Alumni Spotlight: Jacquelyn Keville

Give us an intro!

Jacquelyn is a return study abroad student, who went on the CAPA International program to Sydney, Australia. She attends the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she studies accounting. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, running, and going out with friends.

A women standing in front of a city

Why did you pick this program?

The CAPA International prgram stood out to me from the internship aspect that it offers.

Approaching my senior year of college I needed to make sure that my resume held relevant information to what I wanted to pursue in the future. CAPA provided me with the opportunity to intern in a foreign country in order to help me gain relevant real world experience.

What do you wish someone had told you before you went abroad?

I wish someone told me to learn how to cook! Preparing your own meals is the biggest money saver if you want to travel. I blew through money by eating out alot. Cooking in your apartment saves a lot of money, which allows you to spend it on other fun activities!

What is the most important thing you learned abroad?

Going abroad definitely helps develop a sense of independence. By venturing out of my comfort zone away from my family and friends I was truly able to become my own person. Being abroad makes you realize what you truly want in life, whether its immediate goals or future plane.

What do you tell your friends who are thinking about going abroad?

GO! GO! GO! I can not emphasize enough how amazing a study abroad experience is. When else in your life will you get the opportunity to live in another country and learn their culture? Exploring new places and experiencing new things is what the opportunity is all about. Studying abroad is an amazing opportunity and opens so many doors for students.

What was hardest part about going abroad?

Living in Massachusetts my whole life, I have never been away from my family and friends for an extended period of time. The hardest part for me was being away from them for so long. Once getting to Sydney I still was able to keep in contact with everyone.

A women holding a cat

I think everyone gets a little homesick every once in awhile, but my advice is to try and let it pass. There are so many things you can do to keep your mind off of it, and people will love hearing your stories when you return home!

What's your favorite story to tell about your time abroad?

One thing everyone must at least try while in Australia is surfing. An awesome time I had was at surf camp on the 7 mile beach. Everyone was going, no one knew how to surf, so I thought why not try it.

The first day was relatively learning the ropes of how to get up on the board and to my surprise I could actually do it. On the second day of surf camp the waves were triple the size of the first day, but everyone thought we signed up so we should probably keep trying.

People were falling all over the place; there were possibly even a few collisions. We all got some pretty funny pictures though! My recommendation to others is to try something you have not done before. Even if you wipe out, you'll still have a great story from it.

What made this experience unique and special?

My internship definitely made my experience unique and special. After hearing I was assigned to a non-profit organization, I was not quite sure how I felt about it. Once arriving at OzHarvest for my first day of work I loved the environment. Everyone was so happy and excited every day because they had an awesome cause that they were working for.

OzHarvest is a food rescue organization, which picks up excess food from local restaurants and grocers and delivers it to shelters in the area. Through seeing how much receiving this food meant to people, it made me feel so rewarded to give back to the community I was in. If it were not for OzHarvest I would not have seen this side of Sydney's society.

Tell us about an experience you had that you could not have had at home.

One of my favorite travel sites was to the Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest coral reef. While there I was able to scuba dive and snorkel the reef, which was absolutely breathtaking. Seeing such a beautiful natural landmark was a once in a life time opportunity.

Fishes in the deep ocean

For those of you studying in Australia, I highly recommend this travel site. You may run into a sea turtle!

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

I would tell someone in my program to take advantage of the opportunities in your host city. I know everyone always talks about the places they traveled, but where you are has some awesome attractions.

Some things I recommend doing in Sydney are: going to Darling Harbour, taking a tour of the Opera House, doing the Sydney Harbor Bridge climb, and doing the coastal walk. There is so much to see in the place you are living, I recommend taking advantage of it.

What made this trip meaningful to you, or how did this trip change your perceptions, future path?

This trip made me realize that I can do anything I set my mind to. Traveling to new places is a new goal of mine becuase there is so much to see in this world.

This trip also helped me to gain experience in my intended career path, and since coming home from study abroad I have recently landed a job at an accounting firm. You never know what you can accomplish until you try.