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Study Abroad in Australia: A Practical Guide to the Land Down Under

Study at Bond University in Australia

Its Academic Calendar Matches Our Own

"You don't want to go to Australia; it'll be just like the States." This is what I was told after telling family friends I planned on spending the next semester studying abroad in Queensland. The idea that a place so far away could be just like my home in Massachusetts seemed unlikely. Pushing aside fears and insecurities about embarking on a trip halfway around the world all alone, I left Boston and boarded a plane for the land down under.

What I found was a massive, diverse country: Large cities with beautiful modern architecture, miles and miles of deserted bushland, endless stretches of sandy beaches bordered by blue-green water, and grassy plains with kangaroos and wallabies. This was like no place I had ever seen.

I spent my fall semester studying at Bond University (www.bond.edu.au) on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia. Bond was one of the few universities I found that closely matched the 2-semester schedule of my home university and of most schools in the U.S. Most of the other universities in Australia begin in July and end in mid-November. Bond's semester begins on September 8 and I left Boston on August 29. This allowed me enough time to work all summer and earn enough money to participate in trips, tours, and programs once I got to Bond. The Bond semester ends on December 19. This allows time to be home for Christmas and to adjust before the second semester of school begins in the U.S.

Choosing a Program

I chose to study through the Arcadia University (www.arcadia.edu) program, which includes a 5-day orientation in Melbourne—a chic, trendy city in the southern part of the country. The indispensable orientation not only includes outings and sightseeing tours but also informative meetings conducted by tour guides and program coordinators. Topics include currency and banking, security issues, and sightseeing. The orientation allows you five days to meet lots of people and to form close bonds.

By stepping out of my own safe, familiar world I learned not just about different people and cultures but also a great deal about myself. The confidence gained from having the courage to pick up and move halfway across the world made me feel invincible, and after this experience I feel there's nothing I can't do.

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