My Semester Down Under: Truely Life Changing Past Review

By (International Business, University of Nebraska- Lincoln) for

ISA Study Abroad in Sydney, Australia

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was extremely worthwhile. It took me until months after I came back home to pay off my credit cards from my trip, and I still am indebted to my dad, but I would do it all again. I wish I could! I couldn't believe how quickly my semester abroad flew by. As quick as it was, I know I have changed because of it. I'm more independent, and less scared to do things on my own. If I want to do go somehwere, I'm going to go, even if I have to go alone. It's worth it to have the experience. I learned to not be so afraid of things. Going skydiving and bungy jumping will do that do you! And I learned that I really can survive without my friends and family surrounding me. I've lived in the same area all my life, and breaking out of it was an amazing experience. I look forward to having that chance again with an international company.

Review Photos

GlobaLinks Learning Abroad: Sydney - University of Sydney Photo GlobaLinks Learning Abroad: Sydney - University of Sydney Photo GlobaLinks Learning Abroad: Sydney - University of Sydney Photo GlobaLinks Learning Abroad: Sydney - University of Sydney Photo GlobaLinks Learning Abroad: Sydney - University of Sydney Photo

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.

I didn't think there would be much of a difference between Australia and America in terms of the academic classes, but I was very wrong! The way Australian classes are set up, with lectures and tutorials, as well as the way grades are calculated, was very different than what I'm used to. I was a little unprepared for it. In my classes at home, I'm an A- student. In one my classes at Macquarie, I got my first ever C. I wasn't really sure why I did so badly, until I realized that Cs really are the average in Australia. Your work has to be exceptional to recieve an A. I was not used to the extremely high standards I found in Australia. However, I did enjoy their way of splitting up the lectures and tutorials. And I loved that the lectures were provided online, so if you couldn't make it to class, you could listen to what you missed at your leisure. I definitely think this should be incorporated into America's education system!

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I think AustraLearn did a good job or giving us an orientation about what to expect while we were studying abroad. They were also very helpful before I left on my trip, with answering all of my questions, of which there were quite a few! It was nice to get to know some of my fellow Americans that I would be living with for a semester in the week-long orientation at the start of our program. It helped me make friends right away with people I still talk to, even though they live in California and Texas!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in the on-campus housing, which was called the Macquarie Village. It's a big cluster of small houses with international and local students. It was a great atmosphere to meet new people and hangout. They threw lots of free events, and even gave away free alcohol, which would have been unheard of in America! I loved the laid-back style of the Aussies. The house came supplied with furniture and kitchen supplies, though I did buy some things to make my room seem more home-y like candles and rugs. My biggest complaint about my accomodation was the state it was in when I arrived. The people who lived there before had not cleaned before leaving, and had left mountains of dirty dishes and old food in the kitchen. I spent my first night cleaning for hours, and it was not a good first impression.

* Food:

I had some wonderful meals when I was in Australia, though it was shocking at first to realize how much everything cost! Overall, I was very satisfied in food choices. I got to experience great seafood and even some more "out there" selections like kangaroo and crocodile! If it had been a little cheaper, it would have been nice, but the cost didn't dampen my excitement!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The first orientation week was amazing. We were in Cairns and got to dive the Great Barrier Reef and see the Daintree Forest. I absolutely loved it. Made me wish I had chosen to live somehwere further north! But I had plently of time on the weekends and during Spring Break to travel all over Australia, and I did! My friends and family and I arranged these trips on our own, which was almost more fun than having the entire thing designed. But I did appreciate AustraLearn's orientation program. It's a great idea to have everyone on the same program meet eachother and get over their jet lag before starting classes!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

The program addressed lots of aspects of safety, from swimming in the oceans to just walking down the streets of Sydney. I think they did a good job of this. I was unlucky enough to get sick twice while studying abroad. The first time was something along the lines of bronchitis, and I did see a doctor. Insurance made the visit free, and reimbursed me for the antiboiotics I took. The second time I had a sinus infection and the flu at the same time, and nothing could really be done, so I didn't see a doctor. I was sick for about a month, right at the end of my program. Those Aussie germs really know how to get you!

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)

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Other
  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • International Students
  • Americans

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The people I met
  • the experiences it gave me
  • the week-long orientation program
* What could be improved?
  • The cost! Incredibly expensive.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Students who are close-minded, stuck in their own ways, and/or are completely ethnocentric need not apply. The idea of studying abroad is to learn about another culture and how to be independent at the same time. Don't spend all your time talking to friends and family at home. You're in another country! Go out and meet new people and find new adventures to have! Enjoy it while you can...believe me, the time will pass more quickly than you can imagine.


Thanks, Megan, for leaving a review of your time abroad! We'll be sure to take your comments into consideration for students going abroad in the future. We're glad you loved Australia!

Anonymous April 19, 2012