Exploring a naturally beautiful country Past Review

By (Trinity University) - abroad from 02/14/2016 to 06/24/2016 with

Arcadia: Wollongong - University of Wollongong

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I feel like my experience abroad brought out qualities in myself that seemed more hidden. I feel like I became much more independent and that I had better leadership. For example, I am usually not the leader or a trip planner. But I really wanted to go to this one city in order to do one of the things on my abroad bucket list. No one else I knew was going during our spring break so I asked around if anyone was interested, found plane tickets, found a hostel, found a diving company and set it all up for us to be able to go. It made me feel really good about myself that I had the motivation and power to plan the whole trip and be the leader for once. Overall the trip was definitely worth while and I would do it again.

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.

I felt like the academic rigor and intensity was definitely more intense and harder in Australia. For example their grading scale counts a 50% as a pass just because the grading is so much harder there. The readings were a lot for each class and even just 4 classes was a full load for me and the other Americans on my program. I feel like I learned how to give more effort and have more motivation for my school readings and assignments.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Since I was with a separate study abroad program, apart from just the university's that I was going to, I had a really supportive and helpful administrator from Arcadia that got really close with all of us and made sure we were doing okay and answered any questions we had about life in Australia.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I loved having my own separate room and bathroom in Marketview and sharing a communal kitchen. Having my own space to relax in but also seeing all my fellow roommates in the kitchen helped me meet people that I saw regularly but also do my own thing sometimes. We had RPL's similar to an American RM or RA that really made each floor feel like a community and Marketview in general did many events for the whole dorm to participate in.

* Food:

The food wasn't much of a surprise for me. There wasn't a lot of weird things that made me step outside of my box. I mostly went to a grocery store that I could walk to from my dorm and would buy meals that I cooked for myself similar to things I would cook in the U.S. They had different names for certain foods or didn't have some things I was used to in the US but made up for that by having things we definitely don't have in the US.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I became friends with a few Australians that I could ask many questions about their culture or opinions on. I went out to places in town with them and they showed me where certain helpful things were like the grocery store. I definitely feel like I became pretty comfortable there and came to find my way around things and it really did feel like I lived there, as opposed to feeling like I was out of place or only staying for a short time.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I got sick with a really bad flu while I was there in Australia. Marion Finlay from Arcadia Australia was the sweetest, personable, most helpful person ever. I called her number asking where I should go for healthcare to get treatment for my flu and she gave me a few options, looked up which location would be best for me to go to and even called the doctors office to ask about appointment openings. She texted me afterwards asking if everything went okay. When I had to get reimbursed for the doctor treatment with insurance she told me the process and exactly what to do. HTH worldwide was super simple to use and was a great insurance in my experience. The local healthcare system seemed similar to the one in the US for me. The doctor was nice, empathetic, not rude, she gave me medication to treat me. There was a pharmacy connected to the redi-clinic and the employees helped me get the medication. The antibiotics weren't that expensive which was nice. I did not need any vaccines specifically for this program. There weren't terrible health issues in my host city, I mostly just heard of coughs or colds, flus, etc. And mostly from Americans for that matter who were adjusting to the immunity there.

* Safety:

Overall my host city's safety was pretty good. I lived in like the main part of the town where most of the shops, stores, buildings were. Mine was a small town in general, compared to Sydney an hour away. There were some homeless people and some people that weren't totally put together that would hang out in the same spots in the city all the time. But I've seen similar things in downtown houston or san antonio too. I would get a little anxious walking alone at night from the train station but I just attempted to walk quickly, act normally, and look like I was minding my own business to avoid any confrontations with people. I saw two guys get into a fight one time in the middle of the street and another time a senior living there told me to not get on super early trains like at 5am because of past robberies. But again, overall, I did feel relatively safe there, especially during the day when there were more people around. Public transportation was extremely safe to me as well.

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

My program allowed all of the students in the program to meet up before we were thrown into our school environment. We met up early in a different city, got to know other students pretty well, and became comfortable with our program local leaders. It really helped me make connections with people that I would be spending the next 4 months with. I travelled later on with these people and went out in the city with them as well. I'm really grateful that I was able to meet people that were in the same situation I was before school started and especially that this program started off in a city that I may have never had the chance to visit if I hadn't when I did.


* 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)

On my overall trip I probably spent maybe 4000 dollars in personal expenses. This includes food, travelling, transportation, shopping. I was there about 17 weeks so that evens out to around 235 per week when divided evenly. Things were a little cheaper in Australia because the exchange rate held the US dollar a little more valuable than the AU one at the particular time I was there. But still, I bought plane tickets, had to pay for hostels on vacation, ate out, shopped, etc. so it did add up.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Once I started budgeting, i probably spent around 30 dollars on weekly expenses.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? You may have a lot of money to start off with, but start budgeting right away. Think about what you want to spend your money on more. Would you rather spend more on groceries and eating out weekly or budgeting on food and having that money later for a vacation away or a trip exploring elsewhere. At the beginning I bought lots of junk food every week. I realized it wasn't worth it and was draining my bank account when I wanted to do other things. I also lived pretty minimalist while I was there which I really loved. I didn't buy a lot of knick knacks, room decorations, or things that I wouldn't be able to take back with me on the plane. That helped.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • 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?
  • Early arrival/orientation
  • Program local leaders
  • Program-specific field trips
* What could be improved?
  • Making students aware about different electrical outlets!
  • Having scheduled program transportation to an airport for our end trip home
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That although it may seem easier to just stick with people from your home country in the program throughout the whole abroad experience still try hard to make close connections with the locals and international students not in your program.

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 Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Biological Psychology and Learning

Course Department: Psychology
Instructor: Stuart Johnstone
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This was my most challenging course while abroad. Johnstone was definitely well-prepared and knowledgeable. There was just so much content and material to cover that it was hard to keep up. The class was also my biggest, it had the most people in it, probably about 100 or 150. I was assessed with only 10 weekly quizzes which accounted for a small portion of my grade, one major lab report, and only one final cumulative exam that accounted for almost 50% of my overall grade. The fact that there weren't many assessments made it difficult too. Overall, this course taught me a lot and I did learn very useful information about the subject. But just be prepared to work and keep up on all the readings if you want to do really well.
Credit Transfer Issues: