Alumni Spotlight: Lexi Smith


Lexi is a 24-year-old from Boston, who loves all things travel, photography, and design. She arrived in Sydney in August and is loving working in and exploring beautiful Australia.

Why did you choose this program?

I knew I wanted to go to Australia, but was a little nervous travelling solo for a whole year. I chose to travel with UltimateOz because I really wanted to make a group of friends when I first got here, see the city right away, and have support with finding a job and housing.

I had heard good things about the package from people who had taken the tour before, and figured it would be a good way to adjust to life in Australia.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

UltimateOz was awesome with helping me get situated in Australia! They set me up with a job service account (where I ended up finding my current job), housing, Australian SIM card, and a Tax File Number and bank account.

I really appreciated having all this help right off the bat, so I wasn't stuck trying to figure out the basics and wasting time and money!

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

I'd definitely recommend putting yourself out there! You'll meet tons of other people on UltimateOz who are all doing the same thing as you are. The tour is a great way to make friends, and the guides make sure you're included. You might even have new roommates to live with by the end of your tour!

I'd also recommend packing lightly! You can (and will) buy anything you need over here in Australia, so make it easy on yourself as a backpacker and bring only the essentials. Finally, enjoy! UltimateOz is a great program and they really make sure you have everything taken care of, so treat it like a year-long vacation!

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

The first week of UltimateOz is so much fun! We did a city walk on the first day -- seeing the Opera House for the first time was amazing! The next day we went on a cruise around Sydney Harbour, then headed to another part of Sydney that I wouldn't have seen on my own.

Basecamp is a definite highlight of the trip -- the area was beautiful and sand-boarding was a great time! I also got to channel my inner Britney and hold a snake during a reptile show, which I never thought I'd do!

Since finishing UltimateOz I've been traveling around Australia. I found a job in Sydney with the help of the jobs agency, and have been loving life here!

Now I get to explore Sydney and other Aussie cities on the weekends, and I'll be back on the road again soon!

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear coming to Australia was being nervous about making new friends and getting settled in the area. I was able to meet so many great people on my tour that I forgot I was worried about traveling alone.

Having the Ultimate staff here to help me with the job search, housing, and all the little details was a huge relief, and I felt like I could adjust to my new home easily with their help!

What's next on the bucket list?

After my year in Oz, I'm thinking of heading to Southeast Asia on the way home with a few friends I've made here. New Zealand is also somewhere I've always wanted to go, so who knows? The world's my oyster!