Rowing, friends and life down under

Words Daisy Butterworth

As I come into my last month in Melbourne it’s easy for me to look back at my last 6 months and observe how much fun I've had, how much I’ve changed and the amazing people that I’ve met.

Before setting myself the challenge of moving to the other side of the world, I had no idea what to expect. Would the rowing be what I expected or would I be good enough? What are my flatmates going to be like? Will I cope living on my own? All of these worries turned out to be the best part of my trip.

Let’s start off with the reason I’m in Australia... rowing. Having been on the junior GB rowing team last summer I am a confident rower so the only questions I had for rowing in Australia was: will it challenge me enough or will I be able to keep up? I always knew I was going to have a gap year and always dreamt of coming to Australia so the Sport Lived programme combined everything I needed to prepare me for my future.

My rowing club, Mercantile have done nothing but challenge me, support me and make me into a better rower which is exactly what I needed to launch me into my next adventure rowing for an American university. Despite Aussies having a very different system and programme to the Brits it has given me an entirely different set of skills that I wouldn't have had without this opportunity. I have made amazing life-long friends at my club, travelling all over Victoria and even nationally, racing most weekends, I have had THE best time rowing at Mercantile (despite the early mornings:)) And it goes without mentioning that rowing in the sun without layers and layers of clothing on is definitely a bonus!

Living just outside the city is perfect. With the tram stopping outside our flats we are 15 minutes from the city where there is yummy food and amazing shops. Or we are a 2 minute walk away from Chapel street, one of the most popular streets in Melbourne, perfect for shopping, food and partying! Having our coordinators, Kathy and Jessie, we get insights into the best places to go and Kathy organises amazing socials. From surfing to sunset drinks, cricket games to bowling, we always have fun together and we can always count on them!

As you can see I’ve had a lot of fun in Oz but the best part of my adventure has been my flatmates. They are my best friends and definitely friends for life and it wouldn't have been the same without them. I will never forget the last 6 months and now I don’t want to go home!

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