Andrea Trach - 2014 Program Participant
A kangaroo is super friendly at Featherdale Wildlife Park in Sydney, Australia.
What attracted you to study abroad?
To be honest, I didn’t expect to study abroad with any life-changing outcomes. I just really wanted to get out in the world and see a beautiful place that I thought (back then, at least) I would never get to again.
How did you decide Australia was the perfect destination for your program?
I’ve always wanted to see Australia. I wanted to do something different than the typical Europe study abroad that most people do. And to be honest, a little bit of it was because I wanted to lounge on some of the beautiful beaches in Australia I’ve seen in pictures, magazines, and movies.
Australia has similarities to the United States that it didn’t make my first time out of the country too shocking, but I learned so many things about life. The more I thought about it, the more Australia has everything one would want in a study abroad experience. Australia has the vast outback, tropical areas filled with the most unique creatures on earth, and history in their Aboriginal people and historic buildings in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane especially.
Why did you select The Education Abroad Network’s program?
I knew someone who went through The Education Abroad Network (TEAN), and while she encouraged me to look at all of the study abroad options for Australia, the way that she spoke about her experience through them made me want to go with them too. TEAN has their programs down like the back of their hand; any question you ask, they’ve experienced it and know exactly what to say. The program had structure, especially seen during the orientation in Sydney, and that was perfect because we got to see every part of the city.
Once we settled into the Gold Coast, there were representatives from TEAN who lived there who we met with for surfing, banana bread and coffee, and a few other things. It made being on the other side of the country a lot less scary having TEAN there. I would pick them every single time again. The Education Abroad Network is the reason my study abroad experience was so amazing.
A trip filled with the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest reached an overlook with the most vivacious aqua and green shades the Earth could produce in Tropical North Queensland, Australia
What is the biggest challenge you faced during your time in Australia? How did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge I faced was definitely homesickness. My university in the states is only an hour away from home, so I was used to seeing my family whenever I wanted. Once it set in that I was really on the other side of the world, I started to feel scared. I honestly was just looking forward to coming home.
I emailed with some of The Education Abroad Network representatives that I had gotten close with, and they helped open my eyes to the fact that when I come home from Australia in a few short months, I’ll be shocked at how similar everything still is. And wow, that really woke me up. I remember right after I read that email from them, I was riding on the bus to the beach and I was just in shock at how beautiful of a country I was in, and how I was wasting it away by being homesick. Homesickness is bound to happen abroad, but when that can be overcome and you can just enjoy the little, little time you actually do have abroad, it makes the coming home that much sweeter.
A pre-semester excursion to the small, beautiful Naviti Island in Fiji was the journey of a lifetime, with crystal clear turquoise waters during the day and every star of the Milky Way by night.
How has studying abroad in Australia impacted your life?
My time in Australia impacted my life in so many ways. My eyes were opened to how beautiful and how grand the world we live in can be. Since I’ve come back to the states, I’ve had multiple occasions of working on my homework and feeling stuck in Ohio, asking myself why I’m here since I know there is so much beauty in Australia. My time in Australia has given me so much motivation to do well in school, so I do have the means to explore the world. My time in Australia also taught me the significance of experiencing a moment without your camera, learning to be completely out of your comfort zone, and how to become friends with anyone.
Something I learned in Australia that I will always take with me is:
Americans live to work. Australians work to live. They work to see the world, to live their life. That’s exactly what I hope to put in my life, too.
Why do you want to travel back to Australia when you have the chance?
Well, I’ve been back for about three months, and I already have a list of where I plan to visit in Australia when I go again. Honestly, the whole vibe in Australia is just a pleasant, fun-loving, happiness that radiates through the country. Laying on beautiful beaches watching the surfers, climbing through unique tropical rainforests, seeing the Sydney Opera House with my very own eyes… all reasons I’d love to go back. Many underestimate the true vastness of this country. I also hope to explore the Outback and the beautiful, uninhabited Western Australia.
What is your most memorable experience from your time in Australia?
I would have to say the most memorable experience I had while studying abroad was during my trip to Victoria. We started off in Melbourne, which is just a beautiful city, but then we journeyed for the entire day/evening to see the Great Ocean Road, which is a lot longer than it sounds. We saw sights so beautiful I often had to close my eyes and open them up again to see if it was real. We saw turquoise waters, famous surf spots, beautiful Australian farmland, and the star of the show: The 12 Apostles. That is one of the most beautiful days in my life, I can only hope others make that journey as well.
The most beautiful day of Andrea’s life…a voyage down the Great Ocean Road took about 13 or 14 hours total from Melbourne, Australia, and every scene along the way was stunning.
If you could study abroad again, where would you go?
As cheesy as it sounds, I would do the exact same program and school again. I fell in love with the Gold Coast, with its beautiful beaches, outstanding restaurants, and always something to do. Bond University was less of a school and more of a beautiful park (well it actually was a school, and my time there was very enjoyable). The Gold Coast is also very central to Tropical North Queensland as well as Sydney, Melbourne, and many Pacific Islands, such as Fiji. This made it a lot easier to travel since we were right in the heart of everything.
Australia had the beautiful weather, scenic views, awe-inspiring history, invigorating adventure, and everything else one would want in a study abroad experience.