I regard my exchange as being the greatest thing I’ve ever done, and possibly will ever do! I will encourage everyone to go on an exchange as it is so rewarding!
Who: Rochelle Weston
Studying: Bachelor of Arts
Where: Butler University, USA
When: 9th of January 2013 – 8th of May 2013
Please describe the orientation process:
Upon arrival we had two full day intensives that gave us the back ground of the school, what to expect in the classroom, and the finalising of our classes.
How did the academic program differ to Flinders?
There was home work every night and I had a full week of classes. It was different to Flinders in that there was more work, but the work was not harder. Also final exams took place in the space of a week rather than a month.
What facilities were provided to international students?
There wasn’t that much provided for exchange students the semester that I was there. But I did live in the international unit so we were allowed to celebrate certain events with the cost covered for. For example we held an Australia Day BBQ and our food was paid for.
Where did you live and would you recommend it?
On-campus. Yes!!! I lived in the Residential College in unit A1. This was the international unit and by far the best! I got to meet and live with people from all over the world as well as spending time with Americans. The Americans in that unit had elected to be there so they wanted to get to know you and your culture.
Approx how much did your exchange cost you?
Roughly around $11,000. Almost $7,000 of that went to my fees for housing, meal plan, books and health insurance. The rest was my spending money.
Did you receive financial assistance?
Yes, I received an OS Help loan and a Flinders scholarship.
What cultural differences did you encounter?
There were only minor differences between Australia and America. I really only struggled with the food, as the majority was processed. Also the structure of college in comparison to university. College required classes every day and homework every night. I have never had that at Flinders.
Did you have any fears?
My major fear was that I wouldn’t make any friends. Turns out this was a ridiculous fear! The Americans wanted to get to know me, and all of the other international students were there for the same reason I was.
Was it easy to make friends?
Having an accent gives you a huge advantage, but also looking for opportunities to get to know people. Attend events, leave your door open in your unit. Invite conversation and be open to getting to know people!
Did you experience any homesickness?
I adapted to life in America very quickly. I didn’t experience homesickness at all. I had my finances sorted and communication was fairly simple thanks to Facebook, email and free call apps. I honestly can’t think of any difficulties I encountered.
What was the most rewarding part of your exchange?
The most rewarding part was the people that I met. Living so closely with so many different cultures was an incredible experience! Becoming more educated about those cultures and the world around me was awesome.
What was the highlight of your program?
The whole experience! I loved every second! There was always so much to do, as Butler provided so many programs. As well as living with people that wanted to go out and experience American life.
What advice would you give to prospective exchange students?
Be open to new experiences! Do as much as possible, see as much as possible! Don’t lock yourself in your room, go and explore and build relationships.