Heaps of fun Past Review

By (Marketing., Providence College) - abroad from 02/13/2013 to 06/25/2013 with

IFSA: Sydney - Macquarie University

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Gained a new perspective/appreciation of the US. Learned how friendly other people can be. Learned a new sense of independence.

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.

Academics here at Macquarie were VERY challenging. Amount of work was about the same as at home, however grading here is much harsher with a 65 being considered a 'good grade' by most tutors. Australian students are happy to pass, while American students are looking to get As and Bs. The fact that we are assessed by GPA and not Pass/Fail is the largest downside to the program. Students were not fairly warned just how harshly they would be graded. Like I mentioned before, amount/difficulty of work proved very similar to the US, however graded much harsher. Also- finals are worth 50% of your grade in most classes here. Therefore you could be writing a 5 page paper that may only be worth 3% of your grade, and that proved to be very discouraging.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

IFSA Butler was a fantastic program. Fiona in particular, my Student Services Coordinator was amazing. Extended herself to all of the students and personally knew each of them by name. She made me feel very comfortable and assisted me in many things.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The MQ Village was nice, although administration was quite unprofessional, often ignoring issues that we had with our house. While they were very friendly, they lacked efficiency. The house was infested with cockroaches and dirty with animal feces and food residue from prior tenants when we first moved in. When brought to the administration they did nothing about this. However, the house itself was very nice, individual rooms were very spacious and bathrooms were very nice.

* Food:

Had to cook all my meals myself.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Although I did not live with Australian students, they are very friendly and I met plenty of locals through my classes at Macquarie.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Didn't have any healthcare issues.

* Safety:

Until the bars were placed on our house windows, I felt unsafe in the MQU Village. A female student was assaulted the first month we were here and administration did nothing but leave a note in our door with minimal information. There were multiple break-ins, including my next door neighbor. It wasn't until 3 weeks ago or so that they started to do something and put metal grates on our windows. However I always felt relatively safe on campus.

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)

Australia is very very expensive. Knowing that Providence tuition is WELL above MQU tuition, I think it's unfair the the difference in money paid doesn't go to a living stipend.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 200
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Budget money before hand. constantly know how much money you have left and put money aside for trips.


* 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?
  • Fiona (student services coordinator) was always accessible and helpful when needed.
  • Location
  • People
* What could be improved?
  • Grades- Make them pass fail. Its almost impossible to get an A in Australia - stress in school puts a LARGE damper on the experience.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? How harshly professors grade in Australia, wish I knew what to expect in terms of school going in. Saying, 'it will be hard/different' isn't really enough. As an A student, getting a 70 and having it being considered a 'good grade' in Australia, was very disheartening and was the biggest and more influential downfall of my experience here. Providence should really change their regulations to Pass/fail - it would allow students to relax about grades while still doing really well in Australian standards.

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!