Eco biddies for life but beware of eye leeches Past Review

By (Ecology, University of Maine - Orono) - abroad from 01/30/2015 to 05/14/2015 with

SIT Study Abroad: Australia - Sustainability and Environmental Action

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I grew as an individual. People from the program was different from my friends I have at school and I had to adapt. Studying abroad in Australia, especially with this program was so worthwhile. I have memories from my group that I will treasure until the day I die and the personal changes are forever.

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.

SIT provides a very educational curriculum but not as vigorous in comparison to my home institution. Our coordinator was very well aware that while we were study abroad in order to expand our education, we also wanted to make the most of our experience being in a foreign country. He made it aware to us that we were there to do work but was willing to compromise and introduce us to the beauty of the country from a citizen's point of view.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Tony, our coordinator, was amazing. He was extremely chill but attentive to our health and safety. As a program, we looked up to him not only as our administrator during our study abroad experience but also a very good friend. We also befriended our other two professors.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

SIT was very concerned with our safety and only put us in hostels they knew were safe and reliable. For the most part, we were alone as a group, expected to take care of each other. And that portion of our housing bonded us as a group of international students and put us on our wits. Hostels was a new experience for me and I feel extremely lucky to be able to experience these hostels because of the dedication and organization from Tony. We never had to worry about the living arrangements, only when to get up the next morning for class.

* Food:

SIT fed us so well. We get a stipend for the entire trip and we were allowed to use that money for anything we wanted. The meals we cooked and ate were top notch and there was never a time where we were starving.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I wish I got to know more about the local culture but the homestay experience still made me feel integrated toward Australia. I got to see how the families lived and we had continuous contact with each other in the group in order to compare and contrast our families. In a way, SIT bonded us as a group to a point where we experienced the local culture through each other, not only on a first hand experience.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Our safety and health were the first priority in our program. Many of us got sick during the trip and Tony made sure to attend to the more severe cases. We respected and trusted Tony with our lives and the program was sure to include in our attention the dangers we might face in Australia before the start of the program.

* Safety:

Cairns, my base, was pretty much safe. Definitely stay as a group at times. Make a buddy the moment you get there. Part of the reason why I felt safe during this trip is because I trusted my group with my life. We're there to have fun (on an individual experience) but we got each others' backs if we were needed.

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)

We lived off a stipend that we paid for at the beginning of the program. Most of us came out of the program pocketing extra money; it wasn't a big deal as long as you controlled yourselves on your expenses.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $20
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Expect to spend money on souvenirs and fun things. Don't be too stingy with your money; this is a once in a lifetime experience. Make the most of it without being too frugal.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Other
  • 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?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Meryl's lunches
  • The closeness of our group
  • The environment
* What could be improved?
  • The competiveness between students
  • Updates on schedules
  • Murri Time
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew I had a stipend going into the program; it was such a surprise. On the other hand, not knowing there was a stipend lowered my expectations of how much I will spend on the trip.

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 Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!