Jenna Smull

About My Study Abroad Program

Major/Minor: Biology/Chemistry
Program: University of New South Wales
Location: Sydney, Australia
Term: Fall 2019


Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you select your program?
I have a passion for exploring and traveling and I knew Australia would be a great place to study what I am interested in, which is biology and marine sciences


What did you learn about yourself?
I learned that I enjoy being independent and on my own. I learned that I am able to be on my own in a foreign country and not completely freak out.


What is one of your favorite memories from your program?
Its hard to pick just one, but I think my favorite would be when some friends and I camped and road tripped up the western coast of Australia in a rental van for 10 days.


What advice do you have for future study abroad students?
BRANCH OUT!! you meet so many cool people abroad. and while it is nice to have people from your home university on your program, I highly encourage branching out and meeting other people on the program. You can make the best of friends in the world through experiences like these.


Would you do it again?


How did your study abroad experience prepare you for your future career?
Study abroad taught me how to be independent and confident when it uncomfortable situations that may be out of my comfort zone. I learned how to talk to and interact with people from countries all over the world. I also learned how to be around other cultures different then mine and fully embrace them without judgement


How were your classes abroad different than if you would have taken them at UNC?
There was a lot more independent work outside of class. Classes were just lectures from guest professors, and then all assignments were projects done outside of class. Little instruction was given about the projects so you really had to take initiative and be diligent about work to make sure you properly complete the assignment.


Could you share any experiences where your identity played a role in your time abroad?
I am usually always the friend who is kind of like the "mom" of the friend group. One time my friends and I got stranded with a flat tire in the middle of the outback in the middle of the night. We all stayed calm and called around to see what we should do/who could help us. I took the role of calling the police and telling them the situation, and in the morning I helped my friends change the tire until another car passed us and helped us with our tire. It was a super scary situation being stranded and I could have easily freaked out, but I stayed calm and knew I was safe with my friends and I would make it out eventually


Is there any advice you would give to other students who share your identity?
When you're in a strange place that seems scary its super easy to freak out, but just stay calm and know that everything will always work out.


If you faced any challenges abroad, where could you turn to get the support you needed?
I really relied on the people I lived with while abroad. I lived in a big international house with 32 other exchange students from all over the world and these people became my second family. Any time I felt homesick I could go to them and they would always make me feel better


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