Gold Coast Australia: Experiencing Abroad on the Beach! Past Review

By (Marketing, Bryant University) for

Arcadia: Queensland - Griffith University

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Studying abroad was the best thing I've ever done. I've lived in another country for a year before but this time it was different. I've definitely grown as a person and learned a ton about myself and the world. You get to see your own country from a different country's perspective and learn about the world from a different view. You can see how another country operates - government wise, airplane travel, customs, norms, etc. It was literally the best thing I've ever done. Being able to travel while I was there was amazing. Even though school isn't at the front of your mind like it always is at home, you learn more in these 5 months than you ever could in a classroom at home. I learned about people, other cultures and myself. I was incredibly rewarding and I would go back in a heartbeat!

Review Photos

Arcadia: Gold Coast - Griffith University Photo Arcadia: Gold Coast - Griffith University Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Compared to Bryant University, the workload is nothing. For each class you'll have a mid-term type exam, a paper and then a final and that is pretty much it. Each one of them are assigned weeks prior to the due date so if you want to travel, just get them done and you'll be golden. The grading is different in Australia, as the highest distinction you can achieve is an HD (equivalent to an A), next is a Distinction, then Credit, Pass and Fail. It is pretty difficult to fail, as passing is only 50 marks. It is easy to make your schedule with say, Mondays and Fridays off so you can have long weekends to travel. I would definitely recommend that because you always want more time anywhere you visit as every place is amazing. Steer away, unless you love philosophy, from Love Eros and Truth. It might sound like an interesting class, but that was honestly my only difficult one. Other than that, classes, workload and the university overall is not overwhelmingly difficult, but you still learn a lot!

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Arcadia University provides a Program Admin for your particular area of the country. Our go-to was Marion Findlay (Mazz as we call her) and she was incredibly helpful, kind and always there for any problem we had, or even if we just wanted to talk. During orientation they taught us all about Australian culture and things to watch out for, as well as things to take advantage of. The program was a pretty good size, only 8 attended Griffith Gold Coast, but over 80 that semester along the east coast. Expectations were met, minus the first day of arrival at Griffith Village where we were dropped off and were not told where anything was. It was a feeling of abandonment, but we soon realized that this is what we wanted with our experience here - to find our own way.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Housing was not quite what we expected. It was a 5-bedroom apartment with 2 bathrooms, a kitchen and common area. The floors were cement, walls were cement, so in the winter it was pretty cold. There was no oven, which we didn't even think of as we were signing up (only a microwave) and only one fridge for 5 strangers. Fortunately, I didn't have to buy any dishes or pots/pans because one of my roommates who arrived first did that (although Arcadia told us that they would provide cutlery as well as sheets/bedding). Bedding was provided, but it did not seem new or clean, so most of us went out and bought our own stuff. I believe you were able to choose whether or not you wanted to find your own housing or have Arcadia do it for you - I would chose my own if I did it again. Living in the village was great to meet people and its only a 5 minute walk to campus, but since it was cheaper living somewhere else and a lot nicer (with air conditioning), I would have moved. There was a grocery store within walking distance (10 minutes) or a bus ride, but nightlife was a bus or cab ride away (again why I would live elsewhere). To get to the bus, its about a 10-15 minute walk across campus, not bad unless it's raining. It was great to have friends with a car, but renting one for the day was easy too (to travel locally).

* Food:

Food was good, pretty close to what you find at home - besides kebabs, they'll change your life. Best place is Theo's Kebabs in Surfer's Paradise by Beergarden. You usually make your own food at home just because everything is more expensive in Australia. It's nice to go out to eat every once in a while, or for a date. Surfer's is where you'll find all the restaurants. Urban Burger is by the village though, and those are some amazing burgers. O'malley's by the beach is awesome for drinks after a day at the beach. The restaurant attached to Billy's Beach house is $7 fish and chips, which is great. Pancakes in paradise is delicious even after a long night out. You'll find your favorite places.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Trips done through the program are great to go on. You get a ride somewhere (you'll appreciate that) and someone can show you where to go. I went on a hiking day-trip to Mount Tambourine which included a wine tasting, picnic lunch and some shopping in a local town. It was a great day, just like the North Stradbroke Island trip was amazing. Definitely one of the best weekends that was planned by Arcadia. Almost any city you go to will have outdoor markets - the Rocks in Sydney, South Bank in Brisbane, etc. There's a festival in Surfer's that was like that too, we just happened upon it one day. There were bands playing, fireworks at night and all kinds of fun things. Australians are really friendly, I believe, but they see Americans/International students come and go all the time so just try to make an effort to be friends with them - they'll show you all kinds of cool places to go. Currumbin Rock Pools was awesome as well as Burleigh Heads and the surfing competitions at Coolangatta.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

