Tasmania: Nature, Culture, and the Best Five Months of my Life Past Review

By (Psychology, Art, Clark University) for

University of Tasmania: Hobart - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Going to Tasmania was a huge learning experience for me. I really was able to come out of my shell and do so many things I never thought I would do. I feel like I've grown as a person, gained a better appreciation of different cultures, and really learned that I am strong and independent, and can adapt to any environment I end up in. That was a big step for me, and the fact that I was able to feel at home so quickly and readily in Tasmania made me gain confidence in myself and who I am. It really got me interested in traveling more as well. I mean, I was always interested in traveling, but now that I've seen another part of the world, I've just become obsessed with exploring even more of it! My study abroad experience didn't change my academic interests or future plans very much (except for the fact that I hope to do a lot more traveling!), but it had a huge personal impact, which I feel is the most important thing anyway.

Review Photos

Direct Enrollment: Hobart - University of Tasmania Photo Direct Enrollment: Hobart - University of Tasmania Photo Direct Enrollment: Hobart - University of Tasmania Photo Direct Enrollment: Hobart - University of Tasmania Photo Direct Enrollment: Hobart - University of Tasmania 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.

The overall workload I thought was lighter than my school at home, which was nice! It gave me more time to travel and explore the country. The grading system was completely different, though. Instead of the typical American system with A's, B's, C's, etcetera, they have classifications of pass, credit, distinction, and high distinction. I was terrified when I received a 62% on my first assignment, but then found out that that percentage was in the credit range, and transferred as a B back home! It was definitely something to get used to. The teaching methods I found to be pretty much the same as back home, and all of my teachers were kind and very helpful!

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in a single room in a dorm. It was very clean and a pretty good size and the people in my hall were incredibly friendly. There was a good mix of students from Australia, the United States, and then a few from other countries as well. My hall was part of a big group of halls, and all together they formed Christ College. Despite the name, it was completely nondenominational. The bathrooms in my hall were unisex, which didn't bother me. They were always very clean, which was nice. Each floor also had a basic kitchen, with a fridge, sink, and microwave. There was a larger kitchen with more fridges, storage areas, and tons of stoves available at Christ College, just not in each dorm. Pepperz, the cafeteria, was right next to Christ College too, so if you didn't feel like cooking you could always go there! The laundry facilities were clean and easy to access, and there is even a gym right next to the dorm! It's quite small, there are only a few treadmills and bikes and a rowing machine, but it's nice to have it available. Life at Christ College was really laid back, and people were generally respectful. There were security people that you could call if you had a complaint about noise or anything else, and they were very attentive. At Christ College there were a few common areas for people to hang out, with couches, televisions, and a few pool tables. There were often parties sponsored by Christ College, always after big sports matches, and sometimes just for fun on weekends. These parties were tons of fun, but since the drinking age in Australia is only eighteen, many of the students would get drunk. Even without drinking the parties were a really good time though, they were one of my favorite parts about living at Christ College. As for location, Christ College was up on a hill overlooking campus. It was a fairly secluded area, with only a few residential streets nearby. Depending on what building class was in, it took between five and fifteen minutes to walk to class. To get to the University Center took about ten minutes. Walking to the supermarket from the dorm took about half an hour, and to downtown Hobart took about an hour. I walked to the store and downtown frequently; it's a really beautiful area so I didn't mind that it took a while! The only warning I have is that walking back up to the dorm is a bit of a pain because the hill it is on is huge. There are many stairs and hills and it took a lot of getting used to. There is a shuttle that runs loops from downtown, to the grocery store, to some of the lower buildings on campus, and then up to the dorm, so if walking up hills isn't your thing, the shuttle is available. While traveling with friends around Tasmania, we mainly just camped or stayed with one of their families. However, when we went to the mainland, we stayed in quite a few hostels in Melbourne, The Gold Coast, Cairns, and Port Douglas. I would definitely recommend staying in hostels, they are cheaper than normal hotels, and although they might be a bit dirtier and run down, the atmosphere at a hostel is really great because they tend to mostly be full of college age students. All of them had swimming pools and internet available, and many of them served meals for really low prices.

