After being home for about a week I’ve finally put all my clothes away and caught up on the multitude of info about the study abroad Australia program. After poring over emails and the ifsa-butler.org website for hours I have a recommendation: if you are studying abroad, read your program coordinators emails as you get them! I wish I had started looking over the website at least a month ago. However, now that I’ve read everything there is to know about insurance, packing, and orientation I feel much better prepared to delve into preparation for my trip.
People often mention the phrase “culture shock” in association with traveling to foreign countries. Until today I didn’t think much of it. Naively I figured my class french trips to Canada and Paris had prepared me for any trips I might take and I thought “How different can people really be? What’s the big deal?” Well… there are actually a lot of differences… and I’ve probably only skimmed the surface. What really hit me big time today was: HOW MUCH YOU PAY FOR YOUR INTERNET!!! Here in the US there are tons of wireless hot spots, the University of Hartford campus provides unlimited free internet, even the city of Hartford offers free wireless internet! Not so much in Australia. At U of Sydney they track the amount of Mb you are downloading from the web and you only get 42Mb free per week. After that you have to pay for your internet usage. Unfortunately there are no free internet hot spots over there.
One big down side to that is that I was planning on using skype as my main form of communication. Skype = free internet calling. Sounds good right? Wellll it might not end up being that great when I start paying for internet by the Mb. Before I leave I’ll have to try and figure out how much Mb skype uses and compare it to the rates I’d have to pay using the phones ifsa-butler is providing. When I decided to enter the Australia study abroad program I knew contact to my friends and family would be limited, but now it’s looking like I will mainly be using email to communicate. On the bright side, this will help break my facebook addiction, as I will no longer be able to check it multiple times a day. I should start weening myself off it now, especially since I will be trying to fit 5 months of stuff into 2 suitcases and a carryon. Wish me luck!