Danielle is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Australia
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
I always knew that I wanted to study abroad; it's part of the reason that I chose St. Ben's. I knew that studying at St. Ben's would allow me to find opportunities and adventures I wouldn't have at a different school, especially when it came to studying abroad. I chose to go to Australia because I have always wanted to go there, and I knew that realistically I would probably never have the opportunity to go there again, especially for almost five months. So the decision was pretty easy for me. My parents were also super supportive of my decision to study abroad, because they never had the chance to have a study abroad experience, and they wanted me to be able to.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
While we were in Australia, we were all required to take an Australian History class that is specifically designed for study abroad students. Part of that class included a week long field trip to the outback, where we stayed with an Aboriginal family. They took us on all sorts of adventures, and showed us different landmarks and sites that were special to them and their traditions. We also spent one evening sitting around a campfire while some of the elders told us stories. It was really cool to be able to apply what we were learning in class to real life.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
My overall experience was incredible. I find it really hard to answer the question "what was your favorite thing?", because I did so much really fun stuff while I was there. I had the chance to travel to Exmouth in northern Western Australia, Karijini National Park, Sydney, Australia, and I even spent a few days in Thailand. Besides all of that, I really enjoyed getting to be directly enrolled in the classes at UNDA. It was fun to have Australian professors and classmates who a lot of times wanted to know about life in the United States. I also felt like the classes were compatible with classes at CSBSJU, in the sense that they weren't way too easy or too hard. I will definitely never forget my time abroad, and I'm already saving up to go back someday.
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?
I think that studying abroad allowed me to become much more independent than I was before. We had to do all of our own cooking, and I had to learn how to budget my money. I also learned how to get places without the help of my phone, since I didn't have a data plan while I was abroad. I think that studying abroad adds overall experience to your resume in a variety of ways. I also got to take classes I wouldn't have thought about taking, or get the chance to take back home, including our Australian history class, as well as the class I took called Aboriginal people. Going abroad allowed me to expand my academic horizons in a great way.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
If you are thinking about it, DO IT. You won't regret it. It might be expensive, but the experiences, friends, and memories are way more than worth it. I know that I'll never have an experience like this again. So go abroad, get out of your comfort zone, and be adventurous. Make friends with the locals, go explore downtown Perth, and try new foods. Just don't leave saying "I wish I would have done this when I had the chance".