Truly an eye opening experience September 02, 2017

By (California Lutheran University) - abroad from 02/14/2017 to 06/18/2017 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned a lot about another country as well as a lot about myself. This was a journey where independence was needed and I was immersed in activities and situations that I would never imagined myself to be in years ago. Even being in a country that is pretty similar to the United States, there was a lot of culture and history to learn that I gained high respect for. Studying abroad was definitely worthwhile. As cliché as it sounds, it was a once in a lifetime experience that I think everyone should take advantage of if they can.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Australia's schooling system is definitely different from the United States, but it is easy to adjust to. The courses were challenging, the class sizes were larger, and there were less assignments throughout the semester, but each professor still took the time to meet with their students and guide them along the way.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Everyone with TEAN was very helpful. I was able to get into contact with them quickly and they did their best to address any questions or concerns I had.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My living arrangement was perfect. What can be better than living near the beach?? Living in a hotel! TEAN could not have chosen a better location.

* Food:

Although items in Australia seem a little pricier, what you see is what you pay and when converting AUD to USD, it is pretty similar. I loved that Australia had so many options for food. There was Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Indian, and other local cuisines that were delicious. They are very health conscious too so there are many cafes and restaurants to choose from.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

TEAN really helped me to feel integrated in the local culture. During our orientation, they took us to wildlife habitats and rainforests where we could see and learn about the true Australia. Australians are also very friendly people, so meeting them helped even more to see how living like a local was.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Although I did not experience healthcare, I knew that it was easily available to everyone in the program. Prior to going abroad, we got health insurance and the staff explained what we needed to do if someone was sick or hurt.

* Safety:

The Gold Coast is a fairly safe area. There are many locals and tourists around, and it is simple to be aware of your surroundings.

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

TEAN is a very well organized program. They have many options for students to choose from that include incredible activities, accommodations, and more that allow for the best experience possible.

Finances

* 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 definitely had to watch my spending throughout the semester. It is easy to go out often and spend money here and there on food and activities. However, living on a student's budget is pretty manageable.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 50-60 AUD
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Log down what you spend your money on weekly and see how much that comes out to per month. Also try to cook as much as possible, buying produce from the local farmers markets/markets. If you're going to spend money on an activity, make sure it is something you really want to do.

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • 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?
  • Cultural activities throughout the semester
  • The friendly and helpful staff
  • The accommodations made to make each of our experiences one to remember
* What could be improved?
  • Nothing!
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I figured out specifically where I wanted to travel to beforehand because it takes a lot of planning and it is not something that can be done last minute. I am pleased where I did get to travel however, I could have ventured more with sufficient research and planning.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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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.