Study abroad is a life-changing experience, and our program alumni are living proof that the decisions you make abroad can influence where life takes you after graduation. We love hearing from our alumni about how their time abroad has shaped their lives, so we reconnected with some alumni to chat about their study abroad experiences and where they are now. Keep reading to hear from Jake, a USAC Gold Coast, Australia alum.
Jake graduated with a degree in psychology and a minor in sociology from the University of Nevada, Reno. During his undergraduate studies, Jake spent a semester studying at Griffith University in Gold Coast, Australia.
Why did you decide to study abroad? Why did you choose your program?
I chose to study abroad because I love to travel and thought it would be a great opportunity to live in another country and enjoy the culture. I was assisted by the USAC people on the UNR campus and that is how I selected the program.
How did study abroad fit into your academic and professional goals?
It allowed me to see how other parts of the world learn. I mostly took elective classes, so I got to enjoy some subjects that were not offered in my psychology curriculum back home.
When did you? What are you doing now?
I graduated in 2018, and I am now a realtor. I live in Reno and have continued to grow my business and friendships here.
Looking back, how did study abroad play a role in getting you to where you are now?
Studying abroad allowed me to open my mind to different types of people and cultures. I now have friends all over the world and in the U.S. I believe it has made me a well-rounded person, and that helps me daily in my business as I interact with people.
Why do you think international education is important?
I think it is important because it gives you an opportunity to immerse yourself in another country much more than you would on a vacation. You create lifelong friends and memories that are unforgettable. In my field, I believe psychology is about trying to understand why someone thinks the way they do, and traveling helps you gain an appreciation for others’ perspectives. It is important for people to step out of their comfort zone and travel.
Do you plan on returning to your host city? If not, where do you plan on traveling next?
I would love to go back to my host city of Gold Coast, Australia, but it is very expensive and far, so I would love to travel to some other places first. On my list is South Africa, Ireland, and Amsterdam.
What was a typical day like for you during your study abroad program?
A typical day for me was waking up, walking over to the uni gym, and working out. After I would go to my classes, and then meet up with some friends either at the uni cafe or the swimming pool at our apartment. Most nights we would then take the train down to Surfer’s Paradise where we would go out for dinner.
Is there any advice you would give to students interested in studying abroad?
I would suggest to any student going to be open-minded and try to get as involved as possible. It is very easy to get homesick, so staying busy and meeting as many friends as possible will make the place feel a lot more like home!