Jennifer is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Australia
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
The decision to study abroad was simple because I've always had a love for traveling. Once I decided on studying abroad, it was surprisingly an easy choice for me to go to Australia. With the amazing beaches and wildlife, for someone as interested in nature as I am, it was absolutely the perfect program. Also, I didn't really want to deal with major language barriers, and Australia had the perfect amount of different dialect, while using the same language!
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
A group of 20 foreigners and myself decided to take a spring break road trip to Ningaloo Reef. Not only did I learn a lot about navigation and important landmarks in Australia, I made friendships that lasted a lifetime with people from all over the world. I was also privileged enough to see the most beautiful reef I ever could have imagined.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
Studying abroad was the absolute highlight of my college career thus far. A unique part of the Australian program that made all the difference to me, was living in the residence hall with people from more than 10 different countries. Not only did I learn about Australian culture, but multiple other countries as well. Also, being in a different learning environment expanded my view on not only my major, but how other educational systems work. Overall, studying abroad opened so many doors and opportunities for me, and not to mention, was the most fun 5 months I've ever had!
Based on your experiences abroad, what are some of the benefits of spending a semester abroad? How has studying abroad contributed to your personal, academic, and professional development?
Where do I begin?! There are so many benefits to studying abroad, besides it being the obvious trip of a lifetime. Like I mentioned before, I learned how other educational systems work and the major differences between the higher education processes. Also, I gained an immense amount of independence. Forcing myself to interact with people besides the CSBSJU community really opened my eyes to what I want to do, and where I want to go, in my future. Lastly, I can definitely use my new global awareness in my future career. Also, I've decided that having a career overseas is an option for me. I wouldn't have realized that without studying abroad!
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
The main piece of advice I can offer students planning on studying abroad is to completely and totally immerse yourself in wherever you decide on going. Instead of going to the Subway in town cause it reminds you of home, go to the authentic restaurants that really represent the country you're in. Take every opportunity and chance you get! And for those considering studying abroad...DO IT! You'll regret your decision if you don't!