Sydney, Australia: You'll Never Want to Leave Past Review

By (Elementary/Special Education, Providence College) for

Arcadia: Sydney - Macquarie University

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My experience was absolutely worthwhile. I gained a new understanding about Australian culture, and how it is both different from and similar to American culture. I've been able to gain new perspective on the world, and I've been able to go 10,000 miles away from home and still be able to make some of the best friends I've made in my life.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

At Macquarie you are expected to be a lot more independent with your studies than I was typically used to at home. Classes tend to be a lot bigger and there is less opportunity for professors and students to get to know each other, it is much more common for students to interact with their tutorial leaders. It is uncommon to go to a professor or a tutorial leader as often as I usually go at home, unless there is a significant issue students are expected to work out the material on their own. That being said, a professor's attitude varies from class to class. The smaller the class, the more involved the professor is with each student. Math and science lectures tend to be a lot larger, while subjects like English or history are smaller and more discussion-based. Be prepared to have only a two to three assignments in each class that add up to your final grade, most classes assign a paper or two then have a final exam to determine your grade. While this varies as well, it tends to be the norm. It's nice to be able to miss class when you want to travel, but at the same time it is important to keep up with the recordings of the lectures and not get stuck with all of it at the end of the semester. Academics are definitely different here from how they are at home, the more prepared you are for that change the easier it will be to adjust.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

My program's greatest strength is easily their orientation they provided. I felt well-prepared to dive into the new culture of my host country, and I felt that I had an advantage with all of the ways they prepared me. My program directors were always easily accessible if I needed anything or had any questions.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I would highly recommend Dunmore Lang College to any student deciding where to live at Macquarie University. It is located in an extremely safe area right outside the city, less than a minute walk away from a train station that takes you downtown. DLC is fully catered, so with a meal plan you don't need to buy any cookware. Pillows, and bedding are provided, once a week you trade your used sheets in for clean ones - no need to wash them yourself. Each room comes with a sink and vanity area with a mirror and cupboard space, as well as a closet, desk, bookcase, and cork board. Internet is included with your general housing bill, you are also guaranteed a free gym membership when you live at DLC. Most importantly the DLC community is extremely friendly and welcoming, DLC becomes your home and the people here become your family. There are always some study abroad students here, but the majority of the students living here are Australian, which gives you an amazing opportunity to dive right into Australian culture.

* Food:

Living at DLC I had a full meal plan, I was always happy with the food. There are usually two to three main options at each meal, but there is always a salad bar and sandwich station as well. DLC does a great job of giving you variety, nothing got repetitive or boring. Dinner might not be your favorite meal every night, but at a dining hall of course the meal can't always be individualized to your liking. The Macquarie Center, located about a three minute walk from DLC, has plenty of restaurants, a food court, and a grocery store as well.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Orientation week at DLC was a fantastic combination of getting-to-know-you activities, parties, and bonding. That was my first opportunity to explore Sydney, and I don't think I could ever get bored downtown. My other favorite experience was easily going to my Australian best friend's house over April break, we clicked instantly when we both arrived at DLC and she insisted I come to her house and stay with her and her family for part of break. At the end of my time there I didn't want to go, I had an amazing time and I was so lucky to be able to have that experience.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

The Macquarie campus is very safe, but it is important to be careful in the city. I would never go out alone at night or come home by myself, nor would I let any of my friends go on their own. My friends and I always made sure to look out for each other and stick together. I was lucky enough not to face any health issues, but before you leave it is important to make sure you get a full supply of any prescriptions that will last you for the entire semester, and possibly even a little past when you expect to get home.

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)

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Always keep an eye on the exchange rate, that was a killer this semester. I wanted to travel a lot, which was money well spent, but paying for everything at the rate of the Australian dollar was a shock. I would definitely advise creating a budget and sticking to it, you do not want to run out of money before you have to go home. I know a bunch of people who ended up deciding to get jobs here because of how much they found themselves spending.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
  • Local Students

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Orientation Process
  • Activities provided or suggested throughout the semester
* What could be improved?
  • More accessibility to connect with past students from the program
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Be open and outgoing - your time here is shorter than you think, so don't waste it being closed-minded or shy. At the end of the semester your biggest regrets will be the things you didn't do, so do it all. The type of student that will benefit most from this program is someone who is willing to put themselves out there and go a little past their comfort zone. At the end of the semester you'll wish you could stay longer - I made lifelong friends this semester who I can't believe I have to leave, but if you're not emotional at the end of your journey then you did something wrong.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Ethical Theory: Moral Selves and Others

Course Department: PHL225
Instructor: Mianna Lotz
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Dr. Lotz makes complicated philosophical ideas accessible to the whole class, she is incredibly knowledgeable and always well prepared. She is eager to hear what her students think and encourages us to push ourselves past our limits. Having already taken a fair bit of philosophy at home I felt well-prepared for the class, though prior knowledge is not necessarily required it is certainly recommended. Every topic we discussed was extremely interesting and could be related back to modern, real life examples.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Human Biology

Course Department: BIOL108
Instructor: Michael Gillings
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Though this is an introductory course I struggled to keep up with the material. Dr. Gillings is a fantastic lecturer, but he discusses broad topics that he expects his students to research on their own. I found that there was a lot of information you were expected to know that he did not necessarily cover in lecture, and I found myself having to teach myself a lot of material. As a non-science major who signed up for the class with the impression that you did not necessarily need significant prior knowledge of biology, I found the class challenging to keep up with.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Wolrd Musics

Course Department: MUS301
Instructor: Andrew Alter
Instruction Language: English
Comments: No prior knowledge of music is necessary, anyone can take this course and understand the lectures. There are continuous connections to the correlation between music and culture, in particular how the two influence the global culture.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Australian Literature

Course Department: ENGL205
Instructor: Toby Davidson
Instruction Language: English
Comments: ENGL205 is a fantastic course that uses modern literature with some combination of history to focus on one main question: what does is mean to be Australian? We try to identify the essence of "Australian-ness," discussing cultural identity and how it is formed in each book we read. A major focus of the class is the Aboriginal perspective on how Australian identity is defined, though we also look at the effects of immigration from outside Australia. This class has opened my eyes to issues I did not know enough about, and has given me new perspective into issues I thought I already completely understood. The assessment for this course is essentially based on two papers, being someone who prefers written assessment over exams I found this course to be a great fit.
Credit Transfer Issues: