Alumni Spotlight: Mariah Ouellette


Mariah studied abroad in Brisbane, Australia in the Fall of 2018. She loves warm weather and adventure.

Why did you choose this program?

I always knew that I wanted to travel abroad to Australia. My university offered two different programs to travel through, with The Education Abroad Network being one of them. Not only did TEAN have far more options than the other program, but their website was organized and provided more information about the cost, locations, living arrangements, and application process.

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

TEAN made it very simple with a list of documents and forms to fill out - transcripts, passport information, emergency contact information, etc. I had to do research on the classes I wanted to take and have them approved by my university.

I also had to arrange my flight and apply for a visa. The whole process seemed daunting at first, but TEAN assigns you an advisor who looks over your application and answers any questions that you have along the way.

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

Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way! The worst thing that can happen is that it does not work out the way you expect, but you will undoubtedly learn something from it anyway.

When you travel abroad, you push yourself out of your comfort zone, so you might as well push yourself a little bit more and see where you end up. You may open many doors for yourself.

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

In Australia, the courses are comprised of lectures and tutorials. In lectures, the professors go through the material for the course with all of the students in the class. Tutorials are run either by TAs or the professors themselves and a smaller number of students are present which allows for more in depth discussion of the material.

When I wasn't attending lectures or tutorials, I was exploring the city, going to the beach, or planning trips to other areas in Australia.

TEAN assigns students a resident advisor who arranges different activities throughout the semester, such as attending a rugby match or the local zoo. My advisor also emailed us with upcoming events in the area such as food festivals or the fair.

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 was not having enough money to live! I was fearful that I would miss out on traveling to all the places I wanted because I would run out of money. I ended up having money left over when I returned home.

I overcame this fear by learning how to budget properly and planning ahead. Once I arrived and got an idea of how much it would cost to live per week, I was able to budget for food, activities, and travel. This experience caused me have more trust in myself and my ability to adjust to new environments.

Is there anything you would have done different? Write down your thoughts.

Traveling and being independent brings up a lot of new emotions and feelings - sometimes good and sometimes bad. Journaling will help you remember and reflect on the good experiences of being abroad, but it will also help you to work through any fears or doubts that you have along the way.