Mesmerizing city, incredible academics, and perfect support system November 13, 2018

By (University of Wisconsin - Madison) - abroad from 02/10/2018 to 06/28/2018 with

The Education Abroad Network (TEAN): Sydney - University of New South Wales

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned to be independent, manage my own finances, and to take control of my health. It was the most incredible time and experience of my life.

Review Photos

The Education Abroad Network (TEAN): Sydney - University of New South Wales 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.

The courses were about equal in intensity to my classes at UW Madison with amazing content! The professors were engaging and intelligent. Especially for an study abroad student, it was so nice to have professors that were easy to talk to and brought such a positive attitude to the classroom. The campus and facilities were also incredible and gorgeous! I couldn't have asked for a better university, professors, courses, and advisers.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

My TEAN advisers were there for me every step of the way from help with registration, planning fun cultural excursions in the city, and giving me health guidance. They were responsive, easy to talk to, and down to earth! I couldn't have asked for a nicer team to support my trip.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I chose to find housing when I arrived in Sydney and got so incredibly lucky! I found a beautiful shared home to live in up the hill from Coogee Beach and only a 15 minute walk from campus. I had the most incredible experience living with 14 students from around the world who were studying abroad for the semester. My landlord became a close friend and showed us around Sydney all the time.

* Food:

The food was a bit expensive, but manageable! I got used to small grocery shopping trips every other day which became a fun tradition. Every once in a while I ate out because the local Asian cuisines were incredible. All of the food was healthier than in America which was a nice change. Also, the coffee was to die for.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt I learned a lot about a typical day in Sydney through living there and chatting with locals. I wish I would have made more local friends, but everyone I met was very nice!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Around week 9 of my semester (3 months after arriving in Australia), I started experiencing abnormal medical symptoms. Overnight I went from being able to read the board in class to not being able to read a single thing. After a few free visits to the campus optometrist, two weeks of poor vision, and addition symptoms (extreme dehydration, exhaustion, frequent urination, and weight loss) I finally decided it was time to call my TEAN adviser. She answered my call on the first try and was genuinely concerned and helpful in setting up my doctors appointment. She helped me research general practitioners that would be covered by insurance, were close to my house, and had good patient reviews. She checked in with me frequently to ensure I had an appointment scheduled and encouraged me to go to the hospital if I felt unsure of my condition. My adviser was the first person I told when I finally went to the doctor and was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. She was so caring and called/texted me almost every day during and after I got sent to the Emergency Department. I appreciate her endlessly for going above and beyond to be a support system for me away from home. She encouraged me to take ownership over my own health, helped me manage insurance, checked in on my recovery regularly, and made me feel comfortable enough that I didn't feel it was necessary to go back to the States. All in all the healthcare system was easier, faster, more genuine, and cheaper than in the states. My abroad insurance worked perfectly and saved me a lot of money. My doctors were incredibly helpful and responsive - I probably went to see them twice a week until I left the country. I honestly wish I could have my health care team and TEAN family back in the states.

* Safety:

I never felt unsafe in Sydney or on campus! It was the most beautiful city full of terrific people. It was so incredible to see the families let their little kids run around freely without being concerned about their safety. That being said, it is always a good idea to go out with friends and make sure you're aware of your surroundings!

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

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 spent about $50-60 a month on food and saved a little extra for going out. I also set aside $10-15 for bus fare a month. On top of that, rent was a bit expensive and paid bi-weekly and I paid for my phone every few weeks.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $35
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Grocery shop rather than eating out, don't go to expensive clubs with cover charges, research your cheapest phone plans, walk rather than taking the bus when possible, and just be conscientious about how often you travel.

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Other
* 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? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The city
  • The people I lived with
  • My program advisers
* What could be improved?
  • Integration with local students
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I had so much free time since my classes only met once a week each. I wish I would have gotten a job right off the bat, or planned more weekend trips!

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.