Study abroad was often lonely and stressful, but worth it to travel Past Review

By (Brandeis University) - abroad from 07/12/2016 to 11/20/2016 with

Arcadia: Sydney - University of Sydney

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I further learned to trust myself as an independent adult, and I learned that traveling and living abroad can be lonely. I also learned that your attitude can make or break an experience. I got the chance to travel all over Australia by myself and with my sister, so it was worth the rough semester I had at Uni.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The research facilities and available resources were phenomenal both on campus and off, and the level of academic rigor was exceptionally high. I did not expect to work nearly as hard as I did- I often felt like I was missing out on time to explore Sydney because I was stuck in the library.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

They were friendly and always available, but were not often onor near campus. They gave me great advice on the many solo trips I took to backpack around Australia and New Zealand.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was unprepared for the type of dorm I would be living in and was not fully made aware of the sort of environment it was. I wish there had been a more comprehensive breakdown of the options and facilities and events/advantages each dorm offered.

* Food:

I cooked for myself

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Not very integrated, because most uni students in Sydney commute from home for classes so it was very hard to immerse myself and find people to go to events with who were not also studying abroad.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Our insurance was very easy to handle and enroll in, and making claims was a simple process. Our coverage was well-explained and comprehensive.

* Safety:

Sydney is a very safe city with lots of friendly people around (including random strangers who are willing to help out!). There are also lock-out laws at 1:30am which automatically end basically all partying. That's something I wish I'd been aware of before coming.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No

My program was full of kids from mainly one school, and they were pretty much all white, wealthy people from identical backgrounds who had no interest in the authentic Australian experience. They just wanted to do the tourist stuff.


* 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)

Sydney is a very very expensive city- food is pretty expansive and dining out exponentially more so. I took to cooking most every night, and towards the end I was still struggling to make my budget work so I could travel and explore the country.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $75 (including my weekly commute to and from my internship, which I had to pay for myself)
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Cook all you can and make brandeis pay for a meal plan. I wish I'd done that and I had many friends who did.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Other
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • excursions
  • program managers
  • N/a
* What could be improved?
  • More description of excursions prior to application
  • Better communication of what the experience will be like
  • More opportunities to meet Australians and make friends in Uni
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Australians do not have the typical College Experience the way Americans do. Most don't even bother to make friends in Uni- they just stick with their friends from high school.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.