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Last semester our beloved Roisin left us for a few months to study abroad in Australia – a highly selective destination which few students are able to attend a program in. Although we missed her tons, we loved living vicariously through her many explorations and were so proud of her for taking such an exciting step in her life. That being said, we are thrilled to have her back in the States! Check out what Roisin had to say about her experiences down under:
 
HC: Where exactly did you study abroad?
Roisin: I studied in Brisbane, Australia at Australian Catholic University. Brisbane is on the coast above Sydney and Melbourne but below Cairns. 
 

HC:  What was a typical day like for you

Roisin: I actually didn’t have a typical day while I was there. I did not live on campus so I only went to ACU Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. My course load was also not that heavy so I had a lot of time to experience my time abroad. A lot of the things my friends and I did was spur of the moment. For example, after class we sometimes went to the beach or grilled outside for dinner. We would also go into the street mall that was across the bridge or the cultural precinct near our apartment. It had a Ferris wheel and places by the river to walk or sit and enjoy the weather. The weekends were dedicated to exploring. Whether it be us buying plane tickets about a month in advance or getting on a train in the morning and staying somewhere for the weekend or we had a rental car for a day. We were always going somewhere. Now after saying that, I did have my regular study places- Griffith University Library which was down the street and HooHa Bar (best fries ever!!) which was across the street from me. I also had a coffee shop that I went to almost every day starting from my first day in Australia, it was called Denim and it had amazing coffee and muffins. I would go there to work on my blog or call home. My friends and I also went to the same club every Thursday, The Victory Hotel, they had a student night and it was across the bridge. So while I did not have typical days so to say, I had regular spots that I went to every week. 

HC: What were some of the major differences between college here and college down under?

Roisin: One of the biggest differences between ACU and CUA was the grading scale. I only had to pass my classes but their scale for passing was 50% and higher. However, if you got a 45%, most professors allowed you to do an extra assignment to raise your grade. There were three assignments per class that made up your grade so there was not a constant stream of work. The other major difference was that it was not a campus that had housing. I lived in an apartment that was an hour away from campus. So people were only on campus for class or study groups. My classes also had a variety of ages in them. There was a girl that was seventeen in my English class but there was also a mom who was pregnant with another child. There was less of a campus feel at ACU but I liked how that encouraged me to get out and about in Australia. 

HC: Where was the favorite place that you traveled to?

Roisin: I traveled to Bali for fall break and it was one of the best experiences of my life. That being said, I also went to Fiji during my study period before my finals. Both of those places are tied to being my favorite travel destinations. Bali was a great place for exploring and pushing myself out of my comfort zone a little. Fiji was great for relaxing and reflecting on my time abroad before I went home after my final. I also got a fantastic tan as a result of both trips! 

HC: What did you miss most about CUA while you were away?

Roisin: I missed the community feel I have at CUA. Because ACU was more like a commuter campus, there wasn’t really a community. I was not the only who felt this way. The good thing was that my apartment building was filled mostly with study abroad students and so we created our own community. My roommates and I joked that everyone lived in our apartment, 103, and they all shared room F along with a ghost.

 

HC: What do you miss most about your Australia school now that you’re back here?

Roisin: I miss the excitement I had abroad everyday. But when it comes to school, I miss the three hour classes once a week (two hour lectures and one hour tutorials) and the three assignments that would make up our semester grade. It does not sound like a fun time but I feel like I got a lot out my classes and I put a lot of dedication into my assignments (hopefully I do the same here!). I also miss the tutorials from my Counseling and Health Care classes because I made some really great friendships from them. (Hi Lachlan and Zayn!)

HC:  What are you most excited about in the rest of your time here at CUA?

Roisin: When I went to Australia, I was holding onto to my past and I didn’t want to move on with who I was becoming. Being abroad helped me grow up and become a stronger woman. Coming back to CUA, I have felt much more empowered and comfortable who I am now and who I am becoming. I am excited to see where this new side of me leads me to in life not just at CUA. Also, I am excited to be able to share my experience with people who are considering going abroad, especially to Australia. I feel like because I grew a lot with this experience, I am able to be a stronger individual presence on campus with the groups I am involved in because I have this new found confidence and hopefully, I can put that into effect with my career as a Social Worker. 

HC: Overall, what would you say was the best part of your abroad experience?

Roisin: The best part of my time abroad was probably when I held a Koala named Tinkerbell, one of my first days there. Honestly, I felt like that was the basis of my experience abroad and it was the number one thing on my bucket list. However, I do love how I was able to do so much traveling in order to experience so many new things. It has left me with so many memories that I will never forget. My favorite story from traveling probably is when my friends and I went to Melbourne. We met these guys at our hostel and went to a club with them after talking to them for a while. Afterward a few hours, we decided it would be a good idea to watch the sun rise over Brighton Beach- only to find out that the sun sets on the beach not rises. However, we made the most of that time on the beach by seeing all the little houses that sit on the beach and cost the same amount as my CUA tuition (not kidding). Afterwards, my friends and I took a nap, got brunch, and went to the Graffiti Art that Melbourne is famous for. We learned how to spray paint and then got a tour of Melbourne street art from a street artist who turned out to also be a very nice homeless man (who offered to buy us coffee at one point!). We were exhausted that day, but we did not let that stop us from having an amazing time and we still talk to the guys we met at our hostel. 

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