Studying in Paradise Past Review

By (Wildlife and Conservation Biology, University of Rhode Island) - abroad from 07/13/2015 to 11/21/2015 with

The Education Abroad Network (TEAN): Townsville - James Cook University

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Studying abroad has made me a much more independent and open-minded person. You learn a lot about yourself and what you're capable of when you travel halfway across the world without anyone you're familiar with. From this experience, I gained lifelong friends and unforgettable memories that I will keep with me wherever I go in the future. I have been pushed out of my comfort zone on this trip more times than I can recall, and it had made me realize how valuable this is to help you grow as a person. Overall my experience abroad has provided me with the skills and knowledge necessary to keep traveling and experiencing the world.

Review Photos

The Education Abroad Network (TEAN): Townsville - James Cook University Photo The Education Abroad Network (TEAN): Townsville - James Cook University Photo The Education Abroad Network (TEAN): Townsville - James Cook University Photo The Education Abroad Network (TEAN): Townsville - James Cook University Photo

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.

Classes at JCU were more difficult than classes I have taken at my home university. Your grade starts at 0 and you earn points as you turn in assignments. You also have fewer assignments and finals are usually worth about 50% of your overall grade. I embraced this change in difficulty because in this scenario you truly earn your grades and learn a lot about yourself and what your capable of. There were plenty of resources available, whether we spoke to previous student (including those who have already attended JCU through TEAN) as well as other students on campus and the library. Professors were also helpful if you had any questions on assignments or exams and there was plenty of time to complete assignments.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

We were always able to contact someone if we needed help with something. On-site administration helped us set up our id's, gave specifically international student orientations and campus tours, and were always available if we needed help during the semester. We also had a Resident Director available from TEAN who previously studied abroad in Townsville and lived there with us during the semester. He set up meet-ups at coffee shops and dinners, as well as joined us for activities like paddle boarding, visiting Reef HQ, and going to a Cowboys rugby game. All of these activities were included in the TEAN program as well.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in University Hall which is perfect if you want to balance a social life and your academics. It is right across the street from campus, so you usually only have a 5 or 10 minute walk to class (although campus is more spread out than I realized). The bathroom is coed and hallway-style, and I never had an issue with getting a shower or anything. The rooms are all singles and have a balcony. I mean who doesn't want to sit outside on their balcony in Australia under a palm tree?

* Food:

The food is not the best, especially compared to American university dining halls, but you can make the most of it. I'm a picky eater, so that is probably why I feel this way, but there was always an option ranging from chicken, beef, or even meat pies. There are great options at different cafes and restaurants on and around campus and a Woolworth's where you can get anything you want to make.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt integrated very well, especially because of the orientation TEAN offered in Sydney. They showed us the ropes of living in Australia and engaged us in activities that adjusted us to the culture such as climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge, visiting Featherdale Wildlife Park, doing a walking tour of the city, and taking a dinner cruise around Sydney Harbour. Once we got to Townsville, they had a variety of activities available for us to take part in such as seeing a rugby game, paddle boarding, and visiting Reef HQ. The administration at JCU was very helpful and were always eager to help us international students. They offered campus tours and held barbecues and lunches where we would get to know both international students and Australians. One other thing that helped with integration was living in a dorm on campus because it was easy to meet and become friends with Aussies.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Healthcare was easily accessible and was on campus. The overseas insurance I had covered my doctors visit and the staff was extremely nice and helpful. My program gave me the paperwork necessary to figure out where to go and how to go about it. It was different there because the pharmacists had more control of prescribing medication than doctors. I didn't need any vaccines for this program and there weren't any prevalent health issues here.

* Safety:

I felt very safe both on campus and in town during the day and night. People were always friendly and would help us with any questions we had whether it be directions or recommendations. The only advice I have is to be careful at night with the animals, especially during breeding season because they can be very protective and aggressive.

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)

Australia is more expensive to live in than the states, but the American Dollar is worth more than the Australian Dollar at the moment so it's a good time to go. As long as you spend money wisely, you can have a great time here and even travel throughout Australia.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? About $50-$100
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Small purchases like a daily coffee or food add up quickly and take away from travel money.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • 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?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The Sydney Orientation
  • TEAN was always available for help and advice
  • The option for the New Zealand Spring break
* What could be improved?
  • Nothing that I can think of.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Nothing, I think learning as you go is a big part of the experience.

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.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:


Course Department: Botany/Zoology
Instructor: Joseph Holtum
Instruction Language: English
Comments: The class was challenging as there was a lot of information to learn, but the information was very interesting and the professor was so passionate about what he was teaching us so it was enjoyable. We took a field trip to the surrounding forest ecosystems and spent 3 days up at the Paluma Rainforest where we did field work and it was an amazing experience for the traveler and the student in me. We were assessed by work we completed on the field trip (field notebook), a major essay, 2 labs, a midterm exam and a final exam.
Credit Transfer Issues: I did not have any issues transferring credits.