Shelby Simonin

Major: Kinesiology and health
Class: Junior
Timeframe: 14 February 2017, 10 July 2017
Type of Experience: Semester Study Abroad
Experience Website:
Destination: Australia

Overall Experience

My overall experience at The University of Newcastle in Newcastle, Australia was truly amazing. Being there for an entire semester allowed me to immerse myself in their culture, make some wonderful friends, and travel. Living on campus, and becoming friends with mostly Australians allowed me to learn and adapt to the differences between Australia and America which I really enjoyed. I also learned a lot about myself through the challenge of being out of my element for several months. I will definitely be visited Australia again in the near future.

Learning experience

The most valuable learning experience I encountered while in Australia was traveling independently. It helped me become more dependent on my self, and aware of my surroundings. This experience has also increased my confidence in my ability to travel alone.

Memorable experience

The most memorable experiences I have from my time abroad in Australia are the events that the apartment I was living in on campus, East Tower, organized. They were always a blast to attend, and this is where I met people and made friendships that I will never forget. It was also where I was able to get a international college experience that I couldn't have otherwise had without studying abroad.

What did you not expect?

Something that I didn't expect and surprised me while in Australia was the amount of slang words that are used. I soon found out that Aussies like to shorten basically every word, which took some getting used to the first couple of months. This changes the manner in which I approach my life, because knowing someone speaks the same language as you doesn't necessarily mean you'll understand everything they are saying. Also, how important it is to adapt to these changes if you are in their territory.

What advice would you give?

I would advise all students to study abroad. Studying abroad allows you to have a unique experience that you wouldn't otherwise have traveling for a vacation. It allows you to make lifelong friendships with people from all over the world, attend a new university, participate in unfamiliar activities, get a deeper understanding of yourself, travel to new places, and much more. It was one of the best decisions I made while attending college.

How has this experience impacted your life?

My experience in Australia had impacted my life for the better. I was able to discover more about myself by being on my own in a foreign country and overall become a more independent person. I was also able to try new foods, witness a new way of life, and make friends and memories that will last a lifetime. While studying at The University of Newcastle I was involved in an academic club, iLEAD Plus, which allowed me to attend several seminars and volunteer with international students helping them to improve their English. This experience impacted my careers goal of a Physician Assistant, by allowing me to learn about the healthcare system in Australia and compare it to ours in America.

How did you learn about this experience?

I learned about this international opportunity through the Iowa State Study Abroad Fair which is held every semester. In addition to that, I researched it more on the Iowa State Study Abroad website and met with an advisor in the study abroad office.

International Connections