Why did you choose this program?
At first I was inquiring to a few websites about where I could study abroad and TEAN stuck out with their overwhelmingly positive feedback.
I read through every review and they all seemed beyond passionate about their experience. It seemed worth asking about, and the support I got from TEAN both over the phone and by e-mail constantly made me feel assured I was making the right decision.
What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
This school was not affiliated with my university but by some random chance, my advisor was there a year ago on a sabbatical. He helped me match certain classes I needed back home with the ones that would be offered over there. With his and the Dean's approval I was able to get my full semester's credit even though I was technically on educational leave.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
Pack an excessive amount of socks and underwear. That was probably my biggest blunder.
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
Back home I usually sleep from 2-10am and then start my day. While in Sydney it surprisingly usually looked like:
6:30-7 Wake up/shower.
7-8:00 Eat breakfast, change into my suit (yup, you read that right).
8:15-11:45 Lecture time (with a 30 minute break for coffee and a muffin).
11:45 - ? Lunch, catch up with friends.
From here is where everyone splits off. Some groups go to the beach to surf/snorkel/cliff jump or just relax. This could be time to study, workout, or play sports.
5:30-7 Dinner followed by either more of the above or a walk down to town to get a drink, do some karaoke, and maybe win some meat trays at bingo.
Weekends are random. Usually groups of people will plan trips different places around the country. Don't limit yourself though. I traveled to Brisbane by myself the second week to go see a rap battle and it was one of the highlights of the trip.
Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it and/or how did your views on the issue change?
My biggest fear was getting a lousy roommate. Someone who doesn't respect personal space, comes back at weird hours, is messy, or snores (I had a bad experience earlier in the year).
TEAN helps by giving you a survey to help match you with a similar person, so that was a plus. The best piece of advice is go in with an open mind and don't assume something bad is going to happen. I did the latter and would be critical in my head of the little things he would do that would annoy me.
As time went on I started to realize just how good I had it. Also if your roommate does do something you don't like, approach them in a non-confrontational way early on. It'll be better for both of you. Chances are, they might not even realize what they're doing is affecting you that way.
How long was it before you felt comfortable and at home in your host country?
To all my introverts/high functioning people with anxiety:
The first few days were a roller coaster of emotions. There were many moments that were really emotionally draining or where I felt like I was out of place.
I promise you it will come to pass and only make you stronger when you return home. The school and program both go out of their way to make sure you feel at ease as quickly as possible. Just remember to stay true to yourself and everything will work out.