Australia: Occasionally Lonesome but Lesson-filled and Amazing Past Review

By (Communication and Media Studies., Hope College) for

ISA Study Abroad in Melbourne, Australia

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It has broadened my outlook on people and culture. I am more accepting now. Australians are some of the most generous and selfless people I have ever met and seeing how they live their lives inspired me to live that way as well. Also, with the business classes and internship that I took I discovered that I want to go into some kind of business or consulting career. I did not know what I wanted to do before I left for Australia.

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.

The professors were all very interested in their students and personable. They were all referred to by their first names and had a very laid back demeanor - now it feels weird to call my professors professor. Content-wise it seemed the exact same as Hope College though - same level of learning, same types of textbooks and assignments. It's just that there were always fewer and more highly weighted assignments.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Our Program Leader was very helpful and responsive, but she was based in Colorado. Once I was in Australia it was not as easy to contact her.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in an on campus-house with 7 other University students. It was a great accommodation however I did have to purchase some dishes and cleaning supplies. Location-wise I was right next to classes and campus however to get groceries it was about a mile walk - which feels a lot longer with heavy bags of groceries.

* Food:

Dine somewhere cheap - I didn't think it was worth it to spend my money on expensive food.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

My favorite part of the program was that they took us to kangaroo and kuala petting zoo the first week where we got to hold and pet the class Australiany types of animals. Though once we got to our accommodations they did not contact us at all or give us any more support really.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

No vaccines were/are necessary. And Bendigo, Victoria (where I was) was an overall safe place. It was a smaller 'town in the bush' so there were not the dangers that come with living in a big city.

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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I spent roughly $50/week on entertainment, social, and food expenses each week. Australia prices are generally about 25% more expensive than things in the U.S. I tried to get a job while I was there but nothing worked out. Luckily I had enough saved up to last me for 2 semesters. It's easy to save money too - I only spent money on food really and occasional shopping trips.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Having a budget really helped; monitoring how much I was spending each month and figuring out how much I had left for my time abroad is definitely necessary. Social events can add up really quickly - Australians like to go out and party rather frequently so as long as I didn't waste my money too much on things of that nature I think I was in pretty good shape.


How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

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  • Other
* Who did you live with?

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  • Local Students
* Who did you take classes with?

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  • Local Students

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • That I got to meet and create close friendships with local Australians
* What could be improved?
  • Communication between La Trobe and AustraLearn during the pre-departure process
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? If someone likes smaller towns, small campus atmosphere, nature and the outdoors rather than city-life, they should go to the Bendigo campus of La Trobe and not the Bundoora Melbourne campus. Also, I was the only AustraLearn American student going to the Bendigo campus so if you go there you really get to know local Australians, rather than just hanging out with other Americans the whole time. If they want the beach do not go there. Little did I know, Bendigo is about 3 hours from the closest beach! I was quite bummed. As for AustraLearn they were really helpful and helped me organize everything.