Beautiful and Amazing April 13, 2017

By (Oregon State University) - abroad from 02/13/2016 to 06/25/2016 with

IFSA: Gold Coast & Brisbane - Griffith University

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
A whole new appreciation for the culture and people there, as well as countless communication skills and self reliance and confidence. I'd do it again in a heart beat!

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.

Took classes at both the University and through IFSA-Butler faculty and both were very insightful. The courses were structured well for students living off campus as well, attendance was long hours once a week minimizing travel time.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in an apartment overlooking the beach just one block away. Their public transportation was easy to use to get to campus and most everything else was within walking distance.

* Food:

Nothing wrong with the food where I lived, just a bit priced and hard to find room for with 1 fridge!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

IFSA offers an engage course they instruct themselves that is all about integrating with your new culture. We learned about cultural values and identity and then spent the rest of the class experiencing the culture first hand by attending various community events. We also were required to join a club through Griffith Uni to get the greatest impact with locals, I joined a scuba diving club and had a truly amazing experience getting to know the people and culture.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I always took precaution, but also always felt safe and welcomed.

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

They handled getting us there safely and making us feel at home, then left us to enjoy our new homes. It was great having an orientation and rooming handled ahead of time, but they gave us complete independence at the same time.

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)

Granted I really wanted to travel while I was abroad, so that definiely upped my spending a lot! aside from that, however, the city was pretty pricey, particularly food and drinks. However, a US dollar is stronger than an Australian dollar and tipping is billed into the restaurants, so it isn't as bad as it seems at first.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 80-100
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? You can get a job with a student visa if necessary, I had friends who did. Otherwise choose your living carefully if money is tight, we had the option to live on campus (convenient) or off campus (the beach) and while you'll need to travel to either location at one point of another, doing it frequently adds up. Also, if you really want to see all of Australia on a budget they do great trips through the hostels with bus passes that run you all the way up the coast and great deals at the hostels in all the destinations for a fraction of the cost the university trips try and offer up. The hostel system is great in Australia as well (great, clean, fun, inclusive planned outings with people from all over!) I wish I had known about these trips sooner because the overall money I spent seeing the reef and Sydney and all were MUCH more than I could have paid through these.

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?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • People
  • Location
  • Lack of stress in a new country
* What could be improved?
  • rooming students by class (we could have gotten to know more people on a deeper level if that had been avoided)
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? The program length is both longer and shorter than it seems! Getting to know the new place and area and people is very exciting, but trying to do everything you can every day and night right when you land will tire you out fast! Take time to get adjusted and settled. However, it goes by in the blink of an eye before you know it. If there is something you're dying to see (the reef, Thailand, whatever it may be) make sure you book it fast and secure a date. Its easy for people to make loose plans and then run out of money towards the end of the trip or put off their school work and need extra study time or something, so it you're set on seeing something, get a group and get a solid plan booked!

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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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.