For International Education Week (Nov. 13-17, 2023), BHSU is highlighting students who have recently taken part in international experiences and educational opportunities. BHSU student and Environmental Physical Science major Maggie Peterson spent her Spring 2023 semester studying at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. 

What was your experience like? What were you doing in your time abroad?

My experience in Australia was unforgettable. I took a few environmental classes in Sydney and through them, I went on countless field trips observing the beautiful landscape and met people from all around the world. In my free time I often explored the city, spent time at the gorgeous beaches, and went bush walking in the national parks. During breaks, my friends and I would travel to popular Australian cities and attractions, such as the Gold Coast and Tasmania.

What was your favorite or most exciting experience that you had?

It’s so hard picking my favorite experience. I really loved the strong connections I built with people during this time, and how these people encouraged me to continue to try new things. My most exciting/exhilarating experience was probably skydiving, which was something I never thought I would do, but I am so glad it did. Plus, I snorkeled at the Great Barrier Reef, which is an unforgettable experience.

Were there any challenging moments during your time studying abroad? What did you learn from those challenges?

I was unaware that Australian schools are known to be a little more rigorous than other countries, and I decided to go to one of the higher-ranked universities in AU. So, I had a bit of a learned curve when it came to the expectations of the school and professors. However, it was extremely rewarding when I succeeded in my classes, and I learned so much about Australian environments!

Did anything surprise you about study abroad?

I was surprised by how much Aussies know about Americans and that they are not afraid to ask you any questions they think of.

Has study abroad impacted your future career? If so, how?

Studying abroad has tremendously impacted my future career. I gained so many valuable skills and work experiences. It opened my eyes to the possibilities in other countries, as well as made me realized that these opportunities are much more attainable to me than I once thought.

Do you feel that your classes at BHSU prepared you for this experience?

Environmental classes intertwine and build off each other, and many of the classes at BH taught me valuable information and skills that I built on further in Australia.

Do you recommend study abroad to future students or have any advice for students considering studying abroad?

I 100% recommend studying abroad to anyone. You would be surprised how much you can handle and how rewarding it feels. My advice is, if you are thinking at all about exploring abroad, just take a little jump and schedule a meeting with Kaitlin Palmer, the BHSU International Advisor. Just start asking questions and see how much is available to you. I also recommend looking into the BHSU abroad providers. Through my program (TEAN), I was given many opportunities and activities for me to participate in throughout the semester.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Studying abroad is such a great experience for anyone who is adventurous enough to try. I've gained so much love and appreciation for Australia and many other cultures. I've also learned so much about myself and have grown in the process.