Study Abroad in Australia: Best Semester of my "Uni" Years Past Review

By (Geology/Earth Sciences, University of Southern California) for

The University of Queensland: Brisbane - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Even though Australians speak English and are very similar in culture to the US, I have learned so much more about what makes Australia and Australians unique and amazing. Specifically for geology, studying there has helped me decide about what I might want to do after I graduate and living in Australia and working there is now a definite possibility.

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.

As a geology major, the grading system was much more forgiving than it is in the States. However, the classes I took were more demanding than ones from my home university. Despite the challenge, I loved the ones I took and learned about aspects of my major I wouldn't have had the opportunity to study at home. Also, I only had to receive a 50% in my classes to get transfer credit to my home university!

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I didn't deal too much with Australia's program administrator, mainly because they had to deal with probably hundreds if not thousands of study abroad students, but I felt that they knew what they were doing, and if I had needed their help, they would have been able to provide.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I signed up for a housing program called Semester in Australia (SIA) that catered specifically for study abroad students. It was very difficult to apartment hunt before I left and I really did not want to get to Australia two weeks early in the heat of the summer and try to find accommodation close to campus. The other difficulty was that most housing options I saw only offered leases for six months (even though I would only need an apartment for a little less than five months) or worse a year. SIA solved these problems by offering housing just for the academic semester that was within easy walking distance to campus. Staff also provided tours of the campus and the downtown area of Brisbane as well as taking residents to an Australian rules football game (aka "footy"). They really helped me adjust to my new home and made my transition time stress free.

* Food:

Food was great as was availability of whatever you wanted (minus Mexican food). However, in general, food was expensive in relation to costs in the States. However, that's a country wide issue, not specific to Brisbane.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I got an opportunity to go to both a soccer game and a footy game with my Australian friends and both were a lot of fun. It was also fun to just go out to bars and clubs with both American and Australian friends as the nightlife in Brisbane is great. None of these activities were organized by a study abroad program.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

As I mentioned before, one of the orientation meetings during the first week specifically covered safety to international students in Australia, covering everything from urban safety from criminals to wildlife safety. I felt that they knew what they were talking about and provided helpful information for me.

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)


How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Direct Enrollment

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? While I love my home university, I know my semester in Australia is the highlight of my 8 semesters I'll have in college. I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone. I am in love with the country and was amazed at the hundreds of different things they have to offer there.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Australia's Marine Environment

Course Department: MARS2005
Instructor: Multiple instructors
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This course was not too difficult academically, but it was definitely well worth it. They had two main field trips for the class, the first going to North Stradbroke Island and the second going to Heron Island on the Great Barrier Reef! All of my friends who took the class loved it and it was an amazing opportunity to learn about your host country's wildlife and experience it first hand.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Ore Deposits and Exploration Geology

Course Department: ERTH3001
Instruction Language:
Comments: This was a course that I do not have the opportunity to take at my home university, but it's a course that I am so glad that I took. It was the most challenging one during my study abroad semester, but it was so worth it. The professor was very knowledgeable and was a great teacher. I loved the field trip and I made so many friends from this and other geology classes. Since taking this class, it's opened my eyes to other post graduate career opportunities and the possibility of moving back to Australia to work.
Credit Transfer Issues: By just passing this class (50% or higher) I received upper division credit at my home university!