Alexandria Avre (Peaches) studied at Bond University in Gold Coast, Australia as an American Exchange student. She took classes for her Communications Minor as well as a photography and an environmental excursion course. It has been her lifelong dream to travel to Australia, so you could imagine how excited she was to be there!
Why did you choose this program?
I chose this program largely due to all the recommendations and interest with staying in contact throughout my time abroad. The Bond University TEAN program was highly recommended by my Study Abroad adviser along with students who had recently been there. The university fit every criteria I was looking for; small campus and class ratio, good and interesting variety of classes to choose from, provided on-campus housing, easy access to transportation, and that it was close to the beach and city.
What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
The TEAN program was with me every step of the way. From planning before the trip, during my time abroad, and what to do as I had to depart from the program. They made sure I had all my paperwork ready and that there would be no complications while I was abroad. Although most of us were frantic about deadlines and not receiving certain information right away, they reassured us everything will be alright.
During my time abroad, they were readily available if we had any questions or needed advice. The thing I especially loved about the TEAN program was the orientation experience and the free cultural excursions they organized. It was a great way to get indulged in the culture, as well as experience something new I would normally not have done or thought of by myself. The activities I organized on my own were my own traveling experiences, as well as exploring the Gold Coast.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
PLEASE TRAVEL! Do not let anything or anyone hold you back. If you are like me, and it becomes overwhelming to plan your own trip, there are resources on campus that will make it easy for you. One great resource is Student Flights, which is on campus at Bond University. They help design a travel itinerary for you as well as flights. Do not worry about them trying to scam you: they are working for you, and are looking for the best deals out there.
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
My average week consisted of three things: classes, studying, and fun times! I had classes Monday - Wednesday with an average of two classes each day. The free time in between I would either study in the library, go to the gym (very high-end), or meet up with friends and either stay on campus or venture off elsewhere.
On Thursdays and Fridays I would run errands and/or plan my next adventures with people I have met. Thursdays - Saturdays were prime time to go out to the clubs or bars. I normally went on Friday or Saturday nights. If bars and clubs are not your scene, I suggest checking out the different beaches, stores, carnivals, museums, or even traveling to different cities on the weekends!
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 about going abroad was not connecting with anyone and feeling alone for the entire duration of my trip. This was one of the major reasons that was holding me back from going abroad. I am a very social person, although it used to be difficult for me to initiate conversation. I am so glad I decided to go because I quickly learned that was nothing to worry about.
Students in the program were quick to recognize I had traveled alone and did not know anyone, so they made the initiative to make me feel welcome and included me in with their activities. This fear was all in my head. Looking back, I could not imagine how my life would have been if I didn't go abroad, and I am so glad I went ahead and did so no matter my reservations.
What was your biggest regret while abroad? What do you wish you had done differently?
Although it is only asking for one, I have two big regrets.
The first regret I have is not forcing myself to meet others outside of the TEAN program. I was so comfortable with the people I have met, I didn't think twice to meet more. I wish I had met more than two people from my host country (Australia) and from other countries as well. Although there were mainly American students during my semester abroad, it was no excuse to stay inside my own bubble.
My second regret was not traveling as much as I wanted. Yes, I already made it to Australia, but what is the point of going if you are not able to explore the beauties of the country? I am grateful I traveled to a couple different cities, but I did not go to everywhere I wanted because no one else would go with me. I wish I had gone by myself because I know I would of had a great time.
PLEASE do not be afraid to travel by yourself. You will only regret it later. I am glad I realized this at the end because I traveled to Thailand by myself for spring break, and it was the second best decision I have ever made! First being studying abroad in Australia :)