International Programs Office
Student Success Center
Campus Box 1159
Study Abroad Coordinator
Dr. Ronald Schaefer
International Programs Director
I fell in love with Australia. My attraction began when the 2000 Olympic Games were held in Sydney, and I was glued to the television. The pictures of the Gold Coast, Great Barrier Reef, cute koalas, and the Opera House did it. Since then, my desire to go there has only grown. So when I started considering the option of study abroad I knew exactly where I wanted to go.
It all started with what I thought would be the longest flight of my life. Thirteen hours from Los Angeles to Sydney, and that was after the four hour flight from St. Louis to Los Angeles. It’s actually not as bad as you would think. I was sitting next to an Australian man named Gary who took it upon himself to help me plan my trip. He took out a map of Australia from the back of the seat in front of him, and began pointing out various places I should go. He told me more information than I could possibly remember, but he definitely kept me entertained on the plane. He told me that before I left Australia two things that I had to make sure I did were to go surfing and go to a ‘footy’ (Australian Rules Football) game. I made sure I did both.
Finally, I arrived in Sydney where I would be going to school at Macquarie University. I was living on campus at Macquarie University Village, which was built to house the athletes participating in the 2000 Olympic Games. The apartments were really nice, and I was loving everything about Australia. Then school started. I chose Macquarie University because I am a business major and its Master of Business Administration has been ranked one of the finest in the Asia-Pacific, not to mention Macquarie is ranked in the top 100 universities in the world by Times Higher Education Supplement. I was doing a lot more studying than I had expected. However, once I got into a routine of studying and reading I had plenty of time to travel and go out. Plus, I can’t complain too much because before finals you get a ‘study vacation,’ which is over a week long. Students are expected to use this time to study for their finals, but I’m not sure I know any student who actually does this. Anyway you have lots of work and nothing to do for a whole week. Then it’s the usual cram session forty-eight hours before the exam.
While I was in Australia I did a lot of traveling throughout the semester. I started off with my orientation in Cairns where I went snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef. I also went to Crescent Head for a few days of surfing, over Easter break I went to New Zealand for a couple of weeks, and then I went to Brisbane and the Gold Coast. Also, living in Sydney is great because there is always something to do. Australians are known for having a good time, and Sydney is definitely a party town. There is something exciting happening every day and night.
Australia is called ‘The World’s Friendliest Nation,’ and I couldn’t have found this to be truer. I made heaps of friends, and everyone was so welcoming and friendly. While Australia has some of the nicest people in the world the same can not be said for its animals. Besides sharks, crocodiles, stingrays, and jellyfish, Australia has some of the most deadly snakes and spiders. From my experience, as a general rule the insects in Australia are bigger, hairier, and braver. I remember murdering my first giant flying cockroach, which was about a couple inches. Yes, you read that correctly. The cockroaches ‘down under’ can fly and are huge, which in my opinion is just wrong. However, this problem of flying cockroaches and spiders is easily solved with Mortein (Australian Raid) so no worries!
I think studying abroad is one of the greatest opportunities students can take advantage of. It’s a great opportunity to learn everything you can about another culture’s way of thinking and living, and you meet a lot of new people along the way. Studying abroad in Australia was an exciting and rewarding experience, and now that I’m home everyone wants to know how I liked Australia. It was amazing! There are no words to truly explain the experiences I had, and I can’t wait until I can go back.