An Unforgettable Adventure Past Review

By (Vanderbilt University) - abroad from 02/14/2017 to 06/23/2017 with

IFSA: Sydney - University of New South Wales

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Going abroad was absolutely worthwhile. I learned about different cultures and gained perspectives from people from all over the world. I also developed a taste for adventure and spontaneity. I was able to break out of the dull day-to-day routine I am used to and experienced an entirely different lifestyle.

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.

Like many other students, I chose a course load that was not too rigorous. This allowed me to have a lot of free time to explore and try new things. While I did actually come out with a lot of useful information, I did not feel challenged academically at all at any point.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Everyone on the staff that I interacted with was incredibly helpful and I had plenty of resources to go to.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Perhaps one of the best parts abroad was the housing situation. In terms of just comfort of living, I had a nice single room with a small balcony to myself. The rooms were clean and seemed newly designed. Most importantly, the dorm I lived in had an insane amount of social events. People that lived in the dorms were all super involved and I was embraced with a nice, welcoming community.

* Food:

To be honest, the food options were limited and often not great. Still, having a close-by and convenient dining hall was nice. I know a lot of people go abroad and are forced to cook on their own, which is something I would have trouble managing. We also would have formal dining events throughout the semester with our dorms and the food at these times was amazing.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I feel like going to a new school is generally tough. At UNSW, I was able to join in with the community very easily. People were incredibly welcoming and were genuinely just as interested in learning about us as we were interested in learning about them.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I personally did not have any health issues while abroad, luckily. However I know I was covered under insurance and the process seemed to be laid out pretty simply.

* Safety:

I did not deal with any safety issues myself. Sydney felt incredibly safe the entire time. I also felt safe on campus at all times. Nonetheless, I would be very careful about keeping your passports under lock and key. Also it is important to keep in touch with a friend and let them know where you are going because it can be easy to get lost sometimes.

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

I had an absolute blast abroad. My program also made an effort to do cultural events and other excursions I probably would not have done myself.


* 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 ended up spending way more abroad than I would have hoped to. Everyone I talked to had a similar experience. I would leave wiggle room in your budget because you will probably spend a lot more than you anticipated.

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? I would absolutely create a weekly budget and try to stick to it. I foolishly would just spend until I had visibly less in my bank account and would adjust my lifestyle accordingly. If you keep track of every dollar it will make your life way less stressful.


* 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? 10+

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The city itself
  • The friends I made
  • The experiences I had
* What could be improved?
  • Better food
  • Advice on how to manage money better
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had engaged with my local community more from the very start rather than ease into it. I originally stuck to the friends I already had and other new Americans, but I did not engage with other locals until a month or so in.

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.