Sara Lundgren is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Australia
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
Originally I had always planned to go to France since I have taken 7 years of french and it only made sense; however, once I sat down to truly consider where I wanted to go France did not make it on the list. I wanted to go somewhere unique and different and tha'ts when I decided on Australia. As a biology major, Australia offered unique wildlife and ecosystems for me to explore. I knew this was an experience I couldn't pass up. Australia was somewhere I always wanted to go, but never thought I'd actually make it there.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
While in Australia the CSBSJU students got the chance to go on a week long excursion into the native bush (what americans would consider the outback) and camp under the stars. We meet with Aboriginal people (the native people of Australia) and learned about their history and customs. We even got to try some traditional food. It was a great learning experience!
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
Overall, studying abroad is something I will cherish for the rest of my life. All the positive and yes sometimes negative aspects of the program are things that I have learned from and can apply to the rest of my life. I made so many friends and had so many great experiences. Study abroad is something I would suggest everyone to definitely consider!
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?
In Australia, we stayed at the P&O hotel which not only housed the CSBSJU students but also students from many other countries. I lived in a residential hall with people from Australia, Germany, Cypress, Thailand, England, China, and other parts of the United States. I got the chance to learn about people not only from Australia, but all around the world. I made so many wonderful friends from this experience and I gained so much confidence in myself during my time abroad.
Taking classes in Australia also opened my eyes to different systems of Education and how Australian's view the world around them. I have more confidence in my abilities as a student because I worked so hard and succeeded even though it was such a different system than back home at CSBSJU.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
I know that Australia is the most expensive program listed but don't let it prevent you from thinking about Australia as an option for study abroad. I do not regret a single dime spent in Australia, it was worth every penny.
Also, relax! Study abroad can be stressful but there are so many people around you that are there to help you. Don't be nervous to ask questions and get advice. And all those with you in the program are all in the same boat, don't be afraid to reach out to them.