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>>Studying<< Abroad

This post is being written under much more stress than the previous two as I’m quickly realizing, to my dismay, that the studying aspect of study abroad is very real.  Having just completed Week 3 of classes, assignments, papers, presentations, and project due dates are approaching much more rapidly than expected.  I have always been the type to organize and plan my schoolwork well in advance, but adjusting to the new self-taught style of learning here has made it much more difficult.  Advice — pencil in your assignment due dates in a planner straight away so that when planning trips you don’t accidentally journey to another country the day before a 2500 word essay is due (oops).  Although the idea of schoolwork is still hard to grasp, I’ve enjoyed the courses I’m enrolled in.  I was extremely hesitant to follow through with my “Performance: Production and Interpretation” theater class given that I’m majoring in Biology back home, but thus far I’ve actually been intrigued by the plays we’ve had to see.  Side note: I’ve had a hard time grasping the spelling differences between American and Australian English.  Theatre vs theater. Colonisation vs colonization. Colour vs color.  I’ve also been keeping note of some of my favorite slang terms used by Australians.  “Arvo” for afternoon. “Fairy floss” for cotton candy. “Brekky” for breakfast. “Heaps” for a lot/really/very (as in there’s heaps to do in Bondi or I’m heaps keen to go out tonight). Not sure if I’ll ever catch on but I never cease to be intrigued by their lingo.

One of the highlights of my experience thus far has been our weekend away on what IFSA-Butler calls “Country Life”.  We traveled by bus for about 3 hours to Bathurst where small groups of us were each paired with a host family for the weekend. Three of my friends and I stayed with the sweetest couple on the most beautiful farm.  We got to roam their 200 acres of land scattered with sheep, kangaroos, and cattle, hold baby lambs, and were fed the most delicious homemade dinners and desserts (Lamingtons and sticky date pudding are to die for).  It was a great break from the hectic Sydney city life.

My bucket list keeps growing and growing as I continue to meet new people and get their insight.  Now that classes have started I’ve been able to meet many more Australians and they always have the best advice.  For instance, when I tell them we head to big clubs in The Rocks (the touristy but coolest part of Sydney) on a weekly basis, they laugh out loud and tell me that there are just as fun places in Newtown for literally 1/4 of the price. Not to mention all of the traveling advice they have for places worth seeing such as Ningaloo Reef. So much to do yet so little time!


For now I’ll have to leave it at that and go back to my presentation due in 3 days and my paper that’s due in 2… oh joy.


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2 Responses to “>>Studying<< Abroad”

  1. Claudia Kightlinger Says:


    So after a year of research and planning I just picked this program with my parents!! I couldn’t be happier to attend such a beautiful university in an even more beautiful country. I would love to know any advice you had- maybe something you wish you had done differently or things you are so glad to have tried. I’m also very nervous about not meeting enough people and having lonely weekends when I want to be out exploring, so how did you manage things socially? Thank you!!

  2. Mariweir Mariweir Says:


    So great that you’ve picked this program and USYD – – you won’t regret it I promise!!! Looking back on my experience there aren’t many things that I regret, however choosing your accommodation will have a big impact on your experience. I chose to live in IFSA-provided apartments in a building called Urbanest which was awesome. These apartments are 8 people per suite, so you have one roommate who you share a bathroom with, and then one living room and kitchen area that you share with all other 8 people. This was awesome because it helped introduce you to other people on your program and made it a lot easier to plan trips/travel plans/dinner dates with everyone! But, there is another option to live on USYD campus in what they call one of the ‘colleges’. A good friend of mine did this and I wish I had…it’s basically a dorm on campus so you’re living with Australian students. Also, they treat these ‘colleges’ almost like a co-ed sorority/fraternity so there are themed parties, dinners, etc. It’s a great way to meet Australian students and immerse yourself in the culture. I wouldn’t stress about having lonley weekends because everyone who is there with you wants to do the same thing – – explore! So just put yourself out there and ask around, I’m sure you’ll find someone to do almost anything with. One other piece of advice I have is to not take school too lightly, if you get behind it can really catch up to you and the grading system is a weird adjustment! Other than that I would definitely just say take advantage of every day… it flies by so quickly!!!

    If you have any other questions let me know(;

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