Alumni Spotlight: Allison Bowman

Why did you decide to intern abroad with Alliance Abroad Group in Coral Bay?

Allison: Alliance Abroad Group was one of the first companies I came across when searching for ways to work abroad in Australia. There website was professional, and their rating on the BBB site was an A+! I was still a bit nervous - I'd never heard about any programs like this before, but Laura Levilly-Deola promptly answered my e-mail inquiry with a phone call and answered all of the questions I had. From start to finish, she has been an absolutely pleasure to work with and is available anytime I need something.

What made this experience unique and special?

Two of Allison's catches on the Seaforce Fishing Charters!

Allison: Seeing as this is my first ever trip abroad on my own, I had no idea about what to expect. Coral Bay was the first placement opportunity that popped up, and I figured, if that was where I was supposed to be, I'd get the job. If it wasn't, something else would come up. I can honestly say - I've never been happier. The small town has welcomed me with open arms.

It's not for everyone - some people won't like being so isolated from civilization (the nearest "big" town is 3 hours away), but for me, it is perfect. I've learned so much about myself as a person, what I can and cannot live with, and it's given me a completely new perspective on the world.

How has this experience impacted your future? (Personally, professionally, academically, etc.)

Allison: I am addicted to traveling! I'm definitely not done seeing the world. I'm currently looking into other programs (AAG does Oz and some homestay programs in Europe, but I'm interested in South America at the moment!) to see what else I can do! I'm looking into teaching English to enhance my teaching degree and also some volunteering programs where I can work with my hands.

I'm definitely not feeling "stuck" like I did back home... the three months I've spent in Coral Bay have been some of the happiest of my life! My job title is receptionist at a caravan park, but I've had the opportunity to be a deckie on our boat and swim with manta rays... while getting paid!! Chance of a lifetime!

A sea turtle out in Australia's world renown reefs!

What is one piece of advice you would offer someone considering interning abroad in Australia?

Allison: DO IT NOW. Do not hesitate to go for it! I was intimidated at first by program fees, but don't be. You will easily earn that back (and more!) and depending on where you are placed, have the opportunity to save quite a bit of money. Not all of the placements will be remote - they offer city placements as well, but you won't be able to save quite as much. Australia is an amazing country, and I think is a great stepping stone for those interested in traveling, especially for native English speakers who aren't quite ready to immerse themselves in a new environment with a completely new language.