By Christopher Rogers
October 21, 2004

Shane Evans

Last semester students from Cabrini eagerly packed their belongings to participate in the study abroad program in Australia. Significantly, students have had a direct impact on the country, making it one of the largest and fastest-growing settings for tourism.

For instance, in the year of 1992-93 alone, over three million tourists came to Australia for the purpose of education or simple distraction. Such numbers, according to the government’s tourism marketing authority, generated a total foreign exchange of $8.4 billion, contributing 10 percent to Australia’s total current account credit.

By report of such data, one can only imagine the reasons for which students are drawn to this distant and foreign land. Perhaps the rich variety of golden beaches, wilderness areas and discreet outback regions blend together to create a unity of outdoor activities suitable for the more adventurous.

Junior Ryan McCarthy, a passionate enthusiast for the outdoors, defines the unforgettable moments experienced during his stay in Fremantle, Australia; “We would do something different every week as a way of keeping us out of the dorms. We’d rent cars and go camping, go to surfing camps, watch football games and much more.” With enthusiasm, McCarthy emphasized his admiration that such a small school would promote such a program.

Despite such vigor and motivation in regards to the trip, some students found their time there quite challenging. For instance, McCarthy pointed out that some were not open to new experiences, resulting in a less active group of people: “You have to be dedicated 100 percent,” McCarthy said. “You have to lose the Tall Poppy Syndrome,” and consequently accept the signs of a new culture.

Though this may not have proven all that difficult, other aspects of the trip seemed challenging. For instance, the particular grading system native to Australia left many students with a bitter sense of failure. “Teachers in Australia don’t understand the concept that a C sucks,” McCarthy said.

Unlike the grading system in America, students in Australia begin the semester with a zero and, from there, work their way up to a passing grade. “It’s really hard work, and on top of that, you don’t know how you’re doing because they don’t give your grades back until the end of the semester,” McCarthy said.

Regardless of the hard work involved with the program, Australia has shown to be a land where only the more dedicated will succeed. As a result, devotion and interest for the unknown will set the grounds for a student striving for both recreation and growth.

Posted to the web by Shane Evans

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Christopher Rogers

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