USA Exchange STudent, Paige Billow, reflects on her time at Sancta
Degree: Bachelor of Music (Jazz Performance), University of Denver, Denver, Colorado
Arrived in Australia: July 2019
Departed Australia: December 2019
Road to Sancta
I chose Sydney because it is in such a beautiful and unique location, with beaches, mountains, city, and amazing wildlife right at the doorstep. I chose Sancta because I wanted to be a part of a community of people I could become friends with during my time abroad.
Differences between life in the United States of America and Australia?
I think generally Australian culture is a bit more laid back – everyone is not constantly rushing around with no time to relax or enjoy themselves.
Best things about Sydney
My favourite thing about Sydney was the easy access to both amazing nature and awesome city life. I love nature and wildlife yet found that the city had so many fun things to offer as well.
Best things about Sancta
My favourite thing about Sancta was that it is a community where you can find friends and meet new people. It is more than just a place where you live and sleep.
Standout memories of Sancta
My best memories of Sancta are the simple things like hanging out with friends and new people in the Dining Hall, Octa, and Grad House Rooftop. Enjoying each other’s company, and meeting so many people with different backgrounds was great.
Advice for future international students
My advice would be to pick somewhere to live that can be a community and a place to meet lifelong friends. I got way more out of my study abroad experience because I had that community of people with me.
If a tourist had 24 hours in your home city, what tips and advice would you give them?
I would suggest trying to experience as many different things the city (Park City, Utah) has to offer, not just one or two. Going for a hike in the morning, picking a good restaurant, seeing the town, and exploring the nightlife is all possible to fit into one day.
Moving forward from Sancta
My future plans are a little uncertain at the moment, especially with the global COVID-19 pandemic. I do know that I 100% want to come back to Australia and continue to explore the world.
Homesickness, culture shock and anxiety are common experiences for many international students. How did you manage this aspect of your experience?
I managed this by finding friends I had things in common with. Many were other international students feeling the same thing. Keeping in touch with family more often also helps.
If you could sum up Sancta in a few words, what would you say?
Community, fun, vibrant.
Message for current Sancta residents
Keep striving to make new connections, meet new people, and make new friends. Doing this at Sancta helped me have a really great experience.