My name is Mauri Richards and I am in my fourth year studying Biomedical and Mechanical Engineering at Colorado State University. I have been extremely fortunate with a multitude of experiences in college. If I told myself in senior year of high school that I would be where I am now, I would have been astounded. One of the coolest experiences that I have had while in college was my semester abroad!
Where: Adelaide, South Australia (I did not fly East, I flew West, but the image gets the job done!)
When: July to December of my junior year (FA 2017)
Deciding to study abroad
I decided that I wanted to study abroad in my junior year of high school. When I came to college, I noticed the rigorous engineering schedule and was worried that I would not be able to go abroad for a semester. Regardless, I brought up to my advisor during our first meeting that I wanted to study abroad in college. She gave me a sheet that outlined various places that I could go that corresponded with the classes offered at that university. Some students get to decide where they are studying abroad based on their interests; however, as an engineering student the location of student’s abroad experience will most likely be decided by the classes that transfer. I had to choose between Australia, New Zealand, and the UK. None of them were really a bad choice! I chose Australia because the classes lined up perfectly and I have always wanted to travel to Australia. I outlined a time line of my steps in the diagram below.
TipS for the planning process:
- Be persistent
- Decide if you would like to go through CSU or an affiliated program. Either opportunity may be right for you, but consider the financial differences or the ease of payment
- Get in contact with CSU’s education abroad office. They have tons of tips, tricks, and experience to help you organize your time abroad
- Stay excited—the paper work can become grueling, but once your bags are packed, you forget about it all
- Connect with previous students that have studied abroad in the same country for advice
- Plan financially: Consider whether you would like to open a bank account in that country or deal with fees that may occur if you use your credit card
The abroad experience
My semester abroad was an incredible experience that I will never forget. I met some great friends and I furthered my love for travelling! While living abroad was incredible, there were some hard days in which I missed family or friends. Do not let the fear of this turn you away from living abroad. You will find a support system there while learning a lot about yourself in the process. Pack your bags once, take out half of what you have, and pack it again (I promise you do not need that much!). Take opportunities to travel while you are there and stay longer than the semester requires you to! When else are you going to be that far away from home? Most of all, have fun with it. This is an amazing opportunity that students can take advantage of! If you have any other questions about my experience or about studying abroad please let me know. I love talking about my time in the backwards, upside-down world, of Aussie land!
Author: Mauri Richards
Mauri is a fifth year studying Biomedical and Mechanical Engineering. She is a committed Engineering Student Ambassador and member of the engineering college council. She also recently completed a successful internship with Medtronic and sits on the university facilities fee advisory board.