Students reflect on study abroad in Australia

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to travel abroad or live in a different country? Most people only dream about this experience but two students took this opportunity during their sophomore year, and they have a few words of advice for other Winthrop students  that are considering study abroad for the future.

Dominique Fergerson and Julia Belton studied abroad last fall in Australia.

Belton, an English major, and Fergerson, a business management major, both studied at the University of Australia-Sunshine Coast and lived there from July to November.

They shared their initial expectations, their doubts, fears and some of the highlights of their experience.

Belton said she feared that Australia would be expensive and was nervous about being away from her family.

Ferguson said that he was concerned about money and “making sure we disperse  it evenly without overspending,” he said.

While in Australia, Ferguson said that he enjoyed taking photographs, shopping and getting to travel to new places.

Belton recalled traveling to Brisbane and Caloundra, two popular cities in Australia.

Belton and Ferguson agreed that the beaches of Australia were some of the most memorable sights of their visit.

The standard of living in Australia is not much different from the United States, said Belton.

“It is the same as America, however, we did notice that the food is much healthier, said Belton. “There is not as much processed foods as it is here in the U.S.”

Their mode of transportation was a bit different from what they were used to in the U.S.

“At first we would walk everywhere, but once we got comfortable with the environment we began riding the buses and also our bicycles,” Fergerson said.

A typical day in Australia was similar to the U.S., as Fergerson and Belton described errands and routines.

“We would take a 15 minute walk to our classes and a 30 minute walk to the grocery store,” said Belton.

Both students had a few words of advice for students that are thinking about studying abroad:

First, plan at least six months to a year ahead.

Second, talk with your family and friends and ask them how they feel about your plans to study abroad.

Third, talk with your professors or your advisor so that you can see what classes are offered abroad that would satisfy your Winthrop requirements.

Finally, take advantage of the opportunities you are offered on campus; apply for scholarships.

One of the best scholarships to apply for is the Gillman Scholarship. This scholarship is available to those that receive the Pell Grant.

Talk to other students who have studied abroad and get their feedback, attend the study abroad fairs, said both Belton and Fergerson.

“If you want to know the area of the place that you plan on studying abroad and if you want the full experience, go for a full semester. Maymester is a good option if you are interested in a short visit,” said Belton.

For more information about studying abroad, visit the International Center in 218 Dinkins  Hall.

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