An unforgettable and life-changing experience January 14, 2020

By (Middlebury College) - abroad from 08/23/2019 to 12/05/2019 with

SIT Study Abroad: Australia - Rainforest, Reef, and Cultural Ecology

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned so much about the interconnectedness of Australian ecology, evolution, and anthropology. My time in Australia broadened my horizons and allowed me to experience a lot of personal growth. I would do it again in a heartbeat

Review Photos

SIT Study Abroad: Australia - Rainforest, Reef, and Cultural Ecology Photo SIT Study Abroad: Australia - Rainforest, Reef, and Cultural Ecology Photo SIT Study Abroad: Australia - Rainforest, Reef, and Cultural Ecology Photo SIT Study Abroad: Australia - Rainforest, Reef, and Cultural Ecology Photo SIT Study Abroad: Australia - Rainforest, Reef, and Cultural Ecology 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 learned so much throughout the semester, but I had less work overall throughout the semester

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The only on-site administrator was Tony Cummings. If we ever had any problems, we could only go to him to speak with him, but he could be very unapproachable at times

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Overall the locations that we were staying at were clean and nice, but we only stayed in hostels throughout the semester which lacked certain amenities that more private locations would have.

* Food:

Overall food was great. We did have the same sandwiches every day this semester, which got tiring after a few weeks.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The homestay really allowed me to integrate into the culture.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

There was a 24-hour clinic down the street from the main hostel in Cairns which was very convenient

* Safety:

Overall Cairns is very safe. Would recommend to always stay with one or two people at night time.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

The 19 students on my program became my family over the course of the 15 weeks. They made the experience just absolutely amazing every step of the way and I loved learning about and exploring Northern Queensland, Australia with them.


* 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)

We received a stipend most weeks. It was easy to stay within the budget if you didn't drink (alcohol) or go shopping. At the end of the semester, I had saved up a lot of my stipend and ended up splurging a bit, getting a nice breakfast or going to cafes to get drinks. I did shop a bit, both for myself and my family, so that costs did add up. Every week I probably spent $0-$50 of my own money depending on the week

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $0-$50
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Definitely try to stay within your stipend costs during the first couple weeks. Depending on how you do those first few weeks, maybe make a decision to allocate more spending money each week or less.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Hostel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 10+

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Other students
  • The locations that we visited
  • The material that we learned
* What could be improved?
  • The living situation
  • Lunch food
  • More on-site staff
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That the night time during the winter does get cold and it's worthwhile to bring a light sweater or jacket for those times. We received a stipend.

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:


Course Department:
Instructor: Tony and ISP advisor
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This was very challenging. I did field research and was out on the Great Barrier Reef scuba diving every day. It was exhausting but rewarding. The paper was a lot to write and so was the ISP field journal so make sure you stay caught up on your work throughout the ISP. Do not get behind, otherwise the last few weeks will be very difficult. Overall, the entire experience was very rewarding and I was very proud of the work I had done
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Field Studies

Course Department:
Instructor: Tony, Vanessa, Jack
Instruction Language: English
Comments: We conducted a few research projects throughout the semester. One was on birds in suburban areas versus "natural" areas, a second was on platypuses, and the third was on reef fish of our choice. The lab reports were graded harder than I thought they would be, but regardless of those grades, I still had a good grade at the end of the semester. The bird project and the fish project were full lab reports, but the platypus report was a scientific article that we were trying to get published in a non-scientific publication (like our school newspaper). This specific project was to workon science communication.The teachers were very knowledgeable.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Rainforest, Reef, and Cultural Ecology

Course Department:
Instructor: Tony
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Tony was very knowledgable. The homework assignments were easy but could be a bit time consuming, especially the field journal. The field trips made the whole course just absolutely amazing. We were assessed with different essays, presentations, and the field journal
Credit Transfer Issues: