The opportunity to study abroad inspired David Farland to look for someplace to explore some of his personal passions and the unique opportunity to surf for credit.
“I’m very outdoorsy,” he recalled. “I like the sun. I like nice weather. I just thought Australia was a nice fit.”
And then some. The semester the electrical engineering student spent in Queensland, Australia, was nothing less than a life-changing experience.
Farland, a native of Burlington, MA lived in an international dormitory in his time Down Under, sharing quarters with students from Switzerland, Sweden, Korea, Japan and the U.S.
“It was an awesome mix,” he said.
His coursework included environmental science and conservation, but it was an “outdoor pursuits” class that really impressed him. “Best class ever,” he said with a laugh, remembering his time spent surfing, canoeing and kayaking while earning legitimate college credit. He also went skydiving and bungee-jumping while overseas.
Finding a place in a global community
As fun as those experiences were, however, it was finding a place in a global community that meant the most to him. An Australian friend invited him and several other international students to his home for a meal.
“It felt like something that wouldn’t happen here,” he said, describing the hospitality and the experience of seeing how other countries view the U.S. and its culture. “It changed how I view our country.”
It also changed how he saw himself. When Farland returned to the U.S., he found he was a more engaged member of the campus community, and a more social person in general.
“Now I love meeting people,” said Farland, who graduated in May. “I didn’t realize how much I’d changed.”