Arial Aarness

Major: Event management
Class: Senior
Timeframe: 2/5/18, 5/16/18
Type of Experience: Study Abroad
Destination: Australia

Overall Experience

My overall experience was a very positive experience. I met my best friends, traveled a lot, took classes I could not take at home, and learned so much about Australian culture.

Learning experience

The most valuable learning experience I had in Australia was learning to adapt to the culture and education system in Australia. Classes were very different from my classes in Iowa. They were once a week for three hours instead of two or three times a week for about one hour. I learned how to adapt to a different learning style. There were not little projects in each class. Each had two large projects and a final exam or project. Making sure to allocate time towards these was a learning experience because it was hard to do that when the beach and fun things to do were within minutes of the college. I learned how to manage time very well, how to communicate to professors about assessments, and how to adapt to new learning styles.

Memorable experience

The most memorable experience I had in Australia was traveling. I was lucky to travel to Melbourne and driving the Great Ocean Road. My two best friends I met in Australia and I took this trip together. We learned a lot about each other and created very memorable experiences that will last forever. I also got to travel to the Whitsunday Islands. We scuba dived the Great Barrier Reef which was a dream throughout my whole life that finally came true.

What did you not expect?

Something I did not expect was how the classes were organized. In the United States classes have multiple assignments and tests throughout the semester. In Australia I was told about the three assessments for the class on the first day of class. That is all that our grade would be made up of. Most were worth 30-50% of our grade, which is a lot different from assignments at Iowa State. I believe this will help me in the future with my professional life because the assessments were very real life orientated and realistic situations I could be in at work. This was very beneficial for interviews to show work I have done in school that can relate to jobs I am wanting for my professional life. This can help differentiate me from other candidates.

What advice would you give?

I would say, if you have any thought in your mind that you might want to study abroad please pursue it. It has been the most beneficial learning experience for me. You are able to get out of the bubble in the United States and explore new cultures, ways of life, another education system, and meet friends from all over the United States and the world that you would never have the chance to meet if you stayed in the bubble at Iowa State. You will be able to apply all of these experiences to your life in the future at Iowa State, your professional life, and your personal life.

How has this experience impacted your life?

This experience has impacted my life greatly. Personally I was able to meet some of my best friends and they are from all over the world. I got to experience places that if I had not done this program I would have never seen. The education system was very different, but I learned a lot from the classes I took. I learned how to write a proper business report, present an event to a company, and plan an entire event from start to finish. Long term this has impacted my career goals because I gained a lot of knowledge of the event industry and I now know more about the Australian event industry as well. This can benefit me in jobs in the future.

How did you learn about this experience?

I found it on the Iowa State study abroad website. I was looking in Australia for a school that had my major and this program kept coming to my attention.

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