An Unforgettable Trip Down Under Past Review

By (Math and Child Development, Tufts University) for

ISA Study Abroad in Melbourne, Australia

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I think I became more independent and learned how to travel on my own. It was definitely a worthwhile experience, one that I would never trade.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The grading system is very different from that of the US. Very few students receive the highest mark and in some classes you will be graded based on how everyone else fares in the class. Teaching methods are very similar with weekly lectures and tutorials, which are like recitations. You are responsible for keeping up with the work since there are not weekly assignment and very few assessments during the semester, usually there is just a paper or exam at the end.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The University of Melbourne's orientation was very low-key compared to orientation at Tufts. They told us how to register for classes and some services of the University. I did not have any problems and was able to get all the classes I wanted without any problems. The professors were really helpful in helping to get me approved to take certain courses.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

AustraLearn arranged my housing and although they said we would be placed with Australian roommates, my roommate happened to be from Tufts. However, we became great friends and were able to do a lot of things together like travel, plus now we can see each other while back at Tufts. We lived in an off campus student housing complex that used to be a hotel. It was a 5minute walk from campus and a 10minute walk to downtown Melbourne. So it was perfect location. We were given bedding and cookware. Our room had its own kitchen and bathroom.

* Food:

The University does not have a meal plan, but there are many food options on campus. Plus Melbourne has a great cafe culture so you are always within walking distance of a cafe where you can get a toastie aka a toasted sandwich. Melbourne also has a huge Asian-influence, so there are many Asian restaurants. The University is also really close to the Queen Victoria Market where you can get just about everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to fish, meat, cheese, and bread.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

AustraLearn just organized the trip to Cairns in the beginning but it was lots of fun. I went scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef and held a koala. I also got to explore the Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Melbourne is a very safe city. I never felt unsafe when walking around by myself. It was an active city and there were always people around. I would not recommend being out alone after midnight but otherwise it would be fine to walk around the city alone during the day. The University had health services and they were really helpful. Plus I had health insurance through the University and through AustraLearn.

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 would say I spent about $150 a week on food and other personal items.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Bring more money then you think you will need. I traveled a lot and was able to find pretty cheap flights and hostels. Most expenses came from food since I did not have a meal plan so I had to buy food for all my meals. I also did some shopping since Melbourne and Sydney are both big shopping cities. Australia is a very expensive country.


How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

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  • Local Students
  • International Students
  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

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A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Travel as much as you can. There are so many different and interesting places in Australia to explore. I recommend going to the Outback if you can and to Kakadu National Park. Do not bring a lot of clothing, you will need room to bring a lot of things back!!! This program is good for an independent person who is determined and will seek out his or her own activities.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Aboriginal Cultural Studies

Course Department:
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This was an excellent course and was on a topic that I would never have the opportunity of learning about in America. I thought it was going to be about the history of aboriginal culture, but it actually dealt with contemporary aboriginal culture and I learned about Aboriginals who have excelled in different cultural areas such as music, film, sports, and fine arts.
Credit Transfer Issues: Get your courses approved before you leave so that you know they will count towards something.