad during our college years. It has given me the knowledge and resilience that is indispensable to my degree and my life as a whole. It is worth the wait and heartache to be here.”
Bailey went on to add: “I think every person should leave their country and experience another culture with an open mind. You experience the best parts of humanity when you travel curiously and learn that your way of living is not necessarily the only way or the best way to live.”