The best experience of my life. Past Review

By (Communication and Media Studies., Manhattan College) - abroad from 02/14/2012 to 06/26/2012 with

ISA Study Abroad in Sydney, Australia

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
The experience was totally worth it! I learned a lot from this experience and I gained a lot of independence and strength within myself. I know now that I not only loved Australia, but I want to go back in the future.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Coming from a small college at home, the educational experience was hard to adjust to. The classes at UNSW consisted of hundreds of people, but it was also a good thing in my opinion because it forced me to pay attention and go out of my comfort zone to not get lost in the class. The professors don't push you as much as in the states, which means that it's all on you to do your work, which challenges you to be more responsible and organized with your work.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The on-site administration was very helpful with academics and whatnot. However, not so much with housing issues. If you have a work order, I suggest going to the office rather than emailing them about it because its more effective.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was fortunate enough to live in Coogee Beach. I literally lived on Beach Street and my apartment was definitely one of the better ones. I lived with four girls including myself, two Americans and one Canadian. I thoroughly enjoyed our living situation, as we were provided with a washer and a dryer and even better a pool! However, you should be advised that you don't get heat, air or internet.

* Food:

The food wasn't bad, it's just not American. So when you go to order a burger, don't expect a tasty burger. Their burgers taste like sausage. Fish and Chips are huge over there and very good, I'd suggest if living in the Coogee Beach area to go to Five O's for a chicken schnitzel. Chish and Fips for Fish and chips or The Palace for $5 steak/chicken schnitzel with fries. Otherwise, stick to the 59 cents pasta at Woolies.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I absolutely loved the Australian culture. The people are so helpful when you need it and so laid back. They love that you are American and will go above and beyond to show you all they can to make sure you are getting the best of Australia. I definitely suggest emerging yourself into their cultural as much as possible, it's worth talking to as many Australians as possible and traveling around the country when you can.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I'm not too sure how the health services are because I did not have any health issues while abroad.

* Safety:

I have never felt more save in an area that I know little about as I did in Australia. With that said, don't wander around late at night alone, but I did not feel uncomfortable going into the city of Sydney alone, or even traveling around alone. Obviously be careful, but it's definitely a safe atmosphere.

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)

If you plan to travel often, I would suggest to bring more than just $100/week. Not necessarily because you are going to spend that much on food per week, but because if you want to travel you want to have some comfort with your money. Look for the deals between Woolies and Coles because they definitely have them. Most study abroad students who don't have meals included in their program eat pasta and rice, which you can get for 59 cents a bag. If you just keep an eye out and keep yourself on a good budget with food than you'll be able to do what you want. Be sure to indulge into some TimTams because they're well worth the 2 for $4 deal!

* Was housing included in your program cost? Yes
* Was food included in your program cost? No
Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Less than $50 because I found the deals
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Plan out when you want to go where you want to go. If you do this within the first couple of weeks, than you can add up how much you can spend a week on groceries and other expenses. Also, get a card at one of the local banks to save you from having to pay the conversion fees with you American card, trust me you will save heaps of money. I got a card at WestPac and never had any problems, so I would highly recommend doing that as soon as you get there cause those fees are not fun.


* 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
  • 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?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • meeting people from all over
  • having a bond with the program
  • the traveling and opportunites
* What could be improved?
  • more detailed prior information
  • provide internet in housing
  • explain currency exchange more in depth
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew that I wouldn't be getting internet in my housing because that was pretty expensive. Also, I wish I knew that I didn't have to buy my plane tickets through the program because my friends go it way cheaper on their own.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
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.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

The Marine Environment

Course Department: Science
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This course was definitely interesting because it was a course that I would never be able to take at home. The excursions and field trips you go on are worth it. With this course I was able to see the Sydney Aquarium and even take a cruise along Botany Bay. It was an interested course and the material wasn't a work load either. I would suggest it to someone trying to fulfill a science credit.
Credit Transfer Issues: No, the credits for this course all transferred over to my home university without any problems.
Course Name/Rating:

Media and Everyday Life

Course Department: Media Studies
Instruction Language: English
Comments: The course was good. You have one paper to complete, but no tests and the class provided interesting discussions. Especially in the tutorials, I was able to engage and understand the concepts better than in the lectures. You have a weekly blog you write in, but that's really the only workload for the course you have to worry about. I suggest those studying Media or Communications to take this course.
Credit Transfer Issues: No issues, all the credits transferred
Course Name/Rating:

Marketing Fundamentals

Course Department: Marketing
Instruction Language:
Comments: This course was easy throughout the semester, with quizzes and presentations. However, the final was hard. I wouldn't suggest taking this class, even thought it wasn't that hard, the grading was horrible and for the amount of work I put into the class, I didn't get much out of it.
Credit Transfer Issues: Transferred
Course Name/Rating:

Communication Strategies

Course Department: Communications
Instruction Language:
Comments: The course was a little challenging. You are given a project that lasts the semester, where you find a company that you will be helping throughout the semester with PR issues and what not. I worked with VIVID Sydney, so I enjoyed working with them, but I know others did not enjoy their clients and working for them. There are no tests and weekly discussions on readings with facilitations. I thought the class was interesting, however the grading was harsh for the final paper and presentation.
Credit Transfer Issues: Everything transferred with my home university.