Sean Demers - 2015 Program Participant
Why did you decide to apply for an international program?
I wanted a change. I wanted to experience something new. Basically, I was bored. I knew that I loved to travel and I knew that my school had study abroad programs available. I figured I would never get an opportunity like this again, so I took advantage of it. It was the best decision I have ever made.
In Fiji we did a sunrise hike, it was absolutely gorgeous.
Why did you choose The Education Abroad Network?
I knew I wanted to go to Australia right off the bat because that has always been a dream of mine, so I started reviewing programs with my study abroad advisor. Bond University offered a semester that matched up with fall semester for American schools, so once I knew exactly where I wanted to go, I just needed to find a program. I started doing research online, reading interviews like these, and I finally decided to go with TEAN. Again, one of my better decisions.
What was your favorite part about Australia?
This is a tough question, because I was in Australia, so I loved everything. It was really easy to get around, and on weekends I could book a cheap flight and go to Melbourne or Cairns. The best part of where I was though was the proximity to the beach, and the fact that I was on the Gold Coast, which is in my opinion one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the world. I was right near the beach, right near the big city, and right near the hinterland for some breathtaking hikes; I had it all.
Hitting the swells with surfers paradise in the background
What aspects of your program made it unique?
I know this will sound corny, but I honestly think the people were the most unique part of my program. The people I went abroad with were some of the most amazing people I have ever met. Going abroad and sharing this experience with people your own age creates a brotherhood that you could not get anywhere else. I fell in love, found a couple of guys who I now consider my best friends, and just made true friendships that I know will last the rest of my life.
How did local staff support you throughout your program?
The TEAN staff members were awesome. In the beginning, in Fiji and Sydney, we had staff members with us all the time to help us really get acquainted and help with any questions we had. Once we got to school, they kind of let us free, which was nice; it was basically like parents sending their kids off to college. Even at school, we could still contact any staff member at any time and they would gladly help us as soon as they could. The support was great and not once did I feel helpless or overwhelmed.
What's one thing you wish you would have done differently?
I wish I would have brought more money with me. I brought plenty of money, but unfortunately I spent plenty of money as well. It was worth every penny because I did everything I could while I was there. There were just a few things I was limited with because of my lack of funds.
Describe a day in the life of your program.
Well, if it was a school day, I would wake up bright and early because I scheduled all my classes early so I didn't miss any daylight (would recommend). Once I was done with class I would usually hop on the bus and go down to Broadbeach where my friends lived. Then we would usually go surfing down the beach or hit the pool. That was pretty much my average day, not too shabby.
What was your favorite thing to do on your free time?
Another tough question because every single thing I did was so amazing, but if I had to pick one I would have to say that scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef was my favorite. I mean c'mon it’s the Great Barrier Reef; it's one of the seven natural wonders of the world. I really cannot describe to someone sitting at a computer how unreal that experience was. It is like a whole new world down there. It was the most at peace I have ever felt, because of the calm of the water. It was also one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen.
View of the Sydney Opera House
What type of accommodation did you have? What did you like best about it?
I lived on campus and I enjoyed it. Yes, it was dorm life, but the dorms were very nice and the food on campus was good. A lot of my friends lived in Peppers apartments right by the beach, so I pretty much lived there half the time. I think the best thing about living on campus is the fact that I got to meet so many new people outside of my program. I met tons of other international students and plenty of Australian students as well.
Now that you're home, how has your time abroad impacted your life?
I think the main thing is that it has just given me a new perspective on life. Before my trip it was all about school and work and money. I always knew there was more to everything than that, but now that I have seen it first had it just gives me a whole new understanding. It has changed my life for the better that's for sure, besides the fact that I am still in the post-trip depression phase.