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Do It, Go Abroad

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Do it, go abroad. That’s what everybody I talked to about going abroad told me whenever I brought it up. No matter if they went themselves or if it was their biggest college regret, they all said it would be the time of my life and a unique experience. I am 100% happy I listened.

While getting ready to leave for Australia, saying my goodbyes to family and friends for five months was difficult. I was also leaving the US during the summer (my favorite season) for a winter in a country I had never been to before. At the same time, traveling and gaining new experiences were two things that were very important to me.

Once I made it to Sydney, I finally was able to relax. Everyone in my program was really friendly and the first few weeks were a great bonding time. My apartment was one of my favorite parts of the whole experience. I was grouped with three other IFSA suitemates and did everything from going to concerts to exploring attractions together. The social experience Sydney brought was also remarkable. I met students from all over the world and got to experience many different cultures.

In terms of experience, Sydney is a spectacular city with many beaches and parks. I enjoyed spending time at the beach swimming and surfing or going for a walk on the coastal paths. Outside of the city, there were many national parks and trails to explore. My favorite park there is Royal National Park because of its immense size and scenic beauty. In addition to national parks and trails, there are also the Blue Mountains, which were included in the IFSA trips. Outside of Australia, I had the chance to visit the North Island of New Zealand and was amazed by its soothing aura.

Even after coming home, my study abroad experience does not feel real. I learned so much both inside and outside the classroom while making lifelong friends. To anyone considering going abroad, do it! Going abroad, especially with a program like IFSA, is a great experience and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that is, in my opinion, worth it!

Jonathan Ngoy (Vanderbilt University) attended the University of Sydney in the Fall of 2023 through IFSA’s Australia partnership study abroad program.