Nick feeds a wallaby at a petting zoo in Victoria.
Overseas Study Program
Nick’s major: Public Management
Term abroad: Summer 2009
Reason you chose this program: I had good friends who went to Australia in previous semesters and had the time of their lives, so it seemed like an easy decision from there.
Describe the housing situation: Our group stayed in a nice hotel complex that was a 10-minute walk from the downtown area and a 15-minute walk from Melbourne University. We were also across the street from a tram stop which could take you anywhere you wanted in Victoria, making any destination easily accessible.
Best Memory: Going to my first Australian Rules Football match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Sports are such a big part of the Australian culture, so it was awesome experiencing it all for the first time in a stadium that holds nearly 100,000 people.
Biggest Surprise: The Australians I interacted with were some of the nicest people I have ever met. I was pretty nervous going to a new country by myself, but the Australians were extremely helpful and answered any questions I had.
Experience with culture shock or reverse culture shock: Even though I was aware that Australians drive on the left side of the road prior to my visit, it is something that amazed me when I experienced it firsthand. You have to be conscious of where traffic is coming from at all times especially when crossing the street. I've heard stories of many study abroad students having close calls with oncoming traffic because they look the wrong way.
Complete this sentence: If I could do it over, I would...take a trip to the Great Barrier Reef to experience the beach and snorkeling.
What I wish I knew before I left: I wish I knew how Australians love the taste of Vegemite so much. It is compared to peanut butter in the United States, but it has a very interesting taste. You have to try it at least once.
Going abroad versus staying on campus, discuss: Going abroad offers a world of opportunities that Bloomington doesn't. In the six weeks I was abroad, there were so many places to see and so many things to do. Honestly, it was hard to fit everything I wanted to do in what felt like a short six weeks.
Fact about your host country that you think people would be surprised to learn: January 26th is known as Australia Day. Australia Day commemorates the arrival of Captain Arthur Phillip and the First Fleet, landing at Camp Cove on January 26,1788.