Izzy Pennington, Australian Univesities-University of Queensland (Environmental Studies)

 Izzy Pennington_Australia (3)

  1. What was your biggest fear about studying abroad that turned out to be no big deal?

 One of my biggest fears before arriving in Australia was getting extremely
homesick. I had never traveled by myself before to a different country, so I was
scared that I would miss my family and friends so much that I would want to go
home. Once I arrived, I was so excited to be there and there were so many
different things to do and explore that I never felt homesick. About two months
into my program, I started to miss home a lot, but it never got as bad as I
originally thought it would.

  1. What do you wish you had done to better prepare before going abroad?

 I wish I would have researched more places to go and travel to while abroad,
and have an idea of some places that I really wanted to visit. Once I got there, I
had no idea where I should go, so I ended up not exploring as much as I
originally thought I would. I also wish I would have researched how expensive
things were abroad. In Australia, everything tended to be more expensive than I
thought, and you have to fly most places, so I didn’t budget my money as well as
I should have. This prevented me from being able to travel around as much as I
would have liked.

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  1. What were your favorite classes abroad? How did they compare to UCSB?

 My classes were very interesting and much smaller than the classes at UCSB. I
primarily took environmental studies classes for my major, and they mainly
discussed environmental issues specific to Australia which was really
fascinating. All of my classes only had one midterm and one final, which was
very different from UCSB. This was particularly hard for me because my
program was also a semester instead of a quarter. It was challenging to stay
motivated for that long and only have two major assignments because I didn’t
stay as focused on my schoolwork as I should have. Also, their grading system
is a lot different than at UCSB, so at the beginning, I felt like I was completely
failing my classes, but it was just a difference in the grading system.

  1. What is one of your best memories from abroad?

 One of my best memories from abroad was the Spring break trip I took with
some friends. We traveled up to northern Australia to see the Great Barrier
Reef. We then road tripped down the coast and stopped at a few beach towns
along the way. We were able to travel out to islands, go snorkeling/scuba diving,
go skydiving, see a lot of beautiful beaches, and meet many new people from
around the world.

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  1. What was your biggest challenge abroad?

 One of my biggest challenges while abroad was staying motivated in school. It
was very difficult to keep up with schoolwork while traveling and doing
everything that I wanted to do. Also, there were very few assignments
throughout the entire semester, so I didn’t have weekly assignments to keep up
with. I ended up struggling with my classes more than I expected to.

  1. What is your favorite aspect of your host culture?

 Many Australians are very laid back and really enjoy being outside, even in the
city. Life in Australia is at a much slower pace than in the States, and people are
not as stressed. It was really refreshing to be able to grab coffee in the middle of
the day or just spend the entire day outside without worrying about everyday
struggles. Australians also have really good senses of humor and they have a lot of Aussie
slang that is like another language.

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  1. Did you intern, volunteer, or conduct fieldwork or research abroad? If so, tell us about your experience.

No I did not intern, volunteer or conduct research

  1. What local food or drink do you miss most now that you are back?

 Now that I’m back, I really miss Tim Tams. They are crunchy little chocolate
biscuits that are really popular in Australia. They were a perfect snack
throughout that day that fulfilled my chocolate cravings.

  1. How have you changed since your time abroad?

 Since my time abroad, I am far more confident than I was before leaving. I
realized that I am able to travel by myself, meet new people, and live in another
country for an extended period of time. While in Australia, I was only one of two
students from UCSB at my university, so I was completely forced to put myself
out there and interact with people that were from all around the world. This was
very humbling and exciting, and I met people from many different countries that I
am still in contact with today.

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  1. What is your advice to prospective UCSB EAP students?

 My advice would be to just completely put yourself out there and try any new
experience that comes up. Some of my best memories and experiences were
from times that were completely spontaneous, and sometimes with people that I
had just recently met. Try not to overthink anything before trying it, and just
enjoy the time that you have because it goes by extremely fast.

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