Katherine Brown 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 challenge myself to be a better person and broaden my horizons. It was not an easy decision because I had become so attached to the CSB/SJU campuses and I was worried I would miss out on part of my Junior year. However, going to Australia was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I chose Australia because it has always been on my bucket list to visit. It was a great choice for me because they speak English, but their culture was different enough to still challenge me. The environment is incredible; there were beaches, The Outback, the ocean, and so much more.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
Our excursion into The Outback was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. We had been studying the history of Australia and the struggles the Aborigines went through in our history course. We spent five days travelling and seeing historical and environmental sites and learning about the Australian culture firsthand. The last day our group spent time with two Aboriginal guides that led us through The Outback and showed us the spirit of the dessert. We also got to experience fishing and catching a small shark, kayaking with marine life, and sitting around the campfire listening to the sounds of the outdoors.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
I made so many lasting friendships with Australians as well as CSB/SJU students on my trip. I challenged myself by pre-traveling to Queenstown, New Zealand where I stayed in hostels and went sky diving! I traveled to Sydney, Australia where I visited Bondi Beach and witnessed a surf competition. I went to Bali, Indonesia with a group of girls during Easter break; we went to a monkey park, rode elephants, and went kayaking in the rain forest. I grew so much as a person by stepping outside my comfort zone numerous times. I learned so much about the history of Australia and the beauty of the environment. It was an experience that I will talk about for the rest of my life.
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?
Spending a semester abroad is one of the most challenging and rewarding opportunities that CSB/SJU offers. We are lucky enough to have so many amazing study abroad programs at our school that stretch across the world. I went abroad without any close friends, and came back with some of my best friends that I know will last a lifetime. There were so many experiences abroad that I found myself saying, "I cannot believe I actually get to do this!" Personally, studying abroad strengthened my confidence in myself. It brought out the courage I always knew was inside me, and allowed me to try new things daily. Academically it stretched my educational experiences by taking classes in a foreign place. It will look great on my future resume to say that I have had experience with other cultures. I can now incorporate differing historic and environmental factors into future lesson plans for my students. Professionally it is important to have as many experiences as possible to open your eyes and ground you as a person. It is crucial as a professional individual to be able to relate to many cultures and to understand there are so many differing opinions in the world. Traveling has truly aided in my development to become a well-rounded person.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
First of all, the best advice I can offer is simply to go for it! I promise you will not regret your decision. I have had numerous friends and family who have spent a semester studying abroad with a CSB/SJU program, and I have never heard anyone say they regretted going. Make sure to fill out your application to the best of your ability, and practice interviewing!
Do you have questions about studying abroad in Australia? Email Katherine at email@example.com