Learning by living sustainability with an amazing community : ) Past Review

By (Art & Environmental Science, Bard College) for

SIT Study Abroad: Australia - Sustainability and Environmental Action

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I loved learning about sustainability, I loved Australia, I loved our group. It was a risk for me doing this program because I was an art major with only one previous environmental science class (I am now majoring in both art and environmental science), not particularly interested in camping, but I wanted something different out of my study abroad experience. I'm really grateful that I did take that risk and did have this experience. My life is now shifted in a very new direction because of this program.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Our work load was pretty light, much less readings and essays than at our home institutions. The majority of what we learned was through hands on activities, visiting farms, visiting world heritage sights, working on our own independent study projects (isp) in our own preferred areas of study, all while living in way that was thoughtful of the environment, never keeping sustainability out of mind. There were several very informative and engaging lectures and workshops, and a few less engaging and informative lectures and workshops, but overall, the way we learned about the environment hands on was life altering.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The living arrangements were nice, if you do not like camping, it's probably not the program for you because we did spend a good amount of time camping. When we stayed at hostels, they were very clean and nice. We loved the apartments we stayed in while in Byron, the people who worked there were awesome and it's a great location, 5 minutes walk from the beach, 2 blocks away from the center of town, across the street from an awesome vegetarian indian food restaurant (Heart and Halo), we had a great time there. We all stayed with different families for 2 weeks, I personally loved my living situation, a family with four children living in a sustainable gardening commune. There was a large variety of living situations during home stay, families with large houses and flat screen tvs, a family that lived on an alpaca farm, more sustainably focused families like my own, but everyone seemed to be very happy with their situations. During ISP you arrange your own living situation with the stipend the program gives you, many of us found the stipend money not to be enough, especially if your living in Sydney or Byron.

* Food:

We mostly cooked for ourselves, if your a good cook, you'll be satisfied. Every once in a while the program took us out to dinner at nice restaurants.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The program organized a few things, like a camping trip hosted by a few aboriginal men in which we learned about their cultures, and an aboriginal food dinner. Both of those were great.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

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

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

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Host Family
  • Other

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? This is the kind of program that will change your life. Traveling and learning for four months with a small group is a really unique and special experience. Your going to become a team that learns about sustainability not in a way that is depressing or hopeless, but in a way that is empowering. Be nice to Dave the bus driver, he's a legend.