Megan Shoemaker - 2014 Program Participant

Study abroad students at surf camp in Australia

Megan and friends at surf camp for a weekend.

What was a normal day like as a intern in Australia?

I was an intern for a small law firm in the business district of Sydney. On a typical day, I would wake up around 7:30 a.m. and catch a local bus by 8 a.m. I would get a small flat white (a type of coffee) and drink it on the steps of the Opera House. At 8:30 a.m. I would arrive at the office and catch up with co-workers about our evenings and then focus on my task for the day. On some occasions I went to court or I would sit in on client meetings. At the office, I would help prepare and review court documents and deliver paperwork to clients and other law firms.  I would leave the office at 5:30 p.m. and, depending on the day of the week, go to class or go home and relax.

What was the most memorable experience you had while interning abroad with Boston University?

My most memorable experience abroad was my spring break. I went snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef, explored rainforests, rode a camel, and camped out in the outback…all in a week! It was a dream spring break that cannot be topped. What I loved about Australia was the extremely diverse landscape. One day I was snorkeling in the ocean along beautiful coral, and the next day I was hiking the barren outback. Australia’s landscape has the ability to take your breath away and remind you of the wonders of nature.

Study abroad students exploring the Australian outback and Uluru

Megan made it to the Australian outback to see Uluru.

What are the top reasons you'd want to go back to Australia again?

I would hop on a plane to Australia today if I could. While Australia is very westernized, there are distinct differences from America. Aussies appreciate a balance between work and home. The work culture is focused, yet recognizes that you work to live, not live to work. In addition to the favorable work life, the people were so friendly and welcoming. It was impossible to not make new friends wherever you went! In addition, Sydney is a very livable city. The public transportation is very easy to use, and there is a new adventure to be had every day. 

How has your experience both studying and interning abroad impacted your life?

How has my study abroad experience not impacted my life?! I can’t help but find myself saying “When I was in Australia…” in a least one conversation a day. It changed my whole perspective on life, and opened my eyes to career paths I had never considered. Currently, I am applying for an internship with the State Department to hopefully have another internship abroad. Living abroad teaches you valuable lessons about the world and yourself, lessons that can’t be learned if you don’t travel and live outside your comfort zone.

Study abroad students at the Sydney Harbor Bridge at Night

The Sydney Harbor Bridge at Night.

What important tips can you give to future participants of the program?

I would definitely advise to pack as light as possibly. You’ll only acquire more things, and it makes packing at the end a lot easier if you leave room for new things. I ended up throwing away clothes and leaving things behind so I could bring back all my souvenirs and gifts for friends and family. As cheesy as it is, I would also recommend being open to everything and everyone abroad. Step out of your comfort zone! Say “yes” more often. You will never get the opportunity to just learn and travel again in your life, don’t take it for granted! Don’t waste days sleeping in! Plan what you want to do, make a checklist, and check something off every day. Live life to the fullest!

If you could study abroad again, where would you go?

I would love to study abroad in Europe! Living in Sydney was an incredible experience, but one downside was that it was hard to travel to a lot of places. A lot of people don’t realize that Australia is roughly the size of the US, so if you want to experience a lot of Australia, it means flights and money. I loved that I really got to learn the ins and outs of Sydney--I was even able to give directions to someone once! But, if I could go abroad again, I would go to Europe so I could travel to more countries and experience a wider range of peoples and cultures.