Sure, I’m no Neil Armstrong, and my adventure *probably* doesn’t compare to man kind’s first steps on the Moon’s surface, but I like to use some extreme analogies now and again, so I’m going to run with it :) . It was the 16th of August, around 8pm. Student exchange to Japan had almost completely exited my mind as I was busy booking accommodation in Bali, online, for a few friends and myself for a post-exam holiday in late November. I had just entered my MasterCard number, pressed submit and a message appeared telling me I would receive e-mail confirmation shortly. “Awesome, finally”, I thought, as my friends and I had spent at least a few weeks looking for ideal accommodation in Kuta, so it was good to finally have some confirmation that we had secured that part of our holiday. I have been to Bali 6 or 7 times already, while the friends I will be going with have never been, so I am really looking forward to experiencing everything from an “its-my-first-time-in-Bali” perspective once again, and hopefully we will discover some new things about the island together where I otherwise wouldn’t by going with family who regularly travel to the region. I am also seeing it as a mini test for myself in preparation for student exchange, as I wont have any family members there to give me money when I need it or to organise things like transport and accommodation (if something goes wrong). Even if I don’t 100% pass this pre-exchange “independence” test, I will just treat it as a learning experience (as that’s all someone really can do), and I still expect the trip would be really fun nevertheless.

So as I started reminiscing about the Waterbom Park, Hard Rock Hotel/Cafe, the beaches, the Monkey Forest, the cruises, the water sports and other awesome things to do in Bali, I opened my e-mail in Windows Live Mail to check for new messages. Bali Hotel Accommodation: Check! New mail in my UWA e-mail account: hmm…Check! I didn’t really take much notice of the latter discovery as most of the messages my UWA e-mail receives lately are general news/notices from the Business School that gets sent to every Commerce or Economics student. Well, I seem to get triple the amount of e-mails that other Comm/Econ students receive, as for some reason I get every message sent to me *three* times…wait, sometimes I am lucky and only get each message twice. I have asked other students if the same happens to them but it seems I am the only one who gets spammed? :O Back to the point, I read the accommodation confirmation e-mail carefully to check that everything was correct, and then thought I would just quickly read through my UWA unread mail *because I had opened the e-mail program already*.
What went through my head as I read was a little something like this: “Business…Business…Business…Study Abroad…Busine…wait, reverseee, STUDY ABROAD?!” I was a little surprised to see an e-mail from the Study Abroad Office so soon, as they said that students who applied for exchange would be notified about the result in September. The title didn’t give much away, besides the fact that if you opened it you would almost certainly find out if your application was successful or a failure :O. Just like the time I went to check my TEE (University entrance exam) results online, I sat at the computer quietly for a few moments wondering if I should open the e-mail/page, or let life go on for a few more days without knowing the result just in case it isn’t what I had hoped for. Eventually, I decided to take the leap and open the e-mail…just like Neil Armstrong decided to risk everything to be the first to step foot on a lunar surface. Wow, this analogy seemed a lot more clever in my head haha…Anyway, I opened the e-mail…and just like when I looked at my TEE results, I looked away from the screen first after acknowledging that there was something written there. Actually, when I was checking my TEE result, I believe I put my hand in front of the screen and got someone else at home to look at it first…I didn’t go that far this time :P . As I looked back towards the screen, I didn’t really start to read the message in its entirety, but rather I searched for words that were positive…anything positive. As I scanned the screen my reaction to the e-mail went from tense to a mix of surprise, happiness and I believe even a little laughter…because I laugh all the time, possibly too much. Just like my TEE results got me into UWA, my application to the Study Abroad Office got me into UWA’s Student Exchange Program! My application was accepted :O :>! In that moment, my adventure to Japan in 2011 suddenly, unexpectedly became a lot more real. A crucial step in the application had now passed, and now my journey towards exchange can finally move forward with some actual certainty.

Dear Student,

Congratulations! I am very pleased to let you know that the UWA Student Exchange Selection Committee has approved your application for participation in the Student Exchange program.

You will be notified about your nominated university in the coming weeks…Allocation of universities to students is ongoing – please do not contact us about which university you have been allocated – we will contact you with application instructions as soon as we are able.

…From this point you should be checking your UWA email regularly.  We will only correspond with your UWA address.  Some students will be asked to complete host applications very soon, so failure to check your UWA email could result in you missing important deadlines.

In the meantime, if you do have any questions please do not hesitate to contact [us].

A formal letter advising you of this result will be sent to you very soon.

Congratulations again and now you can start planning for an exciting year ahead!

Kind Regards,

Study Abroad and Student Exchange Adviser

What’s next from here? As the above e-mail says, I now have to wait for my allocation of host university and then complete a whole new application to apply to study there. I would say I am about a third through the entire application process thus far. Really, until I have been accepted by a host university in Japan, my student exchange experience is still not guaranteed. However, being accepted into UWA’s Student Exchange program at least shows they support me going to Japan next year…and who says it has to be organised through an *official* exchange program? *hint* *nudge* :P Ok, UWA probably/does say that… but at least I have earned some more credit towards my “I will be going to Japan in 2011” attitude that I mentioned in my first post :>! I assume I wont be receiving any more details until at least half way through September, as being accepted into UWA’s Student Exchange program this month is quite ahead of schedule. However, I have heard of a UWA student being called about their first preference of host university for Japan, and being told that they may have to go to their second option instead. I haven’t received any call like this, or at all, so I hope that means my chances of getting allocated my first preference of host university, Kansai Gaidai, are quite favourable. Nonetheless, there *is* evidence that host universities are actively being allocated to students, so who knows when such details will be released…it may be sooner than I think if the timeliness of the previous acceptance notice is anything to go by, and if life continues to fly by as quickly as Semester 2 of University seems to be lately! Week 6 begins next week…I should really get started on some assignments that are starting to pile up… :O :P

exchangeacceptFB I wonder if people are “liking” that my application was approved, or “liking” the fact I will be leaving the country? haha :P For my sanity, I will assume the first choice is correct :)