The Land Down Under - My New Home Past Review

By (Hospitality and Event Management, Lasell College) - abroad from 08/26/2011 to 12/16/2012 with

The Education Abroad Network (TEAN): Gold Coast - Bond University

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was incredible semester with amazing memories I will keep for the rest of my life. Say yes to everything and try it all - you'll have so much fun and learn many new things. It was one of the most worthwhile experiences of my life.

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.

I loved that Bond University runs on the same semester schedule as my home institution but still let me experience teaching in a different way than I was used to with lectures and tutorials. Many of the courses I took had few grades with the biggest emphasis on mid semester and final exams. In that sense, it challenged me in a way I was not used to. But, all the professors and tutors made it easy to contact and meet with them if need be. There is also a academic center that can help you proof your papers, cite correctly, and make sure you are on the right track.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I went on the pre-semester excursion to Fiji and met my first TEAN member there. He stayed with us in Fiji and then lead the orientation in Sydney. He was very knowledgeable and showed us all around Sydney. After arriving in Gold Coast, I met my housing director. She was also amazing and was always available to talk to if any issue arose. She posted on the TEAN facebook group to inform us of local events happening or things we may be interested in checking out throughout the semester. It definitely gave us all a head start on what to do while we were in Australia!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

At first I was uncomfortable living off-campus. As an American student, I am used to having everything available on campus within walking distance - including classes. I lived in the beach housing in serviced apartments so I had a commute of about 15 minutes to Bond University. I quickly got over my second thoughts and fell in love with living a 2 minute walk from the beach and everything else I needed so close to me. It was a very central location between Bond and Surfer's Paradise.

* Food:

I am an avid fast food fan so cooking in my apartment was an entirely different experience for me. I learned a lot of new cooking techniques and recipes which will make moving out after college a little bit easier. My roommates and I set up a "family dinner" to have once a week on rotation, so it was always nice to look forward to that meal. The area has tons of high-end restaurants as well as cheap to-go places with things like sushi and burritos, so if I was never in the mood to cook it was easy to find something. Campus also had many places to dine at and you could also add money to your Bond student ID for a discount. Make sure you try wedges with sour cream and sweet chili sauce (my favorite), tim tams, kangaroo, and kebabs!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Bond University is a school big on international students, so while there are Australian students, there are students from all over the world. I enjoyed learning like an Australian would though, with tutorials and lectures. I did like living off campus and many times friendships resulted from the bus commute to/from school or Surfer's Paradise.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

For some reason, I was sick almost my whole time abroad! Thankfully, it wasn't serious and I was able to continue on my daily life in Australia without much issue. This was not the norm though so don't worry that it is unsafe/unhealthy here as that is not the case. For some reason I was an exception, though most people did have a slight cold at some point but it wasn't a big deal. The doctors office at Bond has extremely nice staff! You can be seen by the nurse who usually will diagnose you, but if you need a prescription, you are seen by the doctor there as well. He is equally as nice and gets you the prescription you need. You can make appointments in advance or walk-in. It was easy to get my prescriptions off and you get a health card at your arrival to the university.

* Safety:

I never once felt unsafe, even when I was on the buses by myself or walking alone. The streets are well lit and a police station is right behind the beach housing. When there are large events hosted, police presence can usually be seen in case anything were to happen.

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)

Cooking for myself let me learn how to budget. If I ate out less, it meant more to spend on other trips! I knew studying in Australia would be expensive and had been saving for quite a while for the trip. Keep in mind Australia's minimum wages are double America's, so everything has a higher price.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? ~100
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Make a list on what you want to accomplish/do that semester. Do you want to go to the Great Barrier Reef, the Outback, maybe another country for study week. Plan that out in advance - the earlier you book means you usually save more. Plus you will know how much left you have to spend for the rest of the semester.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
  • Hotel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* 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?
  • Sydney Orientation
  • Fiji Pre-semester excursion
  • Beach Housing
* What could be improved?
  • None
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Before you know it, it will be over so make the most of your time abroad!

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.