Kimberly Worsham - 2015 Program Participant

Story Bridge at night, Brisbane, Australia

Story Bridge at night

Why did you decide to apply for an international degree program?

I wanted to take this masters internationally because there were not many other options within the US, and I wanted to gain the network I knew this specific masters had. It also helped that there was a full-tuition scholarship available for this masters. I always wanted to live abroad for longer than a semester, so this program was a perfect fit for me, my career, and my finances.

Why did you choose to earn a degree at the International WaterCentre (IWC)?

I am interested in a very specific field called WASH: water, sanitation, and hygiene. Most WASH programs require an engineering background, but I have a business background. This program perfectly utilizes my business degree and experience while easily shifting my focus to WASH. The IWC is also a well-known organization with a lot of great research, and I wanted to be connected to that.

Eating Eritrean food in Australia

Classmates out for Eritrean food

What is your favorite part about Brisbane?

Brisbane is a great place to study because there is a perfect mix of entertainment and fun, as well as quiet time for work. I have been able to keep myself busy on the weekends, but not feel overwhelmed with options, especially when I have big assignments due.

What makes your degree program unique?

The master’s in integrated water management program is unique partly because of the diversity of my classmates. My friends in the program come from all corners of the earth, and they specialize in fields from mechanical engineering to public policy. It's a great, fascinating blend of people, and the support is tremendous.

What kind of support has the local staff provided you with throughout your program?

The local staff has supported me throughout the program more than most other education staff would elsewhere. They helped me out from organizing my trip here, giving me help in looking for housing, giving me career and study advice, and answered all of my answers. The whole team is approachable and accessible, which means I come in a lot to ask questions and get feedback. It's such a great change from the other programs I've been in!

What's one thing you wish you could change about your experience?

I wish I had saved more money before coming to study, so that I could feel more comfortable financially.

What surprised you most about Australia?

How similar Australia really is to America! Sometimes I forget that I am studying in a foreign country.

Walking through South Bank, Australia

Me waltzing through South Bank

What is a typical day like for you as a graduate student in Brisbane?

None of the days are like the others, so it's hard to describe a day in the life. Classes often run 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with a bunch of breaks throughout the material. Afterwards, classmates might go out for food and talk about the material or run ideas by each other. I work on assignments in the library at school until around 7 p.m., go home and eat dinner, and sleep. I wake up early and exercise before going to a different class.

What is your favorite thing to do on your free time?

My favorite activity is walking along South Bank and reading in the nearby coffee shops.

What type of accommodation do you have? What do you like best about it?

I live off-campus, like most people, in a shared apartment. It's a 30 minute commute door-to-campus, and the bus route is direct. My place is a bit smaller than many places, but my bed is a double, my two roommates are also students, and we have a living room and a fully-functioning kitchen. Laundry is in the bathroom we share.

What has been the hardest part about earning a degree abroad?

The different grading system has been challenging to learn and change my expectations. They grade a lot harsher on assignments than I'm used to, so my 77 is actually a great grade here.

What is one thing you wish you would have known before studying in Australia?

That I should have packed more clothing. I packed like I'd be here for a month, not a year! Also, I wish I had saved more money for more travels.

What do you think the biggest benefit of earning your degree abroad is, as opposed to earning it at home?

There is not a similar degree at home, so the benefit to me is that I'm getting my degree at all!