Australia

Tips for Balancing Coursework and Exploration in Australia

Cayla Barker is a student at Bridgewater State University and an ISA Photo Blogger. She studied abroad with ISA in the Gold Coast, Australia.

1. Stay Organized

When I first got my course schedule and the syllabuses for each course, I had no idea how I was going to have time to explore and travel as much as I wanted. I quickly discovered that I needed to be extremely organized in every way possible. It was almost like I needed to schedule out everything that I was going to do each day for the whole semester. Once I knew the dates for the assignments and the tests in all of my classes, I immediately created a calendar of what was due each week. This made me very organized and able to stay on top of everything that was due. Without making this calendar I would have gotten confused as to what I needed to do for each class and when certain assignments were due. After making this, I then was able to notice what weekends would be best to travel and explore the beautiful country of Australia.

The Great Ocean Road

The Great Ocean Road

More of the Great Ocean Road!

More of the Great Ocean Road!

2. Work Hard During the Week

Only having a short period of time in Australia but wanting to explore as much as possible and keep up with coursework for four classes was stressful to think about. I quickly discovered that the only way to get all of my schoolwork complete and still be able to travel on most weekends is to work very hard during the week. I have classes all day on Monday and Tuesday and then one class on Thursday mornings. This leaves nights and all day Wednesday open for me to focus on studying and assignments. On the weekends that I travel, I leave Thursday right after my class. This means that all of my work that is due on the weekend or at the beginning of the following week would have to be done by Wednesday night. This was hard at times, but definitely possible and worth it because traveling makes for some of the best weekends. Seven hours of classes Monday and six hours of classes on Tuesday and then homework on top of that is really rough. But all of that hard work and effort will be worth it when you get to travel to places like Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, the Great Barrier Reef, Noosa, and New Zealand.

Blue Mountains, Sydney, Australia - Barker - Photo 1

The Blue Mountains near Sydney.

The Sydney Harbour

The Sydney Harbour

3. Plan Trips Ahead of Time

Part of the study abroad experience is having the freedom to travel wherever you want in the area that you are studying. Planning trips can be hard, though, because the people you want to travel with have different courses and therefore different schedules and different assignments due each week. Once my friends and I got our schedules, we decided to book trips right away. This was very beneficial to us because it obviously gave us something exciting to look forward to, but it also caused us to stay on top of our classwork. It pushed us to get our work done early. This way we would be able to enjoy ourselves on our trips and we would not have do anything school related while traveling. Knowing that exciting travel plans are coming up will cause you to do your work ahead of time so that you can fully enjoy the time you have in the place you are traveling.

The world awaits…discover it.

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