The Adventure of a Lifetime! Past Review

By (Vanderbilt University) - abroad from 07/15/2016 to 11/22/2016 with

IFSA: Sydney - University of New South Wales

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained so much maturity and independence, and I really feel like I know myself better as a person. I was so happy in Australia and it provoked a lot of thinking about who I want to be and what I want my life to look like.

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 style of teaching was very different in Sydney than what I was used to and require a lot more independent motivation, which was hard to find when I was living so close to the beach in one of the most spectacular cities in the world. The small number of assignments allowed for a lot of free time but also made it easier to get behind. The difficulty, though, was lesser than that of my home university.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Fiona was the greatest! So helpful and genuinely cared about each one of us and our well-being.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I LOVED living in a college setting at UNSW! The facilities were super nice and the community was incredible and welcomed me in with open arms. I made such incredible friends living in The Kensington Colleges (go Basser!!!) both Aussies and other Americans abroad that I truly believe I will stay friends with for a long time. The social scene was awesome and there was always something to do or people to hang out with.

* Food:

Living in the Kensington Colleges required the purchase of a meal plan. The food wasn't great and there wasn't a lot of variety but it was doable. The dining hall experience added to the sense of community.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Thanks to IFSA Orientation and the extra orientation I received after moving in to college, I felt very acclimated and experienced minimal culture shock. Locals were always very willing to answer questions, and to ask some in return!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I luckily had no health issues while in Sydney, so I cannot really speak to this question.

* Safety:

I felt safer in Sydney than I do in most American cities. Crime that occurs there is majority just petty crimes. You still have to be smart and be alert when you're out at night, but I experienced no safety issues.

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

The combination of Sydney, UNSW, Basser College, and IFSA-Butler was so perfect.


* 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 a lot of money while abroad, but had been saving for ages and felt comfortable doing so. I spent about $100/wk (but I also had a meal plan paid for) outside of my traveling funds.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $100
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? BUDGET! I created a spreadsheet before I went of a weekly budget, an activities/misc budget (ex: tickets to a show at the Opera House, tickets for my college Ball), and a travel budget. I tracked every single penny I spent on an app on my phone and weekly transferred those expenses into my spreadsheet.


* 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

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
* 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?
  • The college experience
  • Friends
  • Included excursions
* What could be improved?
  • Budgeting assistance
  • Food
  • I don't even know!
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? To savor every moment! I guess I was told that about a thousand times but you can't fully understand it until your last two weeks roll around and you're wondering where the time went. School is important, but it's not the only valuable part of this experience. You may never get the chance to do something like this again, so don't waste it! Have a BLAST!

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.