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Jadan Zawierucha

About My Study Abroad Program

Major/Minor: Biology and Neuroscience
Program: UNC Neuropharmacology in Australia
Location: Sydney, Australia
Term: Summer 2023


Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you select your program?
One of my bucket list travel locations has always been Sydney, Australia. When I saw that NSCI 221, neuropharmacology, was being taught there over the summer, I was highly interested in the program. NSCI 221 both gave me credit towards my neuroscience minor and allowed me to be introduced to how medicine works in the brain and body, something I am very interested in. Not only that, but jointly taking a class at the University of Sydney during the program intrigued me because I knew it would immerse me in Australia's culture even more, as it did. When my future interests aligned with a place I have always wanted to explore and learn about, I knew this program was meant for me.


What did you learn about yourself?
Through this experience, I learned that doubt holds me back from so many opportunities in my life. Pushing myself out of my comfort zone to travel across the world as far as Australia without knowing anybody else in the program proved to be so worthwhile, memorable, and cherishable for the rest of my life. I made more connections, friendships, and memories than I ever anticipated going into the program and I gained so much knowledge through NSCI 221 and its components. Furthermore, I learned to say yes more than no, even if I don't have the energy or desire to do something in the moment because every time I said yes during this program it proved to be so worthwhile. From the Blue Mountains trip alone, I felt so accomplished and fulfilled after completing 3 strenuous hiking trips that I originally thought would be more difficult than they actually were. The weekend was truly a once in a lifetime experience with the support and collective struggle of the rest of the class, as was the program as a whole.


What is one of your favorite memories from your program?
One of my favorite memories from my program in Sydney was going on a weekend trip to the Blue Mountains for my University of Sydney class. Some of my other friends in the UNC Neuroscience program also took the same class at USyd, so we all got to stay in cabins together in the mountains. We hiked 986 steps down into and back up to see the Three Sisters on day 1, the Grand Canyon on day 2, and a giant waterfall on day 3. On day 2, we all woke up at 7 am to watch the sun rise over the mountains, which was indescribable. Aside from becoming so close as a group, we also bonded with the other international students in our USyd class from pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones that weekend and being immersed into a part of Australian culture.


What advice do you have for future study abroad students?
My advice is to not let those uncertainties hold you back. There is always so many resources and so much support while you are abroad, so there is almost always a way to sort through conflicts and uncertainties. Not only that, but it may or may not be the only time in your life that you are in that location (and taking a certain class there), so you have to live every day of your program as if you may never have the chance to make it back there again!


How do you identify?
First Generation College Student


Could you share any experiences where your identity played a role in your time abroad?
Having been the first in my family to have an opportunity like this due to being a first generation college student, it made me appreciate this program and everything I took from it on a deeper level. I truly made sure to make the most of my program, both academically and socially.