Studying abroad has allowed me to take courses that are much different than the courses offered at my home university.  I am taking five courses (while most students take four) covering different subjects from Marine Biology to Film Production.

Alyssa Fox beach

The film course is by far the best course I have ever taken.  The class meets early in the morning, but I have no trouble waking up to attend the lecture.  Unlike most lectures, the professor does not stand at the front of the room reading off slides.  Instead, we watch scenes from different types of movies and then discuss them in great detail. Have you ever seen the movie 500 Days of Summer?   If you haven’t, I recommend it.  The movie contains a very creative scene.  The screen is split, one side showing the expectations that the main character has, and the other side shows reality. The expectations and reality are the same at first, but by the end of the scene, the main characters’ expectations are far from reality.

Analyzing this scene during my awesome ‘uni’ class lead me to reflect on my expectations of Australia compared to reality.

Expectation: I will live in a typical college student apartment.
Reality: I live in an amazing apartment with other TEAN students.

TEAN housing
My TEAN apartment

Expectation:  I will spend more money than I typically would in the US.
Reality: I spend a lot more money than I do in the US.  There are no dollar pizza slices to be found here.  Bummer!

Expectation: The local people will not want to become friends with a group of Americans.
Reality: The local people are unbelievably friendly (or at least the ones I’ve interacted with).

Expectation: I will have no problem understanding Australians since they speak English.
Reality: I have heard “heaps” of new words and phrases.  Heaps = a lot

Expectation: I will not go in the water because I am scared of fish.
Reality: The water is too beautiful to stay away from. I love going for a swim or surfing.

Expectation: ‘Uni’ will be easy.
Reality: Classes at UNSW are difficult but not impossible.

University of New South Wales campus

Expectation: There will be bugs and deadly spiders everywhere.
Reality: I have not run into any problems with bugs. But I’ve been told that dangerous spiders do exist here.

Expectation: I will never eat kangaroo.
Reality: I tried it my first night.

Expectation: I will be homesick and want to go home.
Reality: I miss my friends and family, but I am having too much fun to go home now!

Alyssa Fox is a student at Rutgers University and a TEAN Featured Blogger. Alyssa is currently studying abroad with TEAN in Sydney, Australia.