Why did you choose this program?
Growing up, I didn't have the luxury of being a world-wide traveler, and this trip (at 21 years of age) was actually my first time leaving my home country of the United States. I was wary about spending 3 months on the other side of the world away from my family and friends but knew that an opportunity like this may not come again.
My internship placement in Australia was amazing, and I was able to expand my personal and professional skill set, all while making amazing friends and traveling around a beautiful country.
What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
Being a part of a program like this made the transition to a new country smooth and without issues. The program included an amazing program coordinator living in Sydney who was always around for help and to take us on amazing pre-planned weekend trips. Our housing was all set up for us upon arrival, which was great to avoid the hassles of finding an apartment on my own.
The program was also great with assisting with my internship placement itself, and it was fantastic to have someone on the ground in the host city to communicate with them directly, rather than playing phone tag or lagging email threads. Not to mention the best part, the amazing group of other students whom I stayed with. It was great to have such a tight-knit group of adventurous people to go on this adventure with, who have now become some of my closest friends.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
It may be a change of scenery in a new country, but not to worry: Sydney is an extremely friendly city full of amazing people. Also, the flight to AUS may seem long (and it is), but if you come prepared, it's not bad at all. Make sure you consistently get up and move around the cabin, and come prepared with downloaded music, movies, books, etc. Other than that, I recommend getting out of your comfort zone as much as possible.
I grew the most on this trip by putting myself out there and doing things I never would normally do, and I couldn't be more thankful for it.
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
Everyone in my group has different internships, so everyone's schedules were a bit different. My internship placement was pretty full-on and I was working 9-5 5 days per week. However, I loved my placement, which was working as an exercise physiologist at a clinic in Sydney.
had the chance to work with people with chronic conditions and help use exercise and lifestyle changes to help treat them. It was great being immersed with the locals and the other students and I learned so much about myself and the internship was able to help guide my future career path.
My weekends were always packed full of traveling around Sydney itself, usually the beaches, or traveling elsewhere in Australia (Great Barrier Reef, Blue Mountains, etc.).
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've been living with Type 1 Diabetes since age 4, so for me personally my biggest worry was about my medication and making sure I was always stocked on my treatment supplies. However, as I had no issues bringing all my medications on the flights, storing it, or getting new medications while in Sydney. Everything was smooth sailing!
Did you pick up an accent or any Aussie Slang?
As a matter of fact, I did. I now find myself using new words and phrases, which often leave my American friends pretty confused.
As I mentioned earlier, I was immersed with the locals and students for 40 hours of the week for 12 weeks, so I was around people speaking with Aussie accents all the time. I now catch myself using classic Australian slang words like "I reckon" (I think) and "heaps" (lots of) all the time now. Which I actually quite like, as it's a little piece of this new country that I love that really stuck with me!