My name is Sawyer Kelley and I studied abroad in Gold Coast, Australia through KEI Abroad. I lived in the suburb of Surfers Paradise, about a two minute walk from the beach. I am double majoring in Finance and Business Analytics and attended Griffith University-Gold Coast Campus. The long process of figuring out where you want to study abroad, which provider to use, which school to go to, booking flights, and making sure you have everything ready is well worth the experience of living and going to school in another country. The opportunities are to return a new and improved person. Studying abroad is a life changing experience that broadens the horizons and begins the never ending passion to travel the world and experience new cultures, see new places, and learn the most interesting aspects of every part of the world that you can possibly fit into your short time here on Earth.
I flew from Nashville to Dallas, from Dallas to Sydney, and from Sydney to Brisbane; in total it took over 22 hours. When I first arrived in Australia it felt as if I were just in Florida or California. It was not until I began traveling and experiencing the culture, that I began to actually feel as if I were in another country. School started roughly two weeks after I arrived and I made the huge mistake of not going and seeing as much as I could before school started. School is not totally different in Australia, but the semesters are shorter and you have to be obedient because in most classes only two-four assignments total your entire grade. Finding the right school/travel balance is hard at first. You have to study as much as you can during the week and take long weekends to other parts of the country. If you do it correctly and stay on top of your work you will find it easy to stay caught up in school and travel as well.
My first trip was to Sydney, Australia where I visited many national parks, the Sydney Opera House, and the inner city. Sydney is a diverse place full of activities. Next, I got my SCUBA certification so that I could scuba dive in Bali over the mid-semester break. Before the break I visited the Steve Irwin Australia Zoo, Stradbroke Island, a few national parks, and went to Tasmania for four days. Tasmania was my favorite part of Australia; it is nothing but country, mountains, beaches, and back roads. The Southwest National Park’s mountain ranges were magnificent and as well as the countless walking trails to go on. Over the break I went to Bali for the week and got to experience the amazing culture there. Bali was my favorite part of the trip and it made me realize that I should have gone to a more underdeveloped country to truly experience a different culture. After mid-semester break it was crunch time trying to catch up in all my classes in order to get the grades I needed on my finals.
All in all it was one of the best experiences of my life and I would recommend anyone to study abroad. A few pointers to others would be: if you truly want to experience a new culture go to a place that is not modernized, you will love it; if you have never been away from home try only one semester instead of a year; travel as much as you can while you are there; go to the surrounding countries if possible, you may never be there again; get to know your roommate well and find out as soon as possible if you are going to get along so that you can make adjustments if need be; respect your roommate and do your best to get along; and do not hang out with other American study abroad students, get to know the people of the country and you will have a much better time.
Sawyer Kelley is majoring in Finance and Business Analytics and spent the Spring 2019 semester studying abroad in Brisbane, Australia through KEI. This program at Griffith University is AACSB accredited. Sawyer had the following to say about studying abroad, “Studying abroad can be a life changing period of time in your life if you make the most of it, step outside your comfort zone, and go places you have never thought about going before. The more you expose yourself to other cultures the more you will appreciate your own as well as the values and beliefs of others as well as what makes each individual unique.”
Share this post: