An initial challenge or shock that will absolutely turn into the best time ever June 17, 2016

By (Chemistry, Brandeis University) - abroad from 01/11/2016 to 04/28/2016 with

Boston University: Sydney - Sydney Internship Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
The internship was a great experience not only because I could put an internship overseas on my resume but because I met great people who love what they did and were all extremely welcoming of a foreign college student. Going abroad was absolutely worthwhile because Sydney became a second home and I wish all the time I was still there and I know I will have to go back.

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.

My biggest concern with the academic intensity was that depending on which class I took, I'd either be doing significantly more work or significantly less work than my friends in other classes. The academic intensity across all classes was not equal at all. Besides the lack of uniform rigor, the weeks where multiple essays from different classes overlapped were so intense that I'd spend the entire week on papers without being able to do any trips or activities in Sydney. However, this was counterbalanced by some weeks being more on the lax side when it so happened that no classes had an essay due that week. But, since there was so much work to be done in a short amount of time for each class, I was always kept busy with something.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Every member of the BU Sydney staff is incredibly accessible during their business hours and willing to answer any questions regarding academics or getting around and living in Sydney, etc. They are also very understanding in the personal challenges a student can face when living in a foreign country and feeling out of place and willing to arrange other academic accommodations if the speed is too much or if you get sick.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The housing was really nice, all rooms were singles and greatly appreciated. I felt that perhaps the housing lifestyle questions in order to pair each person with other people with similar habits (i.e. cleanliness, bedtimes, etc) were not very helpful as I was paired with other people who lived extremely differently from me. The housing itself though was really nice, especially because of the location in the Sydney CBD. Just watch out for the decency and understanding of your roommates.

* Food:

No cafeterias offered in the program, kitchens are provided. I personally thought the food in Australia was worse than in America, and sometimes it's hard to cook every single meal so you'll be ending up at McDonald's extremely often as it's right next door to the BU building. The only American food places in Australia are McDonald's, Subway, KFC, 7 Eleven, and Burger King (called Hungry Jack's), you will not recognize anything else! (including anything in the grocery stores)

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The internship portion of the program is extremely immersive in Australian culture and just commuting to work provides such a greater understanding of Sydney and getting around. The classes are all centered around Australia, so the classes provided a ton of insight into the country's culture and history.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

You were on your own for healthcare, it was difficult finding local places for when I got sick or had to get blood drawn for the internship paperwork. For medical emergencies outside of the 9-5 business hours, you had to figure out everything on your own as some of the RAs on call are just other students in the program and provided no help. If you have an internship in a health field, you could need to get vaccinations and bloodwork done and it's a bit of a mess, you have to keep returning to your General Practitioner (and mine was incredibly unhelpful).

* Safety:

In my experience, Sydney was extremely safe. Normally in America I'd have to worry about walking around late at night but in Sydney you don't get that feeling at all. The city is much safer and much cleaner than American cities.

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

Sydney is the greatest city I've ever been in and Australia is an amazing country, there is so much I wasn't able to do in just a few months.

Finances

* 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)

You'll want to do as many activities as possible to make the most of your time abroad, and activities cost money so be prepared for that. Since you have to buy all your food it can get decently costly. Luckily, the conversion rate from USD to AUD will most likely be in your favor and the amount you think you're paying is actually much less in USD.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Probably $100-$150 each week

Language

* 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

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
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?
  • The internship experience
  • Location - all the local beaches and activities
  • Meeting American friends from the Boston area that I can very easily keep in touch with and meet up with in the future
* What could be improved?
  • Roommate selection
  • Food
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? The beginning will initially be miserable as you are on the other side of the world in a totally foreign place with a 14-16 hour time difference from your friends and family. However, it quickly turns around and your time abroad feels like it goes by in an incredibly short amount of time.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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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.