Caiying Selmo is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Australia
Major: Psychology and Sociology
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
I always knew that I wanted to study abroad during college. I ultimately chose to go to Australia because of the flexibility in classes that we could take. As a double major I needed to take multiple classes that could count towards my major, and Australia was the only option that would easily allow me to do this. I was also looking forward to escaping MN winters for an early summer living next to the ocean!
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
The CSB/SJU group took a road trip down south for our Australian History class. This was an amazing opportunity to learn more about the Aboriginal peoples' experiences in the field as opposed to in the classroom. My favorite activities include participating in a traditional Aboriginal marking ceremony, trying bush foods, and taking in the natural beauty of the Outback.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
Studying abroad has been one of the best experiences of my life. I loved living on campus at the P&O because it's central to everything and I made amazing, lasting friendships with people from all around the world. Overall, living in Australia was different enough from home to be exciting, but still felt similar enough to not feel super overwhelmed by cultural differences.
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?
Studying abroad in Australia allowed me to grow in all areas of my life. Living half way around the Earth from my family and friends launched me into the deep end of what "adulting" is actually like. I had first hand experience of learning how to save dollar coins so I could do laundry, how stressful it is to plan vacations, and how to find a reasonable work-life balance. I also was able to narrow my career interests since I was able to take a variety of classes that delved into different areas of my majors. Finally, one of the most rewarding experiences of studying at UNDA was that my professors pushed me to think more critically in more creative ways than CSB/SJU.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
100% do it!!
Also, don't be afraid of not knowing anyone on your trip! No one really knew each other on my trip and it allowed us to all become friends instead of breaking off into separate friend groups from the beginning.