AIFS offers several opportunities to spend a semester abroad in Australia. Tamara P. from Drew University shared the following about her study abroad experience in the land Down Under:
Greetings from Australia! For as long as I can remember I have wanted to travel here. As a little girl, I thought of the country as a faraway place where kangaroos roamed free and things were a bit different from my home state of New Jersey. For the months prior to leaving for Australia my expectations of the country grew, and I got worried that the country would not live up to the high expectations that I had.
The long flight to this far-off country was definitely worth the experience that I had there. Life at my host school was different from my home university, but those differences proved to help make my experience one I will never forget. I was able to interact with people of all different cultures on a daily basis, in a way that I would not necessarily interact with them if I was only in class with them. Other Americans used to joke that we had “family dinners.” This was because everyone seemed to come down to dinner around the same time and to use that time to catch up with each other, make plans, and get to know one another. Besides giving off a family like vibe, the college also gives off the vibe that it is run by the students for the students. Between weekday and weekend activities that AIFS plans and the club activities that students can partake in, there is always something to do.
Sydney is a great city to explore with amazing night life and plenty to do during the day. Although technically your main purpose is to study while abroad, the teachers and staff are very understanding of the fact that you wish to travel and explore the country. Traveling is the main way you are going to get a sense of the Australian culture. Although I did not visit all of the country, it is too vast to do that, I saw much of it. The scenery, the animals, and the people never ceased to amaze me.
People always say that by traveling you open up to learning about yourself, and I believe this to be true. I learned a lot about myself and my country while abroad. There are times when American ideas and positions are questioned; however, it is never out of line. Australians are very open to learning about other cultures.
The people that I met through AIFS were amazing. It is hard to believe that I have only known them for the last six months or so. It was amazing how well we all got to know one another in such a short period of time. This experience lived up to and exceeded the ridiculously high expectations that I had for it. I can think of no better way to spend time in Australia than by going to school there on the AIFS program.
If you are inspired by Tamara’s story, learn more about opportunities to study abroad with AIFS in Australia.