Monthly Archives: September 2011

Get Your Footy On! Gearing up for the AFL Grand Final

In the United States, leaves are starting to turn and the weather is cooling down. For the athletically inclined, this means it’s American football season (woohoo!). In Australia, however, the football season is wrapping up as the entire nation gears up for the Grand Final of the Australian Football League (AFL).

Australian rules football (or Aussie rules, or just plain footy) is kind of a big deal in Australia. The AFL Grand Final is an even BIGGER deal. If you’re not familiar with Aussie rules, you can read all about it here… or have a look at student blogger Lilach’s Aussie rules experience:

Now that you’re acquainted with the rules of the sport, time to get excited for the big game! The two final teams, Collingwood and Geelong, are battling it out on 1 October at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). A bunch of exciting, celebratory events take place during the week leading up to the game, like live music and even a parade! If you want an in-depth look at the history behind the festivities, here‘s an insightful article.

Want to take part in Aussie rules merriment at home? Click here for a map listing all venues screening the AFL Grand Final. If you want to do more than just watch, consider joining an Aussie rules league in your country. You can find more information about playing Aussie rules football in the USA here.

Don’t forget, you can study sports in Australia, too! Learn all about the sports industry in Australia over a short summer course. Learn about the different aspects of sports industry like kinesiology, coaching, training, management, motivation and media at the University of Canberra’s National Institute of Sports Studies. You can read more about it here.

And of course, don’t forget our Course Search to find the program that fits your needs! Find a program here. If you are looking for study abroad programs, make sure to tick the “non-award” box.

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4 Tips on How to Write a Great Study Abroad Blog

Today’s blog post is from our new intern, Angelina! Angelina studied abroad at the University of the Sunshine Coast during Semester 2 2010 and has a few tips to share about keeping a blog while you study in Australia.

Speaking from first-hand experience, writing a blog sounds a lot easier than it actually is. Whilst taking a stroll down memory lane, I ventured back into my old blog (you can have a look here if you’d like) and re-read some of my entries I created while I was studying at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. Let’s just say I was less than impressed with myself!
So, effect of my recent epiphany I thought, “why not write a blog about how to write a good blog?!” Here are a few pointers that may be helpful in not boring the snot out of your followers!

  1. K.I.S.S. (Keep It Short & Simple!)You may feel the urge to go into excessive detail to share EVERYTHING you are experiencing. But, from the reader’s perspective, long posts that go on and on can get exhausting and uninteresting. Try limiting content to main topic points and follow that with one or two comments. For example, if you spent the day at the Steve Irwin Zoo with a bunch of Uni friends, mention that, and your favourite animal/exhibit/part of the day! That way you are being informative as well as expressing yourself without creating too much to read!

    sydney opera house study abroad blog australia

    Add pictures like this to your blog to add variety and raise interest!

  2. Add visuals! Adding pictures and videos to your blog really helps get your ideas across and are fun for your readers too! One or two visuals to go along with your post, something interesting/new you discovered (steering wheel on the opposite side of the car), food you made (fairy bread), popular place you went (Sydney Opera House) or even new friends you made (say cheese!) is a cool way to keep your followers updated on your Aussie adventures!
  3. Don’t overshare. While abroad, odds are is that you will be experiencing new and exciting things every day! However, when it comes to your blog, it may be best to limit your posts to once or a couple times a week. You don’t want to blog yourself out! Allow yourself to enjoy your Uni and new friends and write a blog post on your down time, perhaps before you catch some Z’s at the end of the night to reflect on what a wonderful week you had!
  4. Diversify your blog topics. It may be a lot easier (and more interesting to you) to blog about how delicious Tim Tams are, your messy flatmate or the best pubs to go to for cheap drinks, but it is also a good idea to include other kinds of information that could be useful and educational to others. For example, what you are learning in your Uni tutes and lectures, what is going on politically, how the culture/social norms differ or broken stereotypes Aussies/Americans may have had. You will be surprised about how much you learn by just observing and listening in your new surroundings!

