BU in Sydney - The All-Around Time of My Life Past Review

By (Journalism, Boston University) for

Boston University: Sydney - Sydney Internship Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Yes! You just achieve a whole other level of independence by living abroad, especially if you go without your usual group of friends from home. It's a rare opportunity to travel to another part of the world and really immerse yourself in a different culture.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The course offerings were diverse, and the workload very manageable. The Sydney staff definitely wanted to us to be able to go out and experience being abroad rather than being stuck inside doing work. The grading was very easy, especially compared to courses back at BU, but they were still interesting classes and I definitely learned a ton about Australian culture. The internship component of the academic program was definitely the best part - I got unparalleled experience working at a magazine and the BU Sydney staff was incredibly supportive throughout the internship process.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The BU Sydney staff were all very supportive and interested in making our all-around experience a great one, including academics, internships, travel, and day-to-day living in Sydney. The majority of the staff are local Australians, except a few BU alumni who did the Sydney program as undergrads and moved there afterwards. The program was large (about 125 students), but I liked it that way, plus there were a lot of non-BU students so it was fun to have some variety.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

We were in a Unilodge - an apartment building geared to be for students, as it's located right near the University of Sydney. It was kind of dirty and loud, like a typical American dorm, and the kitchens were far away and laundry rooms kind of gross. The location was awesome though - close to the BU building, the main street through Sydney, and several great neighborhoods (Glebe, Newtown) with bars, restaurants, etc. Right across from a mall with a grocery store and around the corner from a bus stop.

* Food:

Tons of great take-out places right around Unilodge and the BU building, across the street from Broadway Cafe (great brunch food) and a Cole's grocery store. Food in Australia is generally pretty expensive, but so many awesome Asian- and Australian-inspired restaurants.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Big enough program to meet a ton of people; great advice from the staff on exploring Sydney, traveling in Australia, and the best places to meet Australians. Sydney is an incredibly fun and lively city with so many different neighborhoods/events to explore. The program organized orientation activities like a roof BBQ and harbor cruise, a 4-day trip to Melbourne, and an end-of-semester banquet plus bimonthly group excursions to events/places around Sydney (Taronga Zoo, cliff walks along the beaches, market shopping days, etc.) Everyone lives in the same building so it's easy to hang out with everyone.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Coming from a city school in the states, living in Sydney didn't feel much different to me safety-wise. The staff emphasized the usual street-smarts, but Sydney really is a safe city. I never felt threatened or like I was in a sketchy situation walking around at night. Student health wasn't particularly emphasized, and I never had an issue while I was there, but the staff made it clear they were there to talk to about anything so I assume they would have been helpful.

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

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? It's a fantastic way to gain hands-on internship experience in your career field while living abroad. It's a win-win. As long as you are proactive about getting out and exploring the city and Australia as a whole, it really is a perfect abroad program.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Australian Culture & Society

Course Department: CAS AN368
Instructor: Mark Connellan
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This is the one required course for everyone on the program. The readings were a drag, and we were never really tested on most of them. Mark's lectures were interesting though, if sometimes a little unfocused. The walking tour of Sydney and the 4-day trip to Melbourne were both fantastic and a great chance to research an aspect of Australian culture that really interested us. The 2-week "modules" were kind of bad though - I did Australian Sport Culture and it was completely pointless.
Credit Transfer Issues: No - I go to BU so credits were a given.
Course Name/Rating:

Australian Cinema

Course Department: COM FT345
Instructor: Ann Finegan
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Fantastic course - interesting for people with and without film expertise. Great movies and a chance to pick which ones to do papers and presentations on. Very manageable workload and awesome professor.
Credit Transfer Issues: No problems - I go to BU.