Karimah visits the peaks of 'The Three Sisters' rock formation at Blue Mountains National Park.
Overseas Study Program
Karimah’s major: International Studies
Term abroad: Fall 2008
Reason you chose this program: The school had a good curriculum for my major and I was accepted into the exchange program, which made studying abroad more affordable.
Favorite classes: I liked my class that focused on women's autobiographies. Another class I enjoyed was a South Asian political science course in which the teachers sat back and watched as the students role-played as individuals who attended the Shimla Conference.
Describe the housing situation: I lived in a dorm (or college as they call it), that had a mixture of international and domestic students.
Best Memory: One of my best memories was reaching Canberra, walking down the street alone, and smiling because I had a fresh new start.
Biggest Surprise: I was surprised at how easily and quickly I adjusted to my new environment and fell in love with Australia.
Experience with culture shock or reverse culture shock: I had horrible reverse culture shock. For the first month back home, I felt out of place and struggled to accept the fact that I was no longer in Australia.
Complete this sentence: If I could do it over, I would...have stayed for an academic year.
What you know now that you didn't know before going abroad: After going abroad, I now have a better sense of who I am as a person, as well as more confidence in my abilities to travel alone and be independent.
What I wish I knew before I left: I wish I had a better understanding of reverse culture shock, so that when I went through it, perhaps it wouldn't have been so hard.
Greatest Challenge: I know this sounds bad, but I constantly forgot to call home!
Going abroad versus staying on campus, discuss: Going abroad and staying on campus to an extent is similar. One of the major differences is that when you are in a foreign country, you will travel more and do more activities because you have limited time. But if you stay on campus, you are in your home country so you may do less because it can always be done later.
Advice to Future Study Abroad Participants: Wisdom from a Dove Chocolate wrapper, "You cannot discover new oceans until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore."