What I Discovered in Australia

By Megan Donnelly –  Megan is a GlobaLinks Learning Abroad Alumna Ambassador who studied abroad at Griffith University – Gold Coast in Australia. Megan is from the University of Rhode Island. 


Megan – GlobaLinks Learning Abroad Alumna Ambassador

What will you discover” is the GlobaLinks slogan.  The Discovery Model was designed as a guideline for study abroad students to make the most out of their experience and take advantage of every opportunity.  My experience was not the same as my friends but I was able to discover myself in each pillar of discovery.

Academic Discovery

It’s easy to forget the purpose of studying abroad is to study and experience a new, unfamiliar approach to academics.  Familiarizing myself with the Australian academics, especially the grading system, was an adjustment, but I am grateful for the opportunity.  Minoring in Spanish, I was unsure if I should take a class in Australia because I knew it wasn’t as frequently spoken as in the US, and the only class available was a much higher level than I was comfortable with.  The class had its difficulties but I was challenged to use my Spanish skills more than I ever had in the past.  My confidence in my ability to speak Spanish as well as my skills unexpectedly grew.

Personal Discovery

Australia was a lot of firsts for me; the first time living more than a 30-minute drive from my parents, cooking and buying groceries for myself and traveling outside of the US.   I remember being absolutely terrified of cooking for myself every single day and though I would live off salad for five months.  It was nowhere near as difficult as I had imagined.  I became more independent as well.  My friend and I planned a 10-day semester break tip to New Zealand, from what we did each day, finding hostels to stay at and booking transportation to each town.


Professional Discovery

I did not have an internship or job while I was abroad, which I definitely regret because minimum wage is nearly three times as much in Australia, but I did gain valuable information I can use in the future.  I gained much more out of my Spanish class than just improving my speaking abilities.  The class focused on utilizing Spanish in real life setting, like applying for a job.  I not only learned how to create a strong resume, video CV and how to personalize a cover letter, but also how to conduct myself in an interview setting.  Although I learned everything in Spanish, it is easily applicable to preparing for any type of job interview.

Social Discovery

I was fortunate to live with an Australian who happened to have a car and it made my time in Australia that much better.  She would take my friends and me to local places that are difficult to get to without a car.  We ventured to rock pools and into the Gold Coast Hinterlands.  I also had the awesome chance to spend a week in Cairns at my roommate’s house.  She took my friend and I too so many amazing places, we had a proper Aussie barbeque on the beach and tried sugar cane straight from the stalk.  I meet so many amazing people from all over the world that I know I will always be friends with and now I have an excuse to travel more.

Beach Meagan


Cultural Discovery

I am an extremely finicky eater.  I do not any type of seafood and if I do not like the way something looks or smells, it is probably not going in my stomach.  Once I got to Australia, that I changed and I told myself I needed to be more adventurous and try new things.  The first few days in Australia, my taste buds were exposed to so many new flavors.  I tired Vegemite, which is gross, Kangaroo, and every strange-looking fruit imaginable.  I even got the courage to try sushi, which I’m now completely obsessed with.  I also had the opportunity to attend a rugby match, which is like Aussie religion, and had an amazing time.


One Response to “What I Discovered in Australia”
  1. Ashely says:

    I love hearing about other people’s experiences that were also in Australia. I studied in Canberra last semester, stereotyped as boring, but I had the best time and couldn’t have chosen a better place to study. I’m also a spanish minor but could not take any classes there since they wouldn’t transfer, but happy to hear it worked for you! I can’t wait to visit this beautiful place again and reunite with my aussie friends! Thanks for the post :)

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