Lenique Huggins

Class of 2021 - Global Health
University of New South Wales

Lenique at UNSW

What factors did you consider in selecting your study abroad program? 

My family is international and I love learning about new cultures, so getting an international educational experience was very important to me. However, as a premed student, I was concerned that I would be unable to have that experience while fulfilling all of my course requirements on time for graduation. Australia was one of the places that allowed me to take STEM classes in English. Ultimately, I chose Australia over other countries because it was geographically the most out of reach and somewhere I had only ever dreamed of visiting as a child. I wanted to use my study abroad experience to take advantage of the opportunity to travel somewhere I otherwise would not be able to. Furthermore, I sought out the University of New South Wales because it was unaffiliated with Duke classes and would encourage me to meet people outside of the Duke community during my time abroad. 

How did your merit scholarship impact your study abroad experience? 

My merit scholarship was the reason I was able to enjoy such an experience. Because I was blessed with the support of my scholarship, I had the privilege to choose my abroad program based on what seemed most ordinarily unattainable to me. I was able to explore Australia, live on campus, experience new foods, travel, and make new experiences, knowing I was supported financially. 

How were you able to build community during your time abroad? How did this community enhance your experience? 

I was able to find an incredible community of friends while living in Sydney, most of whom I am still in touch with. Many of these friends I met through my on-campus dorm, Colombo House. Many were from my community at Hillsong Church, which I joined and volunteered with while I was in Sydney. I also became close friends with other Duke students, some of whom I had not met before our study abroad experience. My time abroad would not have been nearly as meaningful without the community I built in Sydney. I found Aussie friends who taught me about Australian culture, showed me the must-sees, and had me transitioned into Sydney life before I even realized. I found friends from other countries who taught me their cultures and explored the things Australia had to offer alongside me. I found Duke friends who provided all the comfort of a home away from home. The friends I made were hands down the most important takeaway from my time abroad because these relationships have lasted far beyond the confines of a semester. 

What is a favorite memory from your time abroad? 

One of my favorite days abroad was when I went to Luna Park with a big group of friends from Colombo House, my on-campus dorm. Throughout the semester, the Colombo house council would award subsidies for events in Sydney to the first 10-15 people to respond. Luna Park is a well-known amusement park in Sydney, so friends with and without subsidies showed out. It was a night of pure, kid-like joy at an amusement park across the water from the Harbor Bridge and Sydney Opera House. From friends falling down in the haunted house, shouting Disney songs from the tallest ride, and riding the ferry on the way back, it was an unforgettable experience. 

What advice do you have for Duke students who are considering studying away? 

Take advantage of as much as possible, meet new people, understand new cultures, and be sensible and safe. Form relationships with the Duke students you are with but do not make them the focus of your trip. Try to step outside of your comfort zone by forming friendships with people living in your host country and remember what a great opportunity it is to be abroad. 


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