"It was my first time out of the country when I went to Australia in early June of 2010. As I looked back at my parents waving goodbye at the airport, I can remember having a rush of emotions from being nervous to very eager to actually be in Australia. I didn’t know that this escalator ride would be the start of a change in who I was and my visions of the world. I now know there is life outside of New York.
Our accommodations were absolutely amazing. Walking the "esplanade" by the beach and having "brekky" overlooking the ocean was absolutely amazing. Coming home after a long day at school, we relaxed by sitting out on our balcony.
My favorite experiences in Australia involved shedding personal fears I brought with me. From holding a snake to jumping off a high rock – I broke barriers. I made friends not only with other SUNY students, but now have network of people from across the world. I made a special connection with a husband and wife from the Outback. They showed me that compassion is found all over the world. We exchanged necklaces that we wear every day to keep each other close to our hearts.
Professionally, the school I taught at assisted me in finding my personality in the classroom. I allowed my students to see me as a teacher, but also as a student from New York. They were very interested in my life and experiences. Using our experiences we were able to go beyond the basic requirements in my subject area.
The teaching faculty at my school were very welcoming and friendly too. I was given the opportunity to travel with other High School International students to Sydney on a weekend trip. I attended a week long camp, and many other “excursions” with my school.
My bus ride to and from school every day was simple and easy, and it was where I met many of the “locals.” I had conversations about politics and life in Australia. The big difference I noticed there is that everyone was willing to share their story and were interested in yours.
I now have a story to share with the many people I will meet in my life. The thousands of pictures I took while I was in Australia cannot capture the memories I made. My classroom will not consist of four walls but will have a connection to Australia, the land down under."
Kara Kubinski: Childhood Education (1-6) 2009
"If anyone is
considering teaching abroad, picture yourself in one of the most
beautiful places in the world; doing things you'd never thought you'd
do, with amazing people to share it with. The experiences I gained
literally shaped the next few years of my life and will never be
forgotten. It was awesome! I feel that I got to do a lot of things
people don't traditionally do when they visit Australia. It was
refreshing to become immersed into a culture and society that is so laid
back. Leaving Australia, I felt like I actually SAW the country.
a foreigner in Australia you will not feel in any way “outside” the
Australian society. As part of the Mountain Creek school community, I
got the chance to view things from a totally unique perspective. Fun and
learning were nicely balanced, and the level of guidance and the level
of independence the program offers is a perfect blend.
multiage classroom I had the privilege to work with was phenomenal. I
couldn’t have asked for a better placement. Working with the students,
teachers, and volunteers allowed me to appreciate the unique situations
that may arise during a typical school day. Upon leaving I was provided
with a greater social network, which in today’s job market is incredibly
important no matter what field you are entering.
live a different life-style and understanding a different way of
thinking was a great experience in sharing perspectives and values. The 4
months I spent in Australia were the most enjoyable and educational of
my college career, and if I would change anything, I would have made the
Overall, it was a bittersweet ending. It was hard
to leave such a beautiful place and amazing people, but I received such a
sense of achievement that has since been hard to match. Overall
experience = exciting, enjoyable, & rewarding.
Very much exceeded my expectations."
Megan Lawlor: Childhood Education (1-6) 2007
“From the moment we landed in Australia until the moment I had to say goodbye at the end of my all too short four month stay, I felt like I was home. The Sunshine Coast is absolutely beautiful, and the people are extremely friendly.
Living in UniCentral was ideal. At first I was a little nervous about not sharing a flat with fellow SUNY students, but I quickly realized that by being placed with both Australians and other international students that I was being given a wonderful opportunity to learn about my new home away from home. Living in a spectacular flat, having my own room, and being able to share a common area with friends… what could have been any better than that!
Not unlike Potsdam, the USC campus is relatively small. The campus is renowned for its distinctive architecture and grounds. The buildings there have received more than 25 awards for planning, architecture, and construction. There they even focus one something that we would be wise to bring back home, using non-renewable energy. The staff, both at UniCentral and on the USC campus, are all very friendly and willing to help with the even the smallest of things.
For my practicum placement I was in a Year Three class at Chancellor State College’s primary campus. I loved every second of working with both my class and all of the wonderful staff members there. “During the short nine weeks that I was with my class, I was able to go on an excursion to the Senior campus, where we dissected oxen hearts. Nobody here in the states can believe that they did that at such a young age! I also planned a healthy morning tea where each of the students was asked to make an invitation for one of the staff members. I could go on and on with all of my wonderful experiences in the classroom!
What it comes down to is that going to Australia and taking part in this wonderful program was the chance of a lifetime!”