Flinders Degree: Bachelor of Psychology (Honours)
Program: Semester exchange Semester 1 2016
Destination: Butler University, the United States
“Being able to plan it all and have everything organised was a good achievement I think. And meeting and befriending people from many different countries was also really nice”.
The highlight was probably spending spring break in Miami. And going to the Butler basketball games on campus was a great experience as well.
Before You Go
My biggest worry was getting a room mate who I wouldn’t get along with, but there wasn’t really anything that could be done about this in the planning stage.
I arrived the day after orientation so I can’t say exactly what it was like. However, I believe it mainly entailed being shown around the campus, where to find everything and so on, as well as being told the important information such as housing policies (e.g. alcohol).
- There were more, smaller assignments than at Flinders, where I have usually had something like 1-2 assignments/essays and a final exam. I did 4 topics o/s as they seemed on average to have a similar workload to Flinders topics, so doing the 5 over there like I would have needed to to get the credits for doing 4 at Flinders would have been a lot of work, and given me not much time to enjoy myself. There was a lot of variability in workload though – one topic I did probably had more workload than 2 of my other topics combined (including a copious amount of reading), and the normal workload for a Flinders topic would fit somewhere in the middle of those.
- There was a Diversity Centre where exchange students were welcomed to go and hang out whenever they pleased, and the DC coordinators were great resources whenever we needed assistance. The DC also organised events both on and off campus for international students. Additionally, there were students called Diversity Ambassadors whose role was to help us in any way they could, e.g. giving us lifts to the store, answering our questions, picking us up from the airport.
On campus housing with meals included. I stayed in the cheaper on-campus accommodation (Resco) and would recommend it over the more expensive but nicer Apartment Village because the majority of the internationals stayed in Resco and therefore it was much more social, you have a room mate, and it’s closer to the dining halls and classes.
- Housing Cost
AU$1500-$2000 per month including accommodation and unlimited meal plan
- Living Expenses
The main expenses were accommodation, meal plan, and the university’s health insurance. Together, they were very approximately $10.5k AUD with the dollar conversion rate at about 1 AUD: 0.72 US. Textbooks were similarly priced to home, and for some books you can get second hand or electronic versions.
- Typical Day
(With small breaks in between): Breakfast in the dining hall, class for 1-2 hours, lunch in the dining hall, class for 1-2 hours, then back to housing for a bit before going for dinner in the dining hall again. Then either homework at night or hang out with other internationals or go to a basketball game.
Probably the main difference between college-aged Aussies and Americans is the willingness of Americans to throw themselves into things and get involved, compared to Australians’ tendency to be more self-conscious and watch from the sidelines (obviously a big generalisation).
- Making friends
It wasn’t particularly easy to make friends with the Americans. This is partly because the internationals lived together and were a close group and so didn’t feel the need to go off and befriend many Americans. Having Diversity Ambassadors assigned to the internationals was a really good way to get to know some Americans though.
I didn’t really have any major difficulties.
Advice to Flinders Students Thinking about Overseas Study Opportunities
Don’t lock yourself up and hide in your room. Be as social as possible and you’ll hopefully make some very good friends. And don’t worry about minor details or even things like who your room mate is – you can still have an amazing time even if you don’t get along with your room mate too well. And if you have a list of things you want to do where you’re going, start straight away – don’t wait a couple of months because the time will go quickly!
- Read other Outbound Returned Student Interviews here