Junior Communications Studies Major Josie Schieffert is packing her bags and getting ready to say “hooroo,” or goodbye, to her Australian adventures.
Having begun her study abroad experience this summer, when many other Gusties were celebrating the 4th of July, Schieffert was saying goodbye to her family and boarding a plane in preparation of spending the next five months in the Down Under.
As Schieffert began her trip, she wasn’t sure what to expect, but was enthusiastic about witnessing the landscape of Australia firsthand.
“From glamourous cities to mountains and beaches, the country is so diverse and amazing,” Schieffert said.
“My excitement has definitely been fulfilled.” Since spending a semester in the continent, Schieffert has been able to further explore Australia by taking weekend trips to different parts of the country.
While it was the landscape itself that initially caused Schieffert to fall in love with Australia, it is ultimately the friendly community that won Schieffert over.
“I would say my favorite piece of my experience has been being a part of an Aussie community of university students and having the opportunity to really connect with a handful of Aussie students,” Schieffert said.
“It was amazing to me how open and welcoming they were from the very beginning and it really gave me a true cultural experience living with and amongst them every day and seeing life from the perspective of a local,” Schieffert said.
Although Schieffert notes she didn’t experience too much culture shock due the many parallels that exist between Australian and American life, the hardest part of adjusting to her time abroad was the Austrilian pace of life.
“In America everyone seems to always be in a hurry to get somewhere, rushing around and on the go 24/7,” Schieffert said.
“In Australia, daily life is much more relaxed and it’s common to just sign off the clock for a bit each day and do something that is nothing.”
Although Schieffert is sad to leave behind her time in Australia, she is also excited to return to Gustavus and apply the new perspectives she’s gained to both her schoolwork as well as her overall worldview.
“As a Communication Studies Major,” Schieffert said, “I have found this experience to be beneficial for my studies in a few different ways, but one in particular. I think that studying abroad has given me a better understanding for not only Australian culture, but so many cultures around the world. It has allowed me to have a fresh perspective of how other cultures view America, how much influence we have around the world, and how much the rest of the world has to offer that I might not have been able torealize without this experience.”
Schieffert is also excited to apply what she has learned from her time abroad to her post-graduation plans as she leaves Gustavus.
“I feel that I will be able to work in the business world more confidently,” Schieffert said,” as I have been able to strengthen my skills of working alongside those who are not Americans and really understand people for who they are.”
Schieffert would encourage every Gustie to study abroad during their college years. “It truly is something that changes your life for the better,” Schieffert said.
“If you are considering studying abroad, don’t be turned away by the length of time away from home or the fears you may have. You might surprise yourself with what you’re capable of in these years, so don’t hold back.”