Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler

Settled In & Chowing Down

Time August 26th, 2016 in 2016 Fall, Australia | No Comments by

G’day mate, How ya goin’?

Yes, they actually say that. Yes, it cracks me up every time. Yes, it is still surreal to realize again and again that I’m currently living in Australia — and I have loved every minute of my time here! The people are amazing (I’m living with a mix of international students, everywhere from Norway, Ireland, Pakistan, Vietnam, and a good number from the States, as well as a bunch of Aussies) and I’ve been gorging myself on Schnitzels, chicken sausages, plus various cultural delicacies like curry and lasagna and all the food I could possibly want to eat through my accommodations. I’ve also tried a kebab for the first time (quite delish),  loaded chips (McDonald’s will put guac and chili sauce on fries — surprisingly good, but 99% different than American guac/salsa chips), sticky fig pudding (with caramel sauce. 12/10 would recommend), pavlova (essentially baked whipped cream), and lots of other unique foods that I didn’t know existed but now am very excited that I do. Read More »


The Beginning

Time July 11th, 2016 in 2016 Fall, College Study Abroad | No Comments by

Hey there!

I’m Rachel, a girl who grew up in a tight-knit town in Oregon, USA, and moved to go to college in sunny Southern California. Now I’ll be traveling halfway across the globe to Wollongong, Australia, to study at the University of Wollongong just south of Sydney! Needless to say I’m excited beyond belief, but maybe I really have no idea what I’ll be getting myself into here by flying over 15 hours away from my home, but I think that’s most of the appeal of studying abroad. It’s the same as the day you walked into kindergarten, then high school, and especially into college: you have no idea who you’ll meet, what types of new situations you’ll end up in, and how much you will inevitably change in the end. Personally, I’m most excited about learning how to understand Australian slang and how their culture differs from America’s, as well as enjoying the beauty of the Australian coast and (hopefully!) exploring with some fellow students to as many cities as I can possibly fit into four months!

At my home University I study Environmental Business which is a balance of Environmental Science and Business Management, and am hoping to learn more about Australia’s laws about environmental responsibility on local, regional, and national scales while abroad! Also very, very interested in learning where the best bars are and what the best food is, so stay tuned to see some adventures involving my taste buds as well as my suit cases. Speaking of suitcases, packing is an adventure all in itself. I’m planning to travel as lightly as I can (HA), and can’t even count how many Pins I’ve saved about packing strategies, capsule wardrobes, and travel hacks. In the end, I know I’m not walking into the middle of the bush and can buy anything I forget once I arrive, and it’s a much better plan of action to pack less and save space for the souvenirs and items I’ll no doubt acquire while gone.

Am I excited? Undoubtedly. Am I nervous? Oh yeah. But I also realize that leaving on this trip will be an incredible step forward in my life that many people don’t have the opportunity to take, and I plan on appreciating every second that I’m abroad and soaking up the culture, friendships, and definitely the delicious foods I am lucky enough to experience (priorities on the food though, amiright?). As I prepare myself to leave, I feel like I’m saying “sayonara” to a small part of myself that still prioritizes staying in my comfort zone, and welcoming in some extra confidence to keep my head up and my heart open to whatever and whoever walks into my path.  Wish me luck as I finish up my packing and make the long trek out to Sydney, and I’m sure I’ll have plenty to share next time!