My Study Abroad Experience In Australia

By Katherine Hupp on March 2, 2015

I studied abroad this past fall semester on the Gold Coast: Australia at Bond University. It was 3 months full of traveling, meeting new friends from all over the world and learning about Australian culture.

Image via studyoptions.com

Social Life

One of the biggest surprises of my study abroad experience was the number of international students at my school (who were mainly American). The culture of college life was eerily similar to the University of Illinois because the school consisted of mainly American college students.

Fraser Island, Australia

I enjoyed my time there and loved meeting fellow study abroad students who were also new to Australia. A unique thing about studying abroad was that some other students studying abroad were from other places.

I had friends from Australia, Singapore, China, Taiwan, Japan, Germany and the Faroe Islands, all places with very different cultures and perspectives on life. The opportunity to have a group of friends from all over the world opened my eyes to other cultures.

Travel

I honestly did not plan on traveling within Australia too much until I arrived and the school discussed with all of the study abroad students the endless number of sights to see in Australia.

From walking on beaches to exploring City life, I had the chance to travel from the Gold Coast to the Great Barrier Reef. I traveled all over and experienced the country’s beauty first hand.

Melbourne alleyway art

I have a love for cities and found the differences between Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney to be really interesting from a cultural perspective.

Brisbane is a quiet city, mainly for business, while Melbourne is vibrant and full of artwork. Sydney is a mix of nature and city life and the home of two iconic symbols of Australia: the Sydney Bridge and Opera House.

Nature

From koalas to kangaroos, Australia is known for its cute animals, beaches and rain forests. I got to experience petting kangaroos and holding kangaroos within a wildlife sanctuary.

Kangaroos are also prevalent in the wild; I saw many in their natural habitat while hiking. I also traveled to numerous islands and beaches throughout the semester and developed a love for the outdoors.

My love for nature led to an impulse trip with two of my friends; we found a good deal and decided to travel to Bali, Indonesia. Traveling to a new country outside of Australia where little English is spoken was a great experience and I was able to learn about Indonesian culture.

One of my favorite aspects of studying abroad was climbing a mountain at two in the morning in Indonesia in order to see the sunrise from the top.

The hike was not for beginners, which my friend and I definitely were, so we struggled and failed epically. However, once we made it to the top, we were met by a spectacular view which made the experience worth it. We saw wild monkeys, cooked eggs naturally with the volcano steam and learned a temple was part of the mountain.

View from Mt. Batur

Adventure

Somehow, as a result of being in Australia, I became adventurous. Australia is known as an adventure tourism destination. In Cairns, I attempted and failed to scuba dive, went whitewater rafting and even rode ATVs. Most surprising of all, and despite my fear of heights, I randomly decided to skydive with friends and loved it.

 Classes

In some ways Australian culture appears to be a reflection of the United States. But that is an oversimplification, because Australia is unique in its own ways. Australia has an interesting history which impacts its current culture, which I learned about in the classes I took.

The classes, Australian Popular Culture and Australian Writing, both taught me about the history of Australia in direct relation to modern day popular culture. My new found love of adventure came about from a management class called “Adventure Tourism,” which taught us how to create a traveling agency along with practical theories related to tourism.

My study abroad experience taught me how to live in a new country and to appreciate the opportunity I had to learn, study and travel in Australia. Part of the appeal of living in a new country for me was becoming a part of it by traveling and doing new things that I never would have thought of doing before arriving in Australia. I learned how to appreciate other cultures and gained a newfound love of traveling, nature and adventure.

Now that I am back in the United States, I plan to travel more within the US and appreciate the environment where I live. I also have a new desire to travel and hope the opportunity to travel more in the future arises so I can learn more about different cultures.

English Major. I love film and enjoy writing about Entertainment and Fashion.

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