Brooke is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Australia
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
I chose to study abroad because I wanted to do something outside of my comfort zone and push myself to try something new. I chose Australia because I love the outdoors whether it's camping, swimming, or playing sports and Australia fit these all. Another reason I chose this program was for the variety of courses offered at UNDA that helped fulfill my major as well as some common curriculums. The best part was there was no language requirement. One of my favorite parts of the Australia program was the fact that you not only got to live with your fellow Bennies and Johnnies, but you also got the experience of living with other international students from all over the world including some Australians. So you not only got to learn about the Australian culture, but you also got a taste of other international cultures and how different each one is.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
For a week we got the chance to stay with an Aboriginal host family where we learned about their culture and history. They family told stories, showed us how to survive in the Bush, and their way of living and how they still follow some of the same traditions to this day. This experience showed me how different someone's life can be based on his or her culture. It was an eye opening experience.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
My semester abroad was the best time of my life. I met so many amazing people and still stay in contact with them today whether they are from CSB/SJU or from a different country. Australia has some stunning scenery, beaches, and some amazing people. I was able to travel to so many places, and engage in experiences where it taught me how to be more independent and how you can accomplish so much more when you put yourself out there.
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?
A key benefit to spending the semester abroad is you learn a lot about yourself and you become a more independent person. For me I became a lot more comfortable with meeting new people and it helped to keep an open mind. It also showed me that I can do anything I put my mind to and I am a lot stronger that I thought I was.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
Study abroad is one of the best experiences where you can learn about a new culture but make some pretty amazing memories and have the time of your life. The four months you are aboard go by fast so make every moment count because before you know it your time abroad will be over. Remember to keep an open mind, try new things, and it will make your time abroad so much more enjoyable.