Harriet diving at the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland's tropical north. Photo: Deep Sea Divers Den
Harriet diving at the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland's tropical north. Photo: Deep Sea Divers Den
Program: Study Abroad
Country of Origin: U.S.A.
What are you studying at your home university?
When & why did you decide on studying in Australia?
I’ve always wanted to visit Australia, and when I found out last year that I could study in Australia as an undergraduate, I knew I had to come.
Why did you choose Australia and The University of Queensland?
Australia is such a unique place, and as someone deeply interested in ecology and biodiversity, I thought it would be a really amazing opportunity to continue my education here. My home university has sent many students to UQ and it has a very strong biology department, which was why I chose to study at this particular university.
What were your first impressions when you arrived in Australia?
To be honest, it’s not all that different from the US – we speak the same language, eat the same food, etc. – but there are so many small, every-day differences that struck me. For example, there are so many birds in Australia! I was in awe when I saw my first Ibis, but soon learned to be wary around them if I’m eating. But just waking up to the sound of birds every morning was one of those little elements that reminded me I wasn’t at home anymore.
What was the highlight of your studies so far?
Being able to take courses I’m really interested in has been a very rewarding experience. There are many more options here than I have at home, and it’s really great getting to explore those options. A highlight would be the courses on Australia’s marine and terrestrial environments, because I got to learn about the unique ecosystems of the country.
What extracurricular activities were you involved in? (E.g. undergrad research opportunities, student clubs, representation on forums, panels, uni sports, etc)
During my time in Australia I became a certified SCUBA diver, which has been a dream of mine for a long time. Getting to dive at the Great Barrier Reef was a truly amazing experience! It’s a whole different world under the water.
Did you do any in-country travelling, or volunteering or gained any work experience? If yes, what is your recommendation in this regard for future students travelling to Brisbane?
Unfortunately I haven’t had an opportunity for work experience in my short time here (although a friend of mine did some volunteering at Australia Zoo and loved it!). However, I did get the opportunity to travel a bit to Cairns, Sydney, and Melbourne, and I have a trip to Tasmania booked for after exams! I would highly recommend international students to travel and see as much of this beautiful country as possible, but Brisbane is also a wonderful city, so don’t forget to spend some time here too!
What skills and opportunities has studying at UQ given to you in preparation for your career?
Living in another country has really helped me to become an independent person, and to open myself up to new experiences. I’ve learned that if I’m at all interested in something, I should go out and try it. I’m still figuring out plans for my future and what I want to do with my life, but I’m much more confident now that I will seize every opportunity I get to try new things and really discover where I should be.
Do you have any advice for students that are thinking about coming to UQ as a Study Abroad student?
Do it! Come to UQ! I’ve had such an amazing time here, both as a Brisbane resident and UQ student. There’s so much to do in Brisbane, it’s a wonderful place to live! And as for UQ, the classes are engaging, the campus is beautiful, the professors are intelligent, and students are always welcoming.
Choose three words to describe your study experience overseas:
  • exciting
  • beautiful
  • life-changing
Three things that you have missed most from home:
  • my family
  • my friends
  • Mexican food!
For more information on the UQ Study Abroad & Incoming Exchange program, please click here