Alumni Spotlight: Kristen Cotter

Why did you choose this program?

I have always wanted to study abroad. In fact, I have known that I want to move and work abroad since probably middle school.

Initially, I was going to look for a program in Europe or the UK. Eventually, I saw that Australia was a real option for me, and I chose CAPA Sydney specifically because of the internship aspect! Other things that stuck out to me while deciding were inclusions such as housing and transportation costs.

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

As I mentioned above, CAPA was really great because it provided me and other students with a lot of opportunities in addition to just amenities. The CAPA center provided us with city excursions to see more of Sydney and learn about Australian culture. In addition, we were given transit passes that were filled throughout the program, and our housing was organized for us!

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

I think it is really important for students going on my program to take advantage of everything from the start. I took a few weeks to just explore my neighborhood in Sydney, but I should have pushed myself to see more right away! By the end of my 3 months, I felt rushed to see everything that was still on my list.

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

An average week for me looked like this...

Monday - I went to my internship for most of the day. I would be there from 9 am to 5 pm with a 2-hour lunch during the day.

Tuesday - Same as Monday, I would go to my internship from 9 am to 5 pm and have a couple of hours for lunch.

Wednesday - Nothing until the class in the afternoon!

Thursday - Class in the afternoon, same as Wednesday.

Other than those commitments, I had the rest of the time to myself.

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

I wasn't actually nervous or scared about any part of this program. I think one thing that intimidated me some was flying into an international airport for the first time by myself. Whenever I have left the country before, I had my parents or another guardian to help me through customs, but in Sydney, I was by myself. It was so much easier than any other place I've been to, though!

Any last thoughts?

It may not be a question, but it is more of a comment on Australia's culture! Sydneysiders are some of the BEST people I have met in my life. They are so incredibly welcoming and approachable. I definitely had to put myself out there to get to know them, but there was not a single person that was not helpful or friendly that I encountered.