||Bachelor of Marketing and Communications (DBMN)
||Northern Arizona University (NAU)
Why did you choose your host university?
I chose to study at Northern Arizona University after a recommendation from a friend who also studied there on exchange. I am a marketing and communication student so the thought of studying in the country that has marketed so many successful companies was the most appealing. There are many business schools in the US however the location was a major selling point for me. Arriving in the winter months meant the cold weather was a major factor in my decision. Although Flagstaff is in Arizona, the altitude meant it was very dry and cool for the majority of the time I was there.
What was the university like?
NAU is located in Flagstaff, a small college town in Northern Arizona, so there are lots of resources and facilities available just for students. The class sizes were small and I was encouraged to form a relationship with all my teachers and classmates. I found that the assessments were much more frequent and practically based in comparison to assessments at UniSA. All my classes were also mainly group constructed which meant I had to really get to know my classmates and manage my time efficiently. NAU also hosts many professional sports teams yearly as their state of the art facilities and 2km high altitude location is great for training and improving fitness. The is an all-purpose health and recreation centre with complete gym, sport and fitness facilities, included classes and a rock climbing wall. The health centre is available to all student for any health needs for only a small consultation fee.
What did you gain from your exchange experience and has it changed the way you think or altered your approach to life?
From the different approach in classes to the college lifestyle, the experience of being an exchange student was invaluable. Being an exchange student taught me that you should always endeavour to meet as many people as possible because everyone can offer you something different. I now have lifelong friends out of people I usually would not spend much time getting to know which gave me a whole different perspective on how to treat ‘strangers’.
What accommodation options were available to you? How affordable was accommodation and would you recommend the same option to others?
I was recommended to live on campus so I would have the opportunity to be more involved in ‘college life’ so I lived in a shared room in an on-campus residence hall. This meant I lived in a room with one girl and we shared our bathroom with two other girls. I also had access to a communal kitchen and laundry room in our hall. There were a few other halls similar to mine and all cost a similar amount. On campus living was the cheapest option for me however after living in Flagstaff I became aware of off-campus accommodation that was still mainly rented by students and was still central to classrooms and college facilities. I would have preferred to live in one of these off-campus options as I could have had a room to myself more privacy for only a small amount more.
Describe your travel experiences; did you travel locally or to neighbouring countries?
I travelled almost every weekend I lived on campus. I was really lucky to make a large number of close international friends who were also keen to travel which made it cost effecient to see more of the country. I found hiring cars to be an easy way to get around however buying a car is also a big consideration as we did so much travelling. During the semester I visited The Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Southern California, Phoenix, Monument Valley and surrounding canyons and hiked throughout an amazing valley called Havasupai Falls. My hike through Havasupai Falls was organised through NAU and was an amazing experience that showed me a great natural wonder and taught me about Native America history and lifestyles. After I finished the semester I spent two months travelling the US – Southern Arizona, Boston, New York City, Texas, Louisiana, Florida Northern California and Mexico. Many of these amazing places I was able to stay with friends and other contacts I had made during my time at NAU which enriched every city by giving me a local experience and reducing costs.
Describe how you adjusted to life in a different country and how you met new people.
I really had to adjust to the food in the US as it is different to my diet in Australia. I also found that the Australian lifestyle is much more laid-back than in America so that is also something that I had to get accustomed. This was also something I learned to keep in mind when meeting new people, as my beliefs and values were often quite different to others.
Can you see any benefits from this exchange to your future career?
I found that my approach to marketing and communication was somewhat relaxed before my exchange and the experience taught me to be more competitive and creative when developing strategies and working with group members. My exchange experience also allowed me to find the direction I would like to take to my career in and focus on for the rest of my studies.
What advice would you give to a student who was hesitant or considering joining the exchange program?
Do it! No matter how long or difficult the process is and how content you are at home, the exchange experience is worth every second. There is so much to learn about your studies, your passion and type of person you are and exchange gives you and exciting platform to do it on.
|Just do it! Take every opportunity to meet new people and do exciting new things. You never know what will make you the happiest until you try everything, so give it all ago and you will come home happier, stronger and with a wealth of knowledge to use from then on!