Lauren Rezac '21

Program: Australia Spring Semester

Major: Biology

Minor: Global Business Leadership


Why did you choose to study/intern abroad and how did you decide on this program?        

I wanted to study abroad because a lot of my peers and professors encouraged it and told me about their amazing experiences. I chose Australia because it was one of the only programs that allowed me to take classes that counted toward my major. Because Australia is all the way across the world, I knew it would be a place that I might not otherwise get to travel to. Also, it's hard to beat being near the ocean and in the sun for a whole semester.

Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your program that made a lasting impression.   

Our group went to an Australian footy game and it was a very educating experience. Not only did I learn about a sport that is only played in Australia, I also witnessed a welcoming atmosphere that embodied Australia's national identity. The stadium was filled with people full of pride for their country and team. It was a very cool and memorable experience.

Describe your overall study/internship abroad experience.    

Although my experience was cut short, I was still able to see and do a lot of exciting things. I pre-traveled to New Zealand with a group that I barely knew. We quickly became close friends as we learned new things, overcame challenges, and made lots of memories together. In Australia, I met a lot of cool people and took interesting and challenging courses. I got to know my professors as the class sizes were similar to CSB/SJU. I was able to go on excursions with our whole group and even did some independent traveling with a few people from my residence hall.

Based on your experiences abroad, what are some of the benefits of spending a semester or short term abroad? How has studying/interning abroad contributed to your personal, academic, and professional development? 

Studying abroad was such a beneficial experience as I grew in so many ways. I gained a lot of independence and confidence while abroad. Traveling all the way across the world with people I barely knew at first was scary and way out of my comfort zone. I quickly learned how to embrace the experience and live in the moment. Most of my classes were courses that I wouldn't be able to take back home. A lot of the information I learned in these classes pertained to Australia and was very interesting. My classes and professors challenged me to think critically, but a lot of my learning was done outside of the classroom.

What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study/intern abroad?

The best advice I can offer is to take every opportunity possible to go out and explore the country you are in. Don't let your classes or homework keep you from learning outside of the classroom. Time will fly by, so embrace it while you are there and enjoy every second.