Thanks, Angelina, for sharing these useful tips! Remember that you can always browse through our own Student Bloggers’ adventures to get a sense of what it’s REALLY like to study in Australia! You can click on the links under “Student Bloggers” on the right-hand side of this page or visit our website here to learn more.

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5 Tips on How to Deal with Homesickness

Homesick sad study abroad australia

Sometimes it's okay to be sad and contemplatively look out of a window

So you’re studying in Australia, and you’re having the time of your life, enjoying your classes, meeting the locals, exploring the country, and generally minding your own business when all of a sudden it hits you: you miss home. Maybe it’s because you pass a stranger on the street who reminds you of your best friend; perhaps you feel poignantly absent from a yearly family tradition like Thanksgiving; or it might just be that you’re craving Cheez-Its and can’t seem to find them ANYWHERE. Before you know it, you’re feeling nostalgic and mopey. What should you do to battle the study abroad blues? Check out the following tips:

1. Bring lots of photos from home

Packing photos from home in your suitcase when you head over is always a good idea. Pictures of your family, friends, and familiar places can help soothe or comfort you when you’re homesick. Keep them handy or tack them up on your walls so that you can create a space that is like home away from home.

2. Video chat with friends and family

Technology is pretty awesome. If you have access to a computer and the Internet, there are several programs available for you to video chat with friends and family back home. Both Skype and Google Video Chat are free to use and allow you to see as well as hear your loved ones while you call.

3. Explore your surroundings

Calling home is great to reconnect with your buddies — but don’t spend all of your time on the computer! You’re in a new place experiencing a multitude of new things. If homesickness is getting you down, a change of scenery may change your mood. Go on a weekend trip away or visit a famous site near your university to pep yourself up.

4. Cook your favorite dish and share it with Aussie friends

Study abroad share food australia

Students share traditional home-cooked meals with one another

If you’re hankering for a taste of home, make use of the kitchen and whip it up yourself! Sure, it may not taste exactly like your mama’s cooking, but it’s probably close enough. Your culinary exploits will not only squash your homesick bug, but will also let you share authentically North American culture with your new Aussie friends. The same goes for teaching your Aussie friends how to play American Football or introducing them to other North American traditions.

5. Share your experience with loved ones you miss

Part of being homesick is wishing that your favourite people could experience the same really-super-awesome-mind-blowingly-cool stuff that you’re doing. If video chatting doesn’t feel like enough, send packages and letters home (who doesn’t want to get Tim Tams in the mail?) or blog about your study abroad adventures. You’ll feel like your friends and family are right there with you!

In the end, homesickness is what you make of it. Keeping a positive attitude goes a long way. And while it’s totally okay to be sad and miss home, you must also remember to enjoy Australia while you’re there!

You can contact students who have studied Down Under (and survived homesickness!) and ask them questions about study abroad in Australia on our website here.

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All Around the World, It’s the Little Things that Count!

Today’s blog post is by guest blogger Kori Shearstone, one of our student ambassadors! Kori attends Ryerson University in Toronto and studied abroad at the University of South Australia in Adelaide. Read on to learn about what it’s like to be a North American student in Australia.

If you are currently preparing for your exchange semester and are about to burst from excitement, you are most likely thinking about the big picture. Coming to Australia, I was excited to go diving on the Great Barrier Reef, surfing, and spotting a kangaroo. I did all of these things, but what most people don’t realize is that it’s the little things that make North Americans unique and Australians different that are most cherished and shared during exchange.

