At the time that I applied, it did not seem like much of a question. I attended a small school (Wheelock College ). Wheelock did not offer any through the school study abroad options, but had few programs like CIS and AIFS (for example). As soon as I found out where I wanted to go, I choose a program based on that and which program could get me there to adventure. However. CIS abroad was so much more than just a program that sent me to Australia. It included a awesome orientation, a amazing advisor (Jackie Chapman) and a community of American students all going to the same place as me. I defiantly chose the right program, and I was so lucky to get to have the experiences that I had with CIS Abroad.
Nicole has always loved to travel and experience different cultures. She goes to Boston University and once she graduates, plans to travel all around the world teaching kids and hopes to make a difference in the world.
Why did you choose this program?
What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
I am a planner, so I really did most on the contacting to CIS abroad myself. My home university really only advised me on what to do, I had some meetings with them where they would look over parts of my draft application like personal statements. Other than that, I had to reach out to my advisors and apply all by myself. I found that this worked for me, but it also was stressful sometimes when my home university and CIS program was not on the same page, and I ended up confused and stressed, but it all worked out and I was able to get to Australia in the end.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
One piece of advice I would have to students going on my same program (Gold Coast, at Bond University) is to treasure your time in Australia and at Bond. The days go by so fast and there are so many things to do around the area. The Gold Coast is a upbeat place with so many incredible things to see and do. Just use your time for your advantage. And make a to do list before you leave, see how many things you can check off by the end of the semester!
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
Depending on classes, it seems that most people on campus are awake by nine or ten am. I usually woke up around ten every morning and walked to get breakfast before classes. The cafeteria at Bond sometimes had weird opening and closing times, but the food there was really good at was constantly changing. There was always something on the menu that I liked!
During the week, many people also go to the gym on campus and take free classes, go swimming in the pool, weight lift, etc. They have such fun classes that are run by teachers. My favorite class that I attended once a week was kickboxing. (My favorite part; no extra charge for the gym or any classes you wish to take. You receive schedules at the beginning of the semester and can take unlimited amount of classes).
When it comes to fun during the week, the restaurant on campus called Dons, has parties every Thursday and most are themed, which is super fun! Off campus, there is so many things to do! A lot of times after class, I would go to the beach or go shopping. There are so many things to do, it is almost impossible to be bored!
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 when going abroad was if I was going to meet people and have friends while I was over in Australia. I had to overcome that social anxiety that I faced and many other people face by putting myself out there. I know, seems simple right? Wrong. But luckily, I met the most amazing people from all over the world. I met and became friends with people from the US, from Australia, even from Norway and parts of Europe! If anybody reading is taking a trip and is also nervous about meeting people, do not worry. It is easier than it seems. Just try really hard to put yourself out there as much as you are comfortable with! Don't stress about it.
Was it easy or hard to do any extra travel and did you have any significant amount of time in which you could travel?
It was pretty simple to travel. Coming to Australia, I knew I wanted to travel around, it was a priority for me. Just something to note- most places, if not all, you had to hop on a plane to get to. In the semester I got two weeks off in April, because the Commonwealth Games, and I spent that time in Bali with a good friend of mine (shoutout). I also got to spend some time in Sydney for the Mardi gras parade.
Traveling is defiantly possible and encouraged. On campus they have a student flight office, where they can help you plan your trips and organize your flights, hotel or hotels, and even activities. This was defiantly helpful to me, but I defiantly would have booked it on my own if I were to go back in time.