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Why did you decide to study abroad?

I decided to study abroad because I have always wanted to travel to new places. I also enjoy meeting new people. Studying abroad would give me the opportunity to meet people from different backgrounds. It would also give me the chance to make new friends and experiences.

Tell us about the program you went on

I studied abroad with the AIFS program. They have a variety a different study abroad options! I chose their Perth, Australia program and studied at Murdoch University. I took three units during the semester. I took an English, Chemistry, and Animal Science unit. This gave me a good overview of the academics at Murdoch. I stayed in the campus villages in an flat with three other girls and we all became very close. AIFS also offered a number of excursions to participate of the semester. Even though I was unable to go to any of the large excursion such as the camping trip in the outback; I did have fun on the smaller ones that showed me around my new home. 

How did you pay for your study abroad experience?

I helped pay for my study abroad experience in various ways. My student loans helped with covering most of  my program cost. I also applied for multiple scholarships to help offset the costs. I had been saving for a few years and also took on extra hours at work to raise money that I could use for spending purposes. 

What is one thing you wish you would have known about studying abroad before you left?

I wish I had known about how hard it was going to be to leave a place that had been your home for five months. Also knowing how expensive a trip it was going to be. I wish I knew how to budget my money more before I left.

Did you experience any discrimination abroad because of your race, sex, religion, sexual orientation or a physical disability? If so, what did you learn from the experience?

I personally did not experience any form of discrimination while I was abroad.

How has studying abroad benefited you, personally and academically?

After I graduate college I would like to continue by education by applying to veterinary school. With schools becoming more competitive and harder to get into, my application will need something to make it stand out. While abroad, I may possibly get the chance to work with a variety of animals that cannot be found natively in America. This would show not only the admissions offices, of future schools, but also future employers, the diversity in my animal experience. It would also showcase my ability to adapt to changing environments and my readiness to take on new challenges. 

What was the most memorable moment of studying abroad?

My most memorable moment was probably the first time I met a quokka on Rottnest Island. These cute little creatures are native only to this little island off the coast of Western Australia. I had done some research about my study abroad trip and learned a lot about these little creatures. The fact that I was able to see one in real life was amazing! I was even able to get a cute photo with one!

How was the entertainment and nightlife?

Even though Perth is more of a quiet and laid back city compared to either Sydney or Melbourne we were always able to keep ourselves entertained. They had great restaurants and nightclubs that were always a guaranteed good time out with friends.  

In what way do you feel your experience abroad has prepared you for your future career? (Think both tangible things like language acquisition and intangible like learning to work with people who are very different from you)

It has increased my ability to adapt to changing environments and my readiness to take on new challenges. I was able to see a variety of animals native to Australia. This will be beneficial since I want to pursue a career working with animals. It also taught me how to met and work with new people. 

Would you recommend the program you went on, if so why??

Australia is an amazing country to visit! You can also do a lot of traveling while you're there because you're close to a lot of different countries with a variety of cultures. Perth itself is a great place to live in and explore. 

What advice do you have for students thinking about study abroad?

If you're even just a little bit thinking about studying abroad you should do it! You do not have to go for semester. You could go for a year or even do a summer semester. Studying abroad will be one of the greatest experiences of your life. If money is an issue, apply for scholarships and start saving up because studying abroad is something you definitely do not want to miss out on. 

Any additional comments or thoughts that you have about your study abroad experience

I made lifelong friends on this trip and everyday I wish I could do it all over again.

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