Lucy Planet Donnelly – Theatre & Film – Level 3
La Trobe University, Australia
I was surprised at first at how easily I could pack a few bags and leave my friends and family behind for six months, but then I realised that it’s not the first time I’ve done this. In fact, I left my birth-country of Spain when I was eighteen to go and live in Edinburgh and it was the best decision of my life. Australia seemed special from so far away, I felt like I had to go there. For a few months before the start of my exchange I had some doubts, my life in Edinburgh was good, but still I felt the need to escape. I told myself that I would never forgive old Lucy if I didn’t go, and I was right.
My degree is in Theatre and Film and after this exchange, I couldn’t be more satisfied academically. The four modules I coursed at La Trobe University have been a blessing, my lecturers are truly inspiring people and I feel like I have learnt things that I would have never come across elsewhere in the world. My week began with Soundtracks in Films on Monday morning. I really love music, therefore, to be able to explore the introduction and effect of this medium into film was my pleasure. We started right from the beginning, Classical Hollywood cinema, and moved all the way into the present. Yes indeed, I had to write a bunch of essays but I actually enjoyed the research and the analysis, maybe I’m a nerd or maybe I just really love what I do. On Tuesday’s I had Musical Theatre, which had me acting and singing (something I definitely love, but had never really chosen to explore at QMU). My teacher Kim is a brilliant woman, incredibly knowledgeable and just loads of fun, I never knew I could be happy on Tuesday’s at 9am. On Thursday mornings I went to Exploring Spaces, taught by Rolando (same guy who taught soundtracks), and this module was by far the weirdest, but equally as impressive. I’d really require a whole thesis to explain what we learnt in this class, so just understand that it was a brilliant time, we used varied disciplines such as philosophy and psychology (my faves!) to analyse spaces in society, in films, in fine art… It was insightful to the extreme. And last but not least, I took the Writing for Performance class, one that I knew would be challenging since I know I don’t really like scriptwriting. But holy cow, what a remarkable experience, every single Thursday from 1 through to 4pm I was blown away. We read and ripped apart plays in class and I promise you that there was not a single day in which I didn’t feel like I had encountered a wonderful revelation. Damian was our teacher and he used the word ‘fascinating’ way too often but wow, now I understand why. He literally opened my eyes to things I would have never been able to see and I am so grateful for his guidance. However, I did struggle with the writing side of it myself and I don’t think I’ll ever be a playwright but, in my future professional life, I will be able to understand those who are masters of this craft, and it will allow me to work alongside playwrights with a deeper understanding of their art, isn’t that extraordinary? I think it is.
On the more social side of things, I understand how scary it can be to move somewhere and have to make new friends. Luckily, I had a travel companion from QMU who was going to be in La Trobe as well. Planning for it all from Edinburgh together was an advantage, it is always nice to know someone is going through the same thing as you, we had each-other for support and care. Arriving in Melbourne was exciting, the weather was great and the people in halls were lovely. I quickly realised that many other international students lived on campus, therefore it was easy to make new contacts and fit right in. We did some trips to the Great Ocean Road and Philip Island with all these other international students, and in my flat I met some friends for life. Some truly incredible individuals just showed up in my path by sheer luck, the universe is funny like that sometimes. There is no way to predict these encounters but rest assured, there are wonderful people everywhere you go. I will never forget any of the magical moments that I have been lucky to be present in.
All in all, I saw some unique scenery and wildlife, I met some really special people, I went to some awesome parties (stay away from the goon!), I enjoyed all my modules and I ate some schnitzels. And I mean, yeah, my cat died while I was away, I missed Edinburgh so much that it hurt and I got my heart broken, which really sucks. However, do I regret coming? Not at all. I am the kind of person who wants to live it all, I want my life to be a rollercoaster, I want to experience ecstasy and sadness, it is all part of life. Of course, I am stronger today and I have learnt so much about life it’s overwhelming. When you are on an exchange, your life isn’t on hold, it is actually evolving at a faster pace than you had ever imagined. If you don’t experience any type of hardship, then you might as well have stayed at home. I’m not trying to say that you should prepare yourself for disappointment, but rather that the disappointment you may suffer will prepare you for a future in which you are older and wiser, which is the ultimate goal in life… right?