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GlobaLinks - Study Abroad at Murdoch University
Interview with Kristen Wells, AustraLearn alum
GO: Why did you decide to study abroad with AustraLearn at Murdoch University?
Kristen: I decided to study abroad in Australia because it seemed like a place that I would want to live for 5 months. I have been to Europe several times before, and although my friends that studied abroad there had an amazing time and were able to travel to a handful of different countries in a short amount of time, I wanted to experience something different.
I wanted to immerse myself in one place, and not jet-set every weekend to somewhere to experience a new culture for a weekend. Coming from New Jersey in January, the opportunity to experience warm weather and lounge on the beach in my free time was definitely a factor not to be overlooked as well as no language barrier.
Australearn has a great reputation as well as a focus on Australia and New Zealand. They have a very friendly staff that supports you throughout the entire process. Australearn provides the added bonus of the Bridging Cultures Orientation in Cairns, giving you the opportunity to learn about Australian culture, visit the Great Barrier Reef and meet others you are studying abroad with before you reach University.
I chose to study at Murdoch because I felt Perth had something unique to offer. It is the most isolated city in the world and therefore has its own culture and character of people apart from the rest of Australia. Western Australian is known for its beaches, scenery and laid back attitudes. You really can't beat that.
GO: What made your study abroad experience unique and special?
Kristen: People. People. People. Whenever anyone asks me my favorite part about studying abroad, I can instantly say the people that I met along the way. I have built some of the greatest friendships and met the widest range of characters from not only Australia and the United States, but from all over the world. A year later, I still am still in contact with the people I met abroad on a daily basis.
Being in Perth, I wanted to make sure to take advantage of my close proximity to Asia. With a group of friends that I met at Murdoch, I spent a week in Thailand-trekking through the hill tribe village, riding elephants through the jungle, visiting Tiger Kingdom and petting a tiger, visiting temples, floating markets, trying new food and making unforgettable memories.
Through Murdoch University I was also able to participate in a 10-day camping trip for International Students across Western Australia. It was here that I was able to fully appreciate and get to take in the beautiful landscape and scenery that Australia has to offer.
My family and friends from home are probably tired of hearing me talk about it at this point but I have made memories that will last a lifetime, something that I cannot say for every experience I have had up until this point.
GO: How has this experience impacted your future?
Kristen: It has increased my desire to travel and explore more places. I am always looking into where my next trip will be or more recently the possibility of teaching abroad. The academics in Australia were much different and more student focused with less lecture time so I was required to adapt my normal way of studying and thinking. I think this has helped my look into how I will approach my career as a teacher being able to take in different perspectives.
After studying abroad I am now more confident in my ability to live independently without the resources that I was comfortable at home. I traveled alone to a foreign country, and came out with a new perspective as well as a better understanding of my own strengths and weaknesses.
GlobaLinks Learning Abroad, originally titled AustraLearn, was created by Cynthia Banks in direct response to requests from an Australian university to assist U.S. students who wanted to study abroad in Australia. They have been in operation since 1987. Since then, AustraLearn became the largest provider of study abroad programs to more than 25 universities in Australia and added new partner institutions in New Zealand and Fiji.
In 2008, AustraLearn expanded its reach to more regions of the world. EuroLearn and AsiaLearn were created as additional programs of GlobaLinks Learning Abroad to accommodate an increasing demand from students and advisors for structured, well supported, and affordable programs in destinations worldwide.