Jillian is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Australia
Major: Nutrition: Dietetics
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
I've always dreamed of traveling to Australia and I think study abroad gave me the best opportunity to do so. I was in love with the fact that Australia's climate is so diverse.. You can go from the desert, to mountains, to the beach, to a rainforest just in one area! I wanted to learn more about the Australian culture and how it differed but also how it was similar to the United States. Also, the Aboriginal culture struck my interest which made me want to learn more about the lifestyle that these people live in Australia.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
Hands down it was the Outback Excursion. Reading about that trip prior to actually traveling to Kalgoorlie/the Goldfields is a whole different experience then actually immersing myself in the culture. It was amazing to learn about the Aboriginal culture from an Elder and to be able to grow relationships with other cultures. I especially enjoyed the Aboriginal dance that Greg (our amazing leader) taught us on the last night. It was so cool how into this dance people got. We painted our face and danced around the fire. I was amazed to hear about the stories of this culture. Ultimately, this trip formed me into a well-diverse individual with experiences that will last me a lifetime.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
Absolutely loved it! I don't think there was a better program that fit me as an individual. It's amazing how nervous I was prior to leaving Minnesota (Ah, yikes that plane ride?!) But everything went smoothly. The plane ride may seem daunting but it's honestly not that bad. Sit back, relax, and realize you're traveling to Australia!! I loved the group that I studied with and they truly became my family. The classes were challenging, don't get me wrong, but it's all about balancing fun and work. Freo definitely became my second home and I left a part of me there- hopefully I'll be able to return someday. Overall, I was impressed with how well studying abroad prepared me for the future. I became more independent and confident in myself and my abilities.
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?
So many benefits!!! Regardless of where you study abroad, you WILL become a more independent individual. When you're abroad and so far away from home, you can't go home to your parents/guardians. You have to figure out things for yourself. I know especially for me, it taught me how to budget. Australia can get spendy but if you're smart with your money, you'll be fine. Also you do become a more well-rounded, diverse individual because you're immersing yourself in a different culture and atmosphere than the United States. Some people think Australia isn't that different compared to the United States but they are definitely wrong. There are many different culturally aspects of Australia that any person from the States will pick up one. Employers will love to see that you have studied abroad on your resume because of the worldwide acknowledgment. You went outside the United States bubble to develop relationships with people around the whole wide! Talk about that for networking.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
DEFINITELY study abroad. You will not regret a thing because of the experiences that you will cherish for your whole life. Also- don't worry about money, everything will work out. BUT do spend your money on experiences--travel, seeing the world around you.