Where in the World is Miami Wednesday: Australia

By Megan Schulte, student study abroad ambassador

What program you are on: University of Sydney in Australia -- IES Abroad Direct Enrollment

Is it a Miami or Third-Party program: Third-party (Transfer Credit, Non-Miami University Program), this meaning that my scholarships applied to my program costs and my grades will come back as transfer credits.

Miami student Ciara Lawson underwaterWhat you are studying with your program: I took mostly microbiology courses and found some amazing classes in pre-veterinary science and aboriginal studies as well. I wanted a good balance of subjects related to my career goals as well as immersive classes that would connect me with a unique culture. I also found a position in a diabetes research lab in a Sydney hospital which was great to experience and network.

Why you chose the program that you did: I chose IES Abroad because of the ability for my Miami merit scholarships to apply to my program costs. Sydney is one of the most expensive cities in the world and having that extra financial support truly helps. IES’ renown as a program that cares for students is true as well. I became good friends with my program advisors who not only helped with scheduling classes but also took surfing lessons and had dinners with us.

As for choosing Australia, I have always been fascinated by the wildlife, the laid-back attitude, and the beautiful beaches. Diving in the Great Barrier Reef before it is gone was also a big bucket list item for me.

Coolest place/thing that you have done so far: Driving the Great Ocean Road for a week was incredible. I traveled with a few friends as we explored huge national parks that are thousands of kilometers of virtually untouched Australia. We camped among koalas, cockatoos, and kangaroos then would spend the day finding sea stars and miniature ecosystems inside tidepools. It was an absolute dream.

Favorite part about the program: My program offered a spring break trip to the Northern Territory for the first time this year. The NT is as ‘outback’ as it gets and it amazed me how many Australians have never been out there. We camped in Kakadu National Park where we hiked, found Aboriginal Dreamtime rock carvings, and met some of the toughest people on the planet. They wake up to 100˚F weather and call four-meter-long saltwater crocodiles “beach puppies”. They are as resilient as they come.

Miami student and friend at Opera HouseHow study away has affected/changed you so far: One thing that was a happy surprise to me was how multicultural Sydney is. I came to Australia was because I needed to take high-level microbiology courses in English. Instead of the stereotype of Australia being predominantly white, I discovered the diverse communities especially from China and Southeast Asia throughout the city. I was exposed to unique foods, dress, customs, and people that really made me admire the dynamics of diversity. Cognizance and understanding of different cultures is vital to a better world.

Catch us after winter term as we continue to travel around the world to feature the amazing opportunities that Miami students are taking!
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