The Experience of My Lifetime May 14, 2018

By (Accounting, University of Maine - Orono) - abroad from 01/15/2018 to 04/25/2018 with

CISabroad (Center for International Studies): Gold Coast - Semester on the Gold Coast

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was absolutely worthwhile. I don't think I can put in words all of the things I've gained and learned from this experience so I'll sum up a couple of them. I feel like I could be a world traveler now, I am very comfortable with all types of public transportation now and definitely caught the travel-bug (yes it's really a thing). I gained all of the friends that will last me a lifetime. We got to experience such amazing things together and it brought us so close in such a short amount of time. I feel a lot more independent in a lot of ways, like I can make more of my own decisions and that I'm not held down by people or things (besides lack of money). I've gained a different outlook on life. To enjoy everything around me and life itself more than I used to and focus less on the little day-to-day routine things. To change it up a little everyday and to be so much happier doing the things I WANT to do as opposed to the things I NEED to do.

Review Photos

CISabroad (Center for International Studies): Gold Coast - Semester on the Gold Coast Photo CISabroad (Center for International Studies): Gold Coast - Semester on the Gold Coast Photo CISabroad (Center for International Studies): Gold Coast - Semester on the Gold Coast Photo CISabroad (Center for International Studies): Gold Coast - Semester on the Gold Coast Photo CISabroad (Center for International Studies): Gold Coast - Semester on the Gold Coast Photo

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.

Professors were extremely helpful and really cared, the resources were abundant and easy to access in the library for example.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Jackie and Jemiamah were so amazing!! Always there at any hour of the day, if we were having issues, questions, or just wanted to talk about life. I truly felt like I had a second mom over there.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Beautiful location (The Reserve Apartments). I woke up to a beautiful view of the water every morning. When we first got there our microwave had a hole on the inside, so we had that replaced and the management was very responsive and fairly timely with that. One big program was the A/C upstairs shut off when it was "too hot" outside, which of course is when you need the A/C the most. Since 3 out of the 4 bedrooms were upstairs, that made it very hard to sleep in such hot temperatures. That happened often throughout the 4 months we were there. The only other complaint I have is the size of the rooms. It was a 4 person place and 1 room was downstairs, had only 2 outlets in the whole room, and was significantly smaller than the other ones. It made it hard to decide who got to live in which room.

* Food:

On-campus food was delicious but expensive. I cooked at home most of the time. Nearby restaurants had similar food to back home in the US.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The trips we went on through CISAbroad were great! We were able to get out and discover different beautiful areas nearby. I do wish I met/talked to more Australians, since everyone in our program was from the US I didn't really get integrated with the country that way, but still met some amazing people that I will stay in touch with for a long time.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had a friend who got a gash in her knee from jumping into the water and hitting a rock. She ended up having to get 2 layers of stitches. The area we were in at the time (Currumbin Rock Pools) did not have a healthcare center nearby. Also, most of us didn't have service, so we were lucky to find a little cafe nearby. They gave our friend some banages and things to help slow down the blood flow and she had to wait for an uber to get her and bring her to the closest healthcare center. Probably took at least an hour to finally get there. Jackie was very helpful in this situation and helped keep her calm (over the phone) and get us to the closest healthcare center.

* Safety:

I felt safe everywhere I went at any time of the day. There were cops and security everywhere and the local people were just amazing and sweet and meant no harm.

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

CISAbroad seemed to have unlimited resources. Like I said before, Jackie was like a second mom and genuinely cared about every single one of us. We could reach out to her by phone or email at any time of the day and she would respond almost immediately with a thoughtful and caring response.

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)

I spent my life savings over there for sure. I also wasn't trying to save money so I didn't say no to any adventure or trip, which really adds up. I had a friend who was on a tighter budget and she made it possible, she avoided going out every night, spent way less money on alcohol, cover charges, and drunk food, and still had a really good time.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 150
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? It's okay to not go out EVERY night and go to the bars with cheaper deals (ladies nights - free drinks, casino Tuesday - $5 spirits, etc.). Even though the Australian dollar is worth less than the American, it really adds up. Set a budget for yourself, limit yourself to $100 a week and try to stick to it. You're going to spend money abroad though, there is really no avoiding it overall.

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* 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? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The ease of preparing to study abroad.
  • The support provided by the on-site people.
  • The opportunities provided.
* What could be improved?
  • More optional get-togethers.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? It's not an option, you need to do it, it's worth everything. If you have to stay in school for an extra year because of how classes line up, do it, if you have to take extra courses in the summer or winter to make it work, do it, if you're in a relationship, do it, (I have a boyfriend and we made it!!) Don't let anything or anyone stop you.. it'll be the best decision you'll ever make.

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 Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.