Mike Morra - 2015 Program Participant

What inspired you to go abroad? 

I was inspired to study abroad by my sister. She studied abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland while she was in school. After visiting her and hearing her talk about her experiences, I realized how much of an impact it made on her life and how cool of an experience it had to be to experience someone else's culture. I also have been fortunate to have traveled outside the country a few times in the past, and you could say, I caught the travel bug.

People standing on a beach in Queensland, Australia
Quicksilver Pro, QLD, AUS

Why did you choose your specific program in Australia?

When I began researching how I could study abroad in Australia, and which programs I'd be eligible to pursue, I decided to pick up the phone and call The Education Abroad Network (TEAN). I was greeted by the most friendly and passion-driven staff, who wanted to support my interests in studying abroad and were extremely willing to answer any questions I had. Every time I spoke with TEAN, I was always greeted with the same amount of support.

TEAN afforded me the best experience of my life. 

What was your favorite part about Australia? 

My favorite part about Australia was meeting new people, whether that was meeting fellow Americans, Australians, or people from other places. It felt like I was continually being exposed to new people who each carried different interests, passions, hobbies, etc.

Surfers Paradise, Queensland, Australia
Sufers Paradise, QLD, AUS

What made your experience abroad unique?

My experience abroad was made unique by the people I was with. I think I have TEAN to thank for that. We had orientation in Sydney before heading up to Bond's campus on the Gold Coast. TEAN had a bunch of activities to help us get acclimated to the lifestyle (which wasn't too hard to get used to when you have 80 degree weather and 5-star beaches within walking distance), and also engaged us with our peers. 

How did local staff support you throughout your program?

The local staff were awesome. They assisted us getting settled in the country, had a few gatherings throughout the semester, and were always available to chat if we had any questions. At the same time, they gave us an immense amount of freedom, which really allowed us to get out there and be fully immersed in the Australian lifestyle and culture. 

What's one thing you wish you would have done differently?

I think about this a lot. I wished I had saved more money beforehand to travel a bit more than I did. I definitely traveled a lot, but there is SO much to see over there; it's insane! Also, wish I was able to do a full year, because four months was too short.

Koala at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary in Queensland, Australia
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, QLD, AUS

Describe a typical day in the life of your program.

During the week, I would typically have class in the morning, and then hit the beach in the afternoon with friends, to lounge or surf (*cough cough*: attempt to surf, that is). I often went to this bar/restaurant at night called The Hub, which was near campus, to listen to music, meet new people, and hangout with friends.

What did you enjoy doing in your free time?

I really enjoyed pushing myself out of my comfort zone and trying to engage in conversation with locals. I also enjoyed attempting to surf-- it was definitely a sight, if I say so myself. 

What was your accommodation like? What did you like best about it? 

I stayed at The Reserve, which I chose through TEAN. I lived with three other guys from the U.S. that were also studying through TEAN. All of us are now great friends. The Reserve was a dream; we had a pool, hot tubs, a balcony, and an overall beautiful setup. It was also right next to campus and there were a bunch of other students that were staying at The Reserve. Sure beat my tiny apartment in NYC!

What is one thing every participant should know before participating in your program?

Be prepared to have the best four months of your life. Save up and take every opportunity you can to travel. Australia is an absolutely beautiful country full of beautiful people. 

Currumbin Beach, Queensland, Australia
Currumbin Beach, QLD, AUS

Now that you're home, how has your time abroad impacted your life?

My time abroad impacted me heavily. By pushing myself out of my comfort zone and going into the program without knowing anyone, I really began to find myself and figure out what I like and what I don't like. Since then it has really helped me to have a sense of self, along with a greater respect for others around me; personally, I think that understanding yourself and having a respect for others is the best gift anyone can ever receive.

Would you recommend your program to others? Why?

100%! This was seriously the best four months of my life and an absolute amazing opportunity to be immersed in a foreign country. TEAN has a variety of options to chose from in the Asia, South-Pacific, and Australia, and they definitely afford a one-of-a-kind experience for their students.