Kelsey Bretschneider is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Australia.
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
The thought of traveling to the other side of the world has always intrigued me. I am a lover of animals, so having the opportunity to travel to Australia and live there for four and a half months really struck my interests. The animals and people living in Australia are so unique that I would never be able to grasp the 'Aussie lifestyle' without taking this opportunity and running with it. It has helped me become a more diverse person and more culturally aware.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
I am a lover of sports, so naturally I jumped at the chance to join a netball team with my fellow Bennies and Johnnies. We were the only team that had never played, let alone heard of, this sport. I personally got to substitute in an Australian netball team, which was an experience in itself. They were an amazing team, so I tried to help model our team off of them. Throughout the season we began to learn the game and hone our strengths at specific positions. By the end of the year we were winning games and received much praise from the referees for picking up the sport so quickly. We had so much fun! I will never forget that.
Describe your overall study abroad experience
Amazing! This trip brought me to be a new person; with more confidence, more awareness of cultural diversity, and has brought many strong new relationships with persons from CSB/SJU as well as Australia, Ireland, Oregon, etc. I am 100% set on the fact that I would not have had the same experience nor life-changing moments if I had only visited the country on a vacation. Studying abroad was the BEST decision I ever made while in college. There was nothing like it and I will remember that experience for the rest of my life. I loved the location too, right by the beach!
Based on your experiences abroad, what are some of the benefits of spending a semester abroad? How has studying abroad contributed to your personal, academic, and professional development?
- You get the opportunity to meet new people of a different culture, as well as make deeper connections with Bennies and Johnnies.
- By spending 4-5 months in a different country, you get to experience many things that a week or two vacation would miss.
- I have become a more independent person and feel that my experiences have helped me grow a lot as a person.
- Also, studying abroad has greatly enhanced my resume for graduate schools by promoting my cultural diversity.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
JUST DO IT!!! It sounds cheesy, yes, but the memories you will make are entirely worth one semester gone. Also, most people don't get the opportunity to travel for 5 months once they are out of college, especially if they are going on to a graduate program and already have a bunch of student loans. You will find out so much about yourself, as well as the culture and people around you. Studying abroad will change your life forever, and you will never regret it.
Email me email@example.com for the link to my blog.