* Food:

There was a cafeteria called Pepperz that served my dorm and the neighboring dorm. The location was great because it was literally right outside the dorm, and the hours were reasonable. It was a fun place to hang out as well as eat, as they had a piano and pool tables and hosted formal dinners a few times. The food was alright, but definitely had a few problems. The portion size was great and the food was tasty, but the menu leaned heavily on meat, potatoes, and pasta. There was always one vegetarian dish available, but for the most part it was a lot of the same kind of food, and pretty much always involved meat. They were able to serve people with dietary restrictions, though; I had a friend with several allergies and they always had a special dish for him every night. As for advice on where to dine, I love Devil's Kitchen Cafe on Sandy Bay Road. They don't have a large range of food, mainly just burgers, but they were incredibly delicious and the cost was really low. I ate there many, many times. Also, Salamanca Market is a fun place to go to try new foods and to buy a lot of fresh produce.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

During orientation week, my dorm took us on a lot of local tours, which was really great. We went on a tour of Cascade Brewery, where we learned about the beer-making process and got to do a tasting at the end. We also went to the Port Arthur historic site and went on a ghost tour. Port Arthur was once a prison for convicts, and now they give ghost tours there because it is abandoned and has a really spooky atmosphere. Definitely worth visiting! On my own, my friends and I went to some of the events for Ten Days on the Island, which is an annual ten day festival in Hobart. There are plays and museum openings and many other artistic events all around the city. We went to a show called Power Plant, which was a giant installation art piece in the Royal Hobart Botanical Gardens. There were lights and lasers and strange sounds and it's really hard to describe exactly what it was like... but it was really amazing. I also went to several art museums around Hobart, such as the MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) and the natural history museum. The MONA was interesting, although some of the content can be a bit disturbing, so be warned. The Bonorong Zoo was another place we visited, and it was so much fun. We got to feed camels, emus, and a white lion! There was also a big field that you could go into where kangaroos and wallabies were hanging out, and they were so friendly you could go up and pet them! One last thing to mention is Salamanca Market, which is a must do. It's on every Saturday morning, until two or three in the afternoon. Local artists and farmers come and sell high quality produce and various arts and crafts. It's really vibrant, with street performers and musicians every few meters along the street. Even if you don't buy anything, it's a fun place to hang out and people watch. It's right down by the waterfront too, so it's always packed when the weather is nice. I also played on the rugby team for Christ College. I didn't expect to play a sport while abroad, especially since I haven't played an organized sport since high school! It was a ton of fun, though, and I really formed a bond with the other girls on my team. If you like being active but sports aren't your thing, Climbing Mount Wellington is another thing to do. The walk is a bit of a challenge, but the view from the top is amazing. I also went white water rafting quite often, which was one of my absolute favorite things. While in Tasmania you absolutely must take advantage of the nature there. It's rugged and largely untouched and completely unique to the rest of Australia. Everything I just named was within a twenty minute car ride of Hobart, so as you can see there is plenty to see and many cultural events to explore! Some friends and I traveled to New Zealand and up to mainland Australia as well, and did a lot of exploring and went to more festivals and parks and cultural events there too, but you can figure that part out by yourself!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I never had a need to visit a doctor during the time I was abroad, so I can't comment much on that. I didn't need any vaccines to travel to Tasmania or around Australia or New Zealand. As for safety, I loved Hobart. The city is easy to navigate, it's very clean, and the people are really friendly. The UTAS campus is really nice and I felt very safe there. Even when I was out at night, even on my own, I never felt uncomfortable. It's a beautiful area and much safer than the town where I grew up or the town where I go to school in the US, so it was definitely a nice change!

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)

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

  • Dorm
  • Hostel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
  • Local Students

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? If you're nervous about going abroad, it's okay. I was too. I tend to be fairly introverted and become incredibly shy when put in a large group of new people. I was scared to leave my friends behind for such a long time, and knowing that once I was there I couldn't come home even if I wanted to was a bit daunting. Also, the money that it was going to cost was freaking me out. However, once I became determined and went, and now that I'm home again, I can honestly tell you, it was the best experience of my life. I'm so thankful that I mustered up the courage and went for it. If you're from the United States, Australia is literally on the other side of the world. It's about as far from home as you can get. Just keep an open mind and be willing to make friends. Give everyone a chance, because you never know who could surprise you and turn out to be one of your best friends! Most importantly, if you have even the slightest interest in doing something, just do it. The longer I was there, I found myself thinking "Am I scared to do this? Yes? Well, will I regret it if I don't at least try it? Yes." and that was that. Take advantage of every moment. Australia is a beautiful country and has so much to offer. I found that this experience allowed me to grew so much as a person and become more confident in myself. The fact that I was on my own across the world really freed up my mind and I did so many things I never thought I could or would, and it felt amazing. I can't say it enough, take advantage of every moment and try as many new things as possible. The type of student that would benefit the most from this program would probably be the type who likes to be outdoors. Tasmania's nature is beautiful and there are so many opportunities to swim, hike, camp, climb... really any outdoor activity! People going to Tasmania will benefit the most if they have an open mind, a laid-back attitude, and a sense of adventure. As for academics, it's a great place to study anything environment-related, and I was there for the School of Art, which was a great experience as well. The University of Tasmania really has a wide variety of things to study, though, so I think most students would have fulfilling classes. The school is great, but I found that the country itself was what made me enjoy the program the most.