An experience I will never forget! September 11, 2017

By (Communication and Media Studies, University of New Hampshire) - abroad from 02/12/2017 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 think the biggest lesson I learned while being abroad was to do something that you love, not because someone else wants you to do it. I came across many occasions in Australia where I really wanted to do something but no one else wanted to or didnt have the time. Instead of skipping out on the opportunity, I went for it alone. These bold moves were the best things I could have done while abroad. It pushed me to become more independent and to push myself to do stuff that I love.

Review Photos

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

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.

Studying at Griffith Univeristy was very similar to studying at the University of New Hampshire. The professors were extremely helpful and all of the courses I took at Griffith, transferred back over to UNH. My favorite course that I took at Griffith Uni was Documentary Studies. My profesor was extremely wise and was very enthusiastic about the topic. I was able to connect with students both internationally and domestically discussing topics of film journalism and many techniques used for documentary film. I give 5 stars to Griffith University and I really hope that other students from the U.S. get to experience the amazing things that they offer.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Helen Armitage was my on-site administrator while I was studying at Griffith University. Helen was extremely nice and helpful when need be. She answered any questions that the students had and even sent out monthly emails of "top things to do in the Gold Coast". She never hesitated to answer any questions and was always available when students needed her. She was awesome! I also met many staff members at orientation and while I went on the Melbourne excursion trip through TEAN. Every employee that I met was so friendly! They knew all of the ins and outs of Australia and had so many recomendations on what to see while studying there. The best part about meeting the employees and knowing that they are from Australia and have lived there their whole lives. Knowing this made me feel a lot more comfortable with activities we did and also helped me trust them a lot more.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

When I first filled out my application for TEAN, I was giving the option of either on-campus or off-campus living, with no specifications. When my van pulled up to the building I was going to be living in, I was shocked. The accomodations were amazing, from maid service two days a week to an easy four minute walk to broadbeach. The staff at Peppers were very friendly and treated the TEAN students like any other guest that was residing with them. The room set-ups vary but all offer a huge amount of space for clothes and even surf boards if you decide to rent one for the few months you are there. Peppers also offers many places to do your homework for courses if you decide not to head to campus for the day. They have a common room with comfortable couches and lounge area, they have a zen garden with a lot of grass area (my favorite place to do homework) and they also even have a private pool with tables and lounge chairs. The location of Peppers was amazing and close to almost everything including many restaurants, the bus station, the tramstops and even the mall. If I were to choose housing again, off-campus housing at Peppers would most definitely be my first choice.

* Food:

The food in Australia is not too different than the food in America but while you are there you want to try the best of everything. Because I lived in Peppers, it was surrounded by MANY restaurants, inlcuding ones that have great reviews and rated the "best" for certain items on their menu. It was nice to have a variety of options for food and I never seemed to get sick of any of it. I lived close by to a Woolworths (local grocery store), so it was simple to get anything I needed for my apartment. I suggest buying Kangaroo tips your first week, my roomates and I did and it was the best decision we had made. It is also guranteed that you will buy a pack of tim-tams everytime you take a trip to Woolworths (Wooly's for short). Hint: keep tim tams in the freezer. Overall, I suggest you try everything you possibly can because you can simply never get sick of it.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

When I first arrived in Gold Coast, I was nervous with how I was going to be about adjusting to not only a new city but a new country as well. After the first day, I never thought about it again. I immediately felt comfortable with where I was staying and was overally excited to explore everything that was around me. It took a few days to get used to the bus route and the tram routes but other than that, everything else was easy to adjust to. While walking around the city, I felt like I was fitting in with the rest of the locales. Like many places you visit, you can feel everyone looking at you and clearly feeling like an outsider of the community. Not in the Gold Coast. The diversity was large compared to what I see around my campus at UNH and I felt that besides my "accent", I was able to fit in with the Gold Coast community. One of the major things I struggled with for a little was learning to walk on the opposite of the sidewalk and to also look right before left when crossing the street. It does not seme that major at first but when you have cars blarring their horns at you, you decide to make it a priority to learn which side of the road is the right side.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I personally did not come across any health issues while I was abroad. Some of my friends got the common cold and other minor health issues but they were easily resolved. Many student would ask the on-site administrator, Helen, for any advice as to where to get medecine and whether or not their sickness was worth a trip to the doctors. TEAN made it very clear that they were there to help with any issues and if I did need any help for health issues, I would have felt comfortable enough to talk to TEAN about it.

* Safety:

The Gold Coast was probably the safest palce I have felt living out of the mahy places I have lived in my life. The community as a whole was extremely friendly and everyone always wanted to start up a conversation with you. Ithink I felt even more safe knowing that the police station was right next to where I lived. There was not one point while I lived in the Gold Coast that I had felt unsafe.

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

I would choose TEAN all over again for my study abroad experience. Everything about TEAN was so organized and smooth with the process of applying and traveling out to my host-city. Their employees really care about what they do and enjoy giving their students the best experience possible. I would recommend TEAN to any student looking to study abroad, they will not regret it.

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 found that budgeting money while abroad is a challenge for many. I definitely struggled the most at the beggining of the semester because I was getting used to my community and also needed to buy the essentials for cooking in my apartment. After a few weeks, I started to budget a lot better and by the end had just enough money to do everything I wanted. I advise students to save up as much as they can before their departure. I worked for the two months over my winter break and it was the best decision I had made. The money saved up in those two months helped me see and do many things that I wouldnt have been able to do without it.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I would say that I spent about $150 a week, but it varied depending on what Iwas doing that week.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Start budgeting as soon as you arrive in your host-city! See how much you have for the whole semester and break it down from there. Once you have that all figured out, you will be able to budget a lot more easier throughout the semester.

Language

* 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
* 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?
  • The Employees
  • The Excursions They Offered
  • The Housing
* What could be improved?
  • Nothing needs to be improved, everything was perfect
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew how much I was going to enjoy the program and traveling. Before I left, I knew I liked to travel but after coming back home I realized how much I love it. It is really hard to get back into a normal schedule at my home university after having spent a whole semester in Australia.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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The Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.