Best decision of my life: Studying abroad in Sydney Past Review

By (Business Administration, University of New Hampshire) for

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My study abroad experience definitely opened me up to new cultures and allowed me to get to know people very different from me. I feel as though I have grown as a person in many ways. I learned that I can live on my own in another country completely across the world. I can adapt to and be successful in new surroundings. My future plans will involve more travelling and hopefully either living or working abroad.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

When I went to Australia, I needed 4 courses for my major to tranfer back in order to graduate on time. I would highly recommend to take Gen Ed or elective classes while abroad. Studying was a low priority when there were so many other new and interesting things to do. I wish I could have taken easier classes. The grading methods are very different from UNH. In all of my classes there were barely assignments over the course of the semester and then the final exam was worth 50 or 60% of my final grade. It was very hard to do the readings every week when I knew that I would not have a test until my final but I would highly recommend staying caught up on evereything.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I was very impressed with the Study Australia orientation once we all arrived in Sydney. This week was a highlight for many people. We learned a lot about Australia in general, academics in a different country and lots of other helpful things. We were given a walking tour around the city which was a great help to figuring out where everything was located. All of the activities planned this week, absailing in the Blue Moutains, wildlife park trip, etc. were key in getting to know new people in the program. The friends I made during orientation were pretty much the main group of friends that I kept the entire semester.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I would have to say that one of my favorite parts of going through Study Australia were our housing. I lived in the Tiffany Apartments with 6 other girls with an amazing view of the city. We were just 10 minutes away from Bondi Beach and with the trains and buses right below our building, we could go anywhere in the city very easily. The apartments were amazing, definitely not what I was expecting for college kids. The only problem with our apartments were that since they were so nice, and very expensive, many of the other people that lived there were business executives and some families. There were many times when noise complaints were made and Tiffany's management was not too happy.

* Food:

Let me first say that I am a very picky eater and can barely cook. I have never tried more different types of food in my life. Australia is packed with every type of cuisine you can think of, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Cambodian, Lebanese, and the list goes on. Going out to eat, especially in the city can get very pricey so I would recommend cooking for yourself as much as possible. I usually shopped at the Woolworth's or Coles located across the street from my apartment building and spent between $30-$40 a week on food. Also, if you live in Bondi Junction, the food court in Westfield has a huge selection of food that is decently priced.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I have so many good experiences from studying abroad. One of my favorite was Study Australia's spring break trip to Thailand. It was so interesting in fun to be in a culture so different from our own. In Chiang mai, it was kind of how I imagined a third world country to be. The shopping was great, lots of night markets and vendors on the street that you could bargain with. Down south, I have never been to a more beautiful place. The beaches were breath taking. Similar to orientation, the people that I was close to on the trip became really good friends with that I still keep in touch with after coming home. Another great experience that stands out in my mind was actually required for one of the classes I was taking. My cross cultural management class required me to participate in a new cultural experience. I chose aussie rules football. Some of my friends and I went to a girl's club footy practice at Sydney Uni. We never actually played in a game but we learned to kick, throw, tackle and ran all of the drills just like the rest of the girls. It was so much fun and everyone was so welcoming and seemed impressed that we wanted to learn their sport. We were invited out to the pub after to hang out with the whole team after practice, or training as they say. There are many more memories hanging out with new Australian friends and American friends.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I never felt unsafe while I was in Australia. I was very comfortable walking around the area we lived, Bondi Junction, by myself at night to run to the store or something. I probably wouldn't venture into the middle of the city by myself in the middle of the night but I would not do that at home either. The Study Australia staff made recommendations about where to stay away from at night if you are by yourself and I followed their guidlines. Luckily I never had to experience the local healthcare system but I have a friend that needed to go to the hospital and one of the Study Australia staff members went with her and helped take care of everything.

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)

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I would highly recommend going abroad! If you are worried about the money, like many people are, there are many ways to do this affordably. Study Australia offers scholarships and it definitely possible to keep on a budget. I had the time of my life and met tons of people from everywhere in the world and saw places that I never imagined I would get to see in my lifetime. I hope everyone seriously considers a semester abroad.