The city was pretty safe. I never saw anything that scared me. At night cops are walking around because Australians tend to get really drunk and sometimes like to fight each other for fun - don't worry about that. We would all walk around the village at night with no problem - security was always on duty. One time I cut my hand with a knife pretty bad and the night manager at the office fixed me up and sent me on my way. The heath care center at school was alright too - a couple of my friends, along with myself, got a cold at some point (everyone does) and they just gave us antibiotics. It was different from home, just that they didn't really tell me what was wrong and I was in there for only a few minutes. But anytime you need it, you can call the heath center, make an appointment and it's all free (OHSC covers it I believe).

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Almost any type of student would benefit from this program. I would say maybe a marine bio major just because you're right near the beach, but all my friends were business majors and enjoyed it to the fullest. I would say definitely go to Griffith on the Gold Coast although I've heard Bond is great too. In visiting, I fell in love with Sydney and would definitely study there as well. If you're going to Griffith, try to live at the Meriton in Broadbeach (it's a 30 minute bus ride to school, but its cheaper and close to EVERYTHING), or an apartment in Surfer's Paradise. You must be adventurous - I assume one already is if they're studying in Australia - and willing to be outgoing and always up to do something.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Event Marketing and Sponsorship

Course Department: 2315HSL
Instructor: Kevin Filo
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This class was extremely interesting and relevant to me, being a marketing major and wanting to do events. The professor himself worked for the LiveStrong campaign and had much experience in what he was teaching. He was young and made the course relevant buy using YouTube videos and other social media to get his point across. It was difficult to create a marketing plan for an event by yourself, but the institution requires a certain percentage of your grade to be individual, so they had no choice. The other part, 2 exams and one sponsorship proposal. It was difficult but because it was so hands-on, you learn a lot just by trying it yourself.
Credit Transfer Issues: No
Course Name/Rating:

Australian History

Course Department: 2101HUM
Instructor: Johnathan Richards
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This was by far my favorite course. I was create to learn about the history of Australia, especially from a man that was so passionate about it. The course itself was interesting because he made it fairly laid-back (typical Australian). You only had to attend lecture, tutorial was only if you felt the need. Grades were based on 5 in-class quizzes that were taken after that specific lecture (you would take 10 quizzes and only count your best 5), the other 50% was based on a final exam essay in which you were allowed to pick any topic you were interested in learning.
Credit Transfer Issues: No
Course Name/Rating:

Love, Eros and Truth

Course Department: 2601HUM
Instructor: John Mandalios
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This course was my only difficult one at Griffith, mostly because of the way my mind works. Like every course at Griffith, you get out of it what you put into it. The professor made the course sort of difficult to understand, if philosophy isn't already hard enough to learn. You have two take home essays, one being the final exam and one in-class exam. This is what your grade consists of, along with attendance of tutorials.
Credit Transfer Issues: I have yet to have any credit transfer issues.
Course Name/Rating:

Business Communication

Course Department: 2008EHR
Instructor: Geoffrey Carter
Instruction Language: English
Comments: In the first class, you realize that this is a very basic business course, especially being a second semester junior at a college of business. Lectures are not so necessary to go to, but as all classes, you get out what you put in. The grades in this class consisted of one take home essay, a group presentation and an open-book final exam. You will learn about a wide range of business topics and you'll meet more students because of the group presentation (how I made Australian friends).
Credit Transfer Issues: I have yet to have any credit transfer issues.