How it all began
I believe it was luck that brought me to Australia. I had a class cancelled one day and I saw there were some stands with flags and pictures located in a hallway in the Bryan building, and so I decided to check it out. I was surprised to learn that UNCG offered many opportunities to go abroad. At first I thought, Spain is the place I want to go, but then I realized that I should improve my English rather than my Spanish and that is when Australia came to mind. Now looking back I feel like it was one of the best choices I have made in my life.
To be honest I was sort of scared about not having a place to live, but I found out how easy it actually is. There are many housing choices you will be able to find on the web page of the school. For me I decided to go with Unicentral, which are student apartments. You get your own room with a bathroom and the rest of the areas are shared with three roommates. You will be able to choose if you want to share your apartment with boys and girls or just people your own gender. There are two more student residences around the university; they are named Varsity and the Village. They are about a two minute walk to school. If you go with other housing options transportation is available; people usually ride their bikes or take the bus. Everything is very centralized. When it comes to money, be ready to pay around 200 AUD a week for these student accommodations. Internet is sort of expensive and the university only allows you a certain number of downloads.
If you go during the fall semester you will be lucky to experience spring break in Australia. At USC, there is a two week break. I was privileged enough to go to Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia during this time. Most of the people traveled within Australia which is an amazing experience too. There are a lot of student traveling packages offered during this time, however you must budget well because Australia is an expensive country.
The educational system in Australia is very different from the American system. The classes are divided into two categories called tutorials and lectures. The lectures are basically when you meet in an auditorium and hear the professor present. During the lectures attendance is not mandatory, but for the tutorials attendance is a must. Tutorials are smaller classes usually taught by student assistants where you get to interact with other students, do presentations, research papers, and you get to ask any questions you have from the lectures.
Advice/ Quick tips
How everything started
While I was studying abroad in Australia I met two Mexicans. They became my best friends and we were known as "el trio maravilla" (the wonder trio). They were the ones that gave me the idea of going to their country. Since I am a Spanish minor I thought it would be a good experience to take all my classes in Spanish. They both insisted, "Come to Mexico, come to Mexico!" and I did.
I lived for a month with my friend's family, after that I found out it was better to be independent so I moved out and rented an apartment with two Mexican girls. It is very easy to find places to live. There are always apartments or houses for lease. They are conveniently located. You can find posters everywhere advertising rooms. If you do not like this option, there is always the possibility to live with a host family. Moreover, you can live on campus in the "residencas tec", these are dorms located inside the campus, monitored 24 hours a day, with curfews and strict rules. I suggest this for freshman. (Parents, this is the best place for your kids). Since México is a very cheap country, there are many options to choose from. If you decide to rent a place far from the school, taxis are about 2-4 dollars.
Traveling in Mexico is very cheap. I got the opportunity to go to one side of the country to the other for $28. Hostels are not so typical in Mexico but there are a few, and you can find them especially at touristic places. (Small towns do not have hostels, but good hotels are cheap). While you travel you get to do many activities. In my case I got the opportunity to do snorkeling in Cancun, hiking, and pueting (jumping from a bridge)
Since I spoke Spanish fluently I was able to take 3 out of my 4 classes in Spanish. The way it works there is sort of different from here in America. Classes are smaller, there is a lot of writing and reading, and they love group activities. Exams are a bit more challenging and for most professors attendance is mandatory! There are a lot of extracurricular activities, so I suggest everyone take advantage of that. For me, I love sports, so I joined the volleyball team and swam to raise money. There are also activities such as soccer, basketball, learning how to apply makeup, music, singing, dance, language classes, and much more. Everyone at the school is very helpful; they put a lot of emphasis in making the experience for the international student a pleasant one. The international office will promote trips around the country and activities to submerge you more into the Mexican culture.