Andrew Thom is an ambassador who studied abroad in Australia.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
I wanted to study abroad to experience a new culture and meet people from different countries all around the world. I chose Australia because I wanted to study abroad in a country that spoke English and I had always wanted to go to Australia.
Why did you choose the program in which you participated?
The Aboriginal immersion experience was definitely one of the highlights of the trip. We learned about how the Australian Aboriginal culture tries to save their own ways of life while integrating in the European culture. We learned about the difficulties that Aboriginals had when Europeans came to Australia and then when we met actual Aboriginals, we were able to actually discuss with them what it is like to live a completely different lifestyle within the European lifestyle.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
It was the best four months of my life. I got to see how the Australian education system works, travel all throughout Western Australia, meet tons of new people, and experience things that I never had dreamed of experiencing.
How has the trip affected you? How are you different for having completed the experience?
The trip affected me in many ways. Firstly, I met tons of new friends from all around the world (Australia, the UK, Ireland, other parts of the US) that will be some of my best friends for the rest of my life. I also feel like I am a much more open minded person after studying abroad. I went into my program as someone who had not really met anyone that wasn't from the US, and I never really understood how other countries operated. Now, I want to learn more about many other places on earth.
What advice do you have for future Study Abroad Students?
Go for it. You may be nervous going into it, but you will come out at the end a better person with a second family. The people that you meet and the experiences that you encounter throughout a semester abroad will never, ever be forgotten. If I could, I'd go back to Australia in a heartbeat.