Study Abroad Australia Student Blog

My Canadian friend Lucas and I baking a pumpkin pie from scratch

Trying to explain to Australians what Tim Horton’s is and why it’s so fantastic when bagels are scarcely found, is not the easiest task. So since I couldn’t bring Tim Horton’s to them I had to show them something else. Myself and my new found Canadian buds had to bake a pumpkin pie for our awesome European and Australian pals who had never heard of such a thing.

study abroad australia student blog

Myself and two other North American friends eating the pie we made

So, we went off to the store and realized there’s no canned pumpkin or cool whip! Yet, we were determined, so we had to create a pie from scratch, something our European friends do quite often. Overall, the pie was a success, but it seemed ironic that being in Australia had made us become more Canadian.

However, being back home makes us seem more Australian! Tim Tams at tea time and enjoying other Aussie foods is what I yearn for. So although you may be excited for those skydives and rainforest exploration, remember it is the journey, not the destination to look forward to. Exchange is like a road trip and you’re likely to take one. What makes a road trip successful is the people, music, and scenery. I never thought I would take a van covered in graffiti through the outback with fellow North Americans, but it was a truly memorable adventure. Sure we rode a camel, but the real adventure was driving on the wrong side of the road and then remembering to drive on that side when turning.

study abroad Australia student blog

The wicked van I rented with two Americans and a fellow Canadian to take to and from Adelaide into the Outback

Therefore, I challenge you to think about what truly makes you North American because you may be in a different country to learn about the world, but you will probably learn more about yourself and the things that make you and your country unique.

To learn more about exchange or Australia, click here to check out Kori’s vlog or send her an email at kori.shearstone[at]ryerson.ca.

You can also read more about all of our student ambassadors and their studies in Australia on our website here.

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Study in Australia and Build Your Resume

So you studied in Australia. Awesome. It’s possible that you met new people from all over the world, took hands-on classes in interesting subjects, traveled to exciting locales, made life-long friends, and generally had the time of your life. You might even have had the chance to pet a kangaroo or cuddle a koala. All of the aforementioned things are great, except that they leave out one important aspect of studying abroad: how it impacts your future.

What does studying in Australia mean for your future? How will it help you excel academically? How will it assist you in getting your dream job? Luckily for you, your friendly Embassy of Australia Education Team is here to give you a few pointers.

Studying in Australia Develops Your Skills

After a semester (or more) in Australia, these are the skills you are likely to have gained:

  • adaptability and flexibility
  • independence
  • self-motivation and initiative
  • cultural sensitivity and open-mindedness
  • good listening and communication skills
  • ability to see things from another perspective
  • willingness to take on a challenge or try something new
  • ability to learn through experience
  • …many, many more

Think about it. When in Australia, did you have to navigate a new city or an unfamiliar place? Did you have to think fast on your feet when travel plans unexpectedly went awry? Did Australian slang ever cause confusion or a misunderstanding you had to clarify? Did you learn how to see North America through others’ eyes? All of these experiences can help you develop skills (like the ones listed above) that are desirable to an employer. So next time you reminisce fondly about when you had to decipher what it meant to “get on with your books,” try to think of how the situation might be applicable to an office setting.

study abroad resume skills

This student looks ready to interview!

Tell Employers Your Story

The HR manager at your dream job probably doesn’t want to hear all about how you drove through the Outback with your best mates and didn’t shower for a week straight and got a flat tire and got lost five times and slept under the stars and man, was it ever an adventure. However, what she might want to know is that you excel at teamwork (it’s tough negotiating travel plans with five different people), or that you are a problem solver (how did you ever manage to fix a flat tire in the middle of nowhere?).  Interviewers often ask situational questions; draw from your study abroad experience and the skill set it provided you — but remember to keep it polished and relevant.

Tell Us Your Story

Whatever the case, your Australian study abroad experience is your own. Consequently, only you can know how studying in Australia spefically influences your future. And we’d love to hear what a semester Down Under has inspired you to achieve — whether it be an academic goal, a chosen career path, or a personal dream you’d like to fulfill. We want to hear your story. Enter our 2011 video contest and tell us! Who knows, you could even win a round trip for two to Australia (courtesy of V Australia). Click here for more details.

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