Saying Yes to New Experiences Past Review

By (Biology, Bucknell University) - abroad from 07/15/2014 to 11/23/2014 with

IFSA: Sydney - University of Sydney

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
While abroad I gained a great deal of independence, confidence, and a broader perspective of life. My experience was definitely worthwhile and I would do it over again and again.

Review Photos

IFSA-Butler: Sydney - University of Sydney Photo IFSA-Butler: Sydney - University of Sydney Photo

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.

There is a wide variety of interesting classes offered at USYD. Some classes were much easier than others depending on the subject. The 3000 level course I took was very advanced and challenging, while the 1000 level courses were more introductory.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Excellent IFSA staff in Sydney! They were so helpful, available, and friendly.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in Urbanest, which was an off campus housing option for mainly international students. I was very happy with it and it was brand new!

* Food:

I wasn't on any sort of meal plan through the university or through my program. Cooking for myself was a good experience, but the food in Australia can be expensive.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

IFSA Orientation and their organized weekend activities did a great job of exposing us to cultural history and events. We went to an Aboriginal history museum, a rugby match, and a show in the Opera House. IFSA also plans a "country life weekend" that is really well done and students get a taste of what living in the Australian countryside is like.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

We had student overseas health insurance. The healthcare system was easy to use and was comparable to home. There were no vaccines or prevalent health issues.

* Safety:

I felt very safe in Sydney overall and did not personally experience any safety issues. In the more touristy areas just be aware of your surroundings.

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)

Sydney is more expensive than the US. However, our program advisors showed us inexpensive stores to do our shopping at and if you are careful with your money it is definitely manageable. I did not eat out very often which helped my budget as well.

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? I would recommend looking into discount airlines and staying in hostels when you travel, this will greatly reduce the cost of travel. Also check into Groupon for deals on day tours or events. Opening an Australian bank account was also helpful because you will not be charged for using your debit card or withdrawing cash from an ATM. Along with that, if you travel internationally do not exchange currency in the airport. Wait until you get to the country and withdraw from an ATM.


* 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?
  • IFSA provided support when needed
  • I liked taking classes with Australians and other international students
  • I liked the weekend events that IFSA provided
* What could be improved?
  • More specific information about prices and budgeting before departing
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish that I had not brought so many belongings abroad. I packed shampoo, hangers, blankets, and other things that I could have bought in Sydney for only a few more dollars than they would have cost in the US. I also wish that I wasn't as worried or nervous before departing, because once I was there I didn't think twice about it!

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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The Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.