Rakey Drammeh’14, Townsville, Australia, Fall 2012 — When I made the decision to study in Australia, I was nervous because I was the only student from Bates at my university. But when I got there, I found that not knowing anyone was the best way to met some of the nicest people I have ever met from all around the world. Being immersed with a diverse group of people helped me gain a better understanding of how life goes on in other countries. Having to be more open and social in my new environment helped me see and understand myself better. I grew in so many ways imaginable that when I got home, even my parents saw the difference. I was much more independent and free spirited, which even took me off guard. It was extremely hard to say good-bye to Australia, particularly to all the new friends that I made. I learned so much from each and every one of them in ways that I could not have at Bates. The experience also reassured me that I want to pursue research in the field of ecology when I graduate from Bates. The time I spent in Australia was the best learning experience I have ever had. I hope I have the opportunity to go back soon.