What did TEAN do for you and what did you need to do on your own?
Maya: TEAN was absolutely amazing. They did so much for us and were always available by phone, email or in person to help with whatever needs we had. The TEAN program organized our housing for us, giving us explicit details of each living accommodation: the location, the amenities, the benefits and of course the price. From there we got to choose where we wanted to live and could request roommates and from there the TEAN program took control and placed us where we wanted to live with and with who, they made this process extremely simple. They also provided a lot of assistance in registering for classes.
Even though we had to go through the Course Guide and choose the classes we wanted, the TEAN program would send over the syllabi we wanted in order to get a better sense of the class and also explained the exact steps of how to register. There was also an orientation for when we arrived in Sydney where we learned all about the city, the culture, and then the things we would need to know about transportation, academics and so on. TEAN gave us all the tools we needed to succeed in Sydney and have the most amazing experience, however, once we were there, it was up to us to live it to the fullest.
What is one piece of advice you'd give future TEAN students?
Maya: The one piece of advice I'd give to future TEAN students is TAKE ADVANTAGE. There are so many great things to see and do and your biggest regret will be failing to do everything you want. Plan accordingly and take risks and do everything you possibly can. My biggest regret is not traveling to all the places I wanted to or not experiencing cultural events and not trying all the possible restaurants. I didn't plan my time accordingly and got so used to living in Sydney that I forgot about all the amazing opportunities and activities that the city and the country has to offer. Do not waste your time sitting around and being comfortable, plan trips and step out of your comfort zone and you will be rewarded with the greatest experiences.
Describe your program socially and academically.
Maya: My program was filled with students from Universities all over the United States. For the most part, we all got along extremely well and I have made friends with people I would never have been friends with before and who will definitely be my friends for many many years. Everyone was very friendly and there was always a familiar face when walking around campus or roaming the hallways of our apartment building. We all went out to bars and clubs together, but the thing I loved most was that there was never any pressure to go out and there was always someone or many people who were willing to take the night off and just relax with you.
I made a ton of friends not only with the other American students on my program, but I also was fortunate enough to meet many Australians who enjoy sharing their city and their culture with young Americans. The academics through my program were not very rigorous. I had classes a few times a week that I had to attend and some work outside of class, but overall I was not inhibited from exploring the city and doing other fun things because of my academics. It all depends on the classes you take as some people had very hard classes and some people had very easy classes. However, many of the teachers are accommodating to study abroad students and understand that you are there to do other things than just study.
Tell us about any interesting cultural tidbits you noticed about your country.
Maya: The Aboriginal culture in Australia is extremely interesting and their history is a very long one. They are the people whose ancestors were indigenous to the Australian continent and have a very interesting culture. Living in Australia you will be able to be witness to their eccentric dress, their songs that tell stories and the dances that accompany those songs. Australians also have a lot of fun words that they use that Americans do not and it takes time to understand these words and incorporate them into your vocabulary. Such words include: "arvo" (afternoon), "bloke" (a guy), "mate" (buddy), "keen" (eagerness), and many other words that you'll need to go to Australia to learn!