Looking Back: My Experience in the Land Down Under

laura feeding kangaroos

Feeding kangaroos was a must do!

Isn’t it funny how one decision can completely change your views on life?

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about my study abroad in Australia, an opportunity given to all architecture students at Kansas State. It’s so hard to believe almost a year ago this month I was on a 14 hour flight to Brisbane, Australia!

To put it simply, between meeting new people to embracing a new culture and shaping my future career, the five months I spent attending the University of Australia were some of the best of my life.  

jess coaching sunny comp

Sunny Coast Competition with Jessica Pump coaching me

Architecture may have been one of the reasons I went to Australia, but the Aussies’ love for Kettlebell Sport was something I wanted to embrace as well. Coming to Australia my kettlebell sport experience had been limited to one competition and a minimal amount of coaching. Before I left for the Land Down Under, I did some research on different gyms and coaches in the area.

Looking back, I was just beginning to embark on my journey to become a kettlebell sport athlete and I was only just beginning to fall in love with the sport. It must have been fate because before too long I found myself training under Jessica Pumpa at Bootcamps Australia. She was passionate about the sport and quickly became a great friend, coach and mentor to me. She pushed me to compete as much as possible while I was there and believed in me as I moved from training long cycle to biathlon. She taught me how to correctly snatch a kettlebell and helped me to understand how important relaxation really is to mastering the sport. Because of her mentorship, a love affair with a cold round ball of metal began that I would not have found back in the States.

Laura Brisbane Comp

Brisbane Competition 16kg OALC

Over the course of a few months Jessica had converted an Olympic Weightlifter and CrossFit athlete to an avid kettlebell sport lover. Looking back on it, I know that if I had not had the opportunity to train under Jessica I would not be the athlete I am today and would not go to bed every night dreaming of being a member of the USA kettlebell sport national team. A spark had been lit inside me and now a year later it has become a raging fire.

Aside from studying and training I met some amazing friends in the land down under. I met people in my classes, in the kettlebell sport arena and people at the gym. Although these friendships are now thousands of miles away I still talk to a few special people on a regular basis and I feel very blessed to have had the chance to meet such amazing people. The most amazing part this experience taught me is that no matter where I move I will always be able to find amazing people who love and support me. 

me and jess

Just another training day with Jessica Pumpa

If nothing else I left Australia HAPPY — happy with my life, with myself and ready to take on the world!

I left Australia a much different person than when I had arrived. I had become a determined athlete, willing to push herself way past her comfort zone to make her dreams come true, and I became an even more passionate architecture student, excited to graduate in May 2015. I had become someone not afraid of moving away from my beloved family.

Follow me on Instagram or Twitter for more inspiring stories about my life!

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