About My Study Abroad Program
Major/Minor: Global Studies major, Health and Society minor
Program: University of Sydney
Location: Sydney, Australia
Term: Spring 2019
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you select your program?
Coming into college, I didn't know what I wanted to study or what kind of career I wanted, but I was sure I wanted to study abroad. Thanks to a scholarship I received when I applied to UNC, I was able to get my first study abroad experience the summer after my first year. I went to Florence, Italy for 4 weeks through the UNC in Firenze program. That month really opened my eyes and reassured me that I wanted to spend a whole semester abroad. It took me a while to decide where I wanted to go for a semester, but ultimately I ended up choosing to go to Sydney. I have loved Australia since I was little and have always wanted to go, so it made sense for me to study abroad there so that I would have time to really explore the country. I chose to go to the University of Sydney because it had classes that I needed and I wanted to experience living in a city.
What did you learn about yourself?
While in Australia, I really learned how independent and out-going I can be. I am usually a shy person and like to do things with others, but moving across the world forced me to step out of my comfort zone. I learned that I can do things I did not think I was capable of. I also learned more about what I want to do after graduation.
What is one of your favorite memories from your program?
It's very hard to just pick one, but it would probably have to be the road trip I went on during our Mid-Semester break. Two friends and I flew to Western Australia and drove down the coast. We drove through a lot of desert and other beautiful landscapes I had never seen before. I was able to drive on the other side of the road, which I have always wanted to do. I also went snorkeling, saw quokkas (the happiest animals on Earth), was able to see the Milky Way due to there being zero light pollution, and went camping. It was one of the best weeks ever and I made the most amazing memories. A close second would have to be skydiving over the Great Barrier Reef!
What advice do you have for future study abroad students?
Apply for scholarships(!!), get a job while abroad, force yourself to do new things, immerse yourself into the culture, live in the moment, travel as much as possible
Would you do it again?
100%, and if I had more time at UNC I would even try to study abroad for another semester!
How were your classes abroad different than if you would have taken them at UNC?
The class structure in Australian universities is very different than it is here. For most of my classes, I only had class once a week, and classes were typically 2 hours long. I only had a few assignments during the semester, with most of my classes having larger projects due at the end of the term. I was able to structure my classes so that I only had classes Monday-Wednesday. Additionally, professors seemed more hands-off/not as accessible outside of class, and I called all of my teachers by their first names.
How do you identify?
Could you share any experiences where your identity played a role in your time abroad?
I am not sure how I would have been able to go to Sydney without the scholarship I received. It allowed me to be able to take out less in loans and provided a safety net for me while abroad. I still had to get a job while abroad to make some more money, but it really helped me be able to go abroad.
Is there any advice you would give to other students who share your identity?
Everyone should apply for scholarships, even if you do not think you will get any. There is no harm in applying, and you could be greatly rewarded. Talk to the Study Abroad office if you have any questions about funding your trip!