Down Under is the Place to Be! Past Review

By (Stonehill College) - abroad from 02/07/2017 to 06/25/2017 with

The Education Abroad Network (TEAN): Brisbane - University of Queensland

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned so much about Australian culture and my own American culture while abroad, and coming home. I also gained a great amount of self-awareness and learned how to live independently in a city and navigate public transportation. Studying abroad helped me gain confidence, self-understanding, and gave me the travel bug. I loved exploring a new country and now want to continue doing so, as this was my first time outside the U.S. Although there are a lot of steps to prepare for study abroad, it is 100% worth it! 5 incredible months of my life. There were challenges and lows sometimes (such as homesickness) but these helped me grow and learn and become the person I am today. Studying abroad is such a unique experience and I knew I would regret not going. This is an opportunity to say yes to!

Review Photos

The Education Abroad Network (TEAN): Brisbane - University of Queensland Photo The Education Abroad Network (TEAN): Brisbane - University of Queensland Photo The Education Abroad Network (TEAN): Brisbane - University of Queensland Photo The Education Abroad Network (TEAN): Brisbane - University of Queensland Photo

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.

UQ is a great school and I enjoyed all of the classes I took. I definitely advise to take a cultural class specific to your host country; you are able to connect what you learn from class to your experiences abroad. The campus is also so beautiful and there are hundreds of activities such as clubs and sports to join! You will never run out of new places to sit and study with great views.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

TEAN was simply amazing--well organized and knowledgable about helping students transition to their host country. Orientation consisted of almost a full week in Cairns and right off the bat TEAN had us snorkeling and diving in the Great Barrier Reef and exploring the city. My resident director and assistant were also wonderful; they shared information about our cities, tips, and knowledge throughout the semester. My RA showed us how to use public transport and gave us a tour of the area we lived in. I always felt like I could reach out to them if I needed assistance or had questions. TEAN went above and beyond to make us comfortable!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The location was perfect--right in the cultural center of the city called Southbank. There was a beautiful man-made beach down the road, a park, and restaurants with all different cuisine. While laundry and wifi was expensive, the rooms were comfortable, nice, and I enjoyed living with students from all over the globe. I only had to take a short bus ride to get to UQ's campus.

* Food:

Doughnut Time is a must! Unbelievable and crazy good doughnuts. Right down the road from my student housing was a line of restaurants with food from every culture you could imagine. I was able to try different foods as a result. There are a few small grocery stores in the city that are well stocked. The pricing was generally the same but restaurants could be more expensive sometimes. I am a foodie at heart so I always tried different spots and Brisbane has a great selection! The city has many bars as well and frequent farmers markets and food festivals.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Australian culture is not too different from American culture, so I only had culture shock during my first few weeks. The food is mostly the same or similar, television is similar, and the music is the same. The biggest differences are driving on the opposite side and generally a more laid-back atmosphere. Aussies are pretty nonchalant and easy-going. I always had to do a double-take when I saw people walking around the city without shoes. They are also pretty friendly and open. I feel like I integrated well but definitely not 100% as I think you need to spend a year or more in a different country to fully integrate. I learned a lot about Australian culture but there were still some things I felt like I could not completely understand from only being there for 5 months such as views on religion, politics, etc. Joining clubs at school and adventuring in the city and traveling helped me integrate socially & culturally!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I got sick a few times during the semester such as catching cough viruses. I was able to get the medicine I needed over the counter at a local pharmacy and I made appointments at the UQ health center for advice on how to recover quickly. The only issue I had was waiting; you have to wait a few weeks to actually get an appointment on campus since they are so overbooked. I was able to get general versions of my regular prescription medicines from the local pharmacy as well. Regarding my health insurance, I had no issues!

* Safety:

Brisbane is pretty safe from what I experienced; I felt comfortable walking around by myself, even at night. People generally look out for each other. I would recommend not driving, however, as you have to learn how to drive on the opposite side of the road. Also be careful crossing roads and catching public transportation--never step in front of buses or cars, etc. The clubs were safe as well--just use your common sense, watch your drinks, and stick with your friends. Uber is very helpful when you are lost or missed the bus and generally safe as well. I preferred uberring with friends, however, and not by myself.

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

I am thrilled I decided to go through TEAN. Preparing for my time abroad was simple as they helped every step of the way. TEAN helped shape the amazing experience I had abroad as well. I enjoyed the cultural programs my RA set up throughout the semester and am grateful for the incredible orientation TEAN lead in Cairns. I always felt like I could reach out to my RA, RD, or another TEAN staff member if I needed anything. They are passionate about what they do and really want to make your time abroad unforgettable.


* 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)

I struggled budgeting my finances abroad. While I cooked for myself during the week mostly, I definitely racked up bills easily on the weekends and treated myself too often. You can definitely budget by going out less such as spending less money on drinks and going out to restaurants, but it is definitely expensive living in a city. You have to pay for public transportation, for example. My housing was also expensive regarding the wifi package and laundry. Books for school were expensive too. Budgeting is what you make of it, really, and planning ahead and setting aside limited amounts of money for yourself. Also, say no sometimes!

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $150-200
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Plan how much you want to spend each week such as your maximum amount and desired amount. It helps if you do this in excel; you can list what you bought and how much. Also, keep your receipts to keep track of your spending and try to cook for yourself most of the time if you can. PB&J goes a long way! Finally, set aside money for your top 3-5 study abroad destinations/experiences right in the beginning.


* 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?
  • All of the opportunities TEAN offered, such as diving in the Great Barrier Reef, the cultural events during the semester, and the monthly updates about what was happening around the city. TEAN lead the way to help you experience what makes Australia unique and amazing.
* What could be improved?
  • I cannot think of anything really--everything was great.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew that it was going to fly by. I would have spent more time exploring than studying!

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Crossing Bridges - Communicating between Cultures

Course Department: COMU1002
Instructor: Paul Moore
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This course was awesome because it helped me better understand Australian culture and my own American culture. The concepts were very relevant and interesting. Assignments included papers, a quiz, and a group presentation. The readings were simple to understand and the professor and tutor were supportive and helpful.
Credit Transfer Issues: No
Course Name/Rating:

Anthropology of Aboriginal Australia

Course Department: ANTH
Instructor: Dr. Sally Babidge
Instruction Language: English
Comments: While the course was intellectually challenging, it was also very stimulating. I was able to take what I learned about Aboriginal Australians and apply it to my travels across Australia. The Professor was passionate, friendly, supportive to students, and intelligent about the material. The class was on the smaller size, which lead to in depth discussions that I enjoyed. Assignments included a few papers, a quiz, and a brief presentation.
Credit Transfer Issues: No