You know how every person that studies abroad comes back talking like they have found the true meaning of life? Well, I've always wondered what about these trips could be so life-changing. I decided to ask one of my best friends who is spending semester abroad in Australia to answer a few of my questions to help us understand what it is about attending classes in another country that can be so influential in the long term.


meg_taylor on Flickr

What is your name?

Megan Taylor

Where are you from?

South Portland, Maine

Where are you living in Australia?


Where do you go to school in the US and in Australia?

I go to Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts, and am studying at the University of Melbourne this semester.

What grade are you?

I’m a junior - or as the Aussies call it, “3rd year.”

What are you studying?

I’m majoring in marketing and double minoring in digital media production and dance.

What were your biggest concerns about studying abroad?

Honestly the food! I’ve never lived alone and had no idea how to cook, so this experience has definitely been a learning process. I also never ventured from the classic chicken nuggets and peanut butter, so the idea of trying new foods prior to this semester seemed a bit daunting. 

What is a normal day for you in Australia?

I wake up around 8:30 to the construction workers outside my window #cityliving. I usually chill out in the kitchen and struggle to make some half decent eggs before I run off to class or the beach. I put on the dopest Melbourne outfit I can manage to find and probably get on the wrong tram, but always end up finding my destination.

After a day of scholastic activities, I usually congregate with my friends on the 24th floor rooftop deck of my building. There we BBQ and plan our nights adventures such as finding a cool new underground bar or hitting up a local music festival. Not too bad for an average day abroad. 


meg_taylor on Flickr

What are the similarities between our culture(US, New England, Maine) and Australian culture?

There really aren’t too many similarities. I’d say the most prominent is the music & entertainment culture. A majority of music we listen to when we’re out on the town would be songs that are on America’s top 50.

In my opinion, it’s pretty convenient that I don’t have to learn a whole new array of genres/obscure Aussie artists. Also, all of my film courses strictly focuses on Hollywood & the history of American cinema, so at least we got that going for us.

What are the differences between our culture(US, New England, Maine) and Australian culture?

There are so many, but definitely three differences have stood out to me in particular during my first month here.

The first, the one that I struggle with most, is the difference in the accent/slang. I feel like I say “I’m sorry” or “come again” every other sentence. One person described me “like a mad woman's breakfast” the other day. Upon further research I discovered it meant I’m very disorganized/all over the place, which honestly couldn’t be more accurate.

Another huge difference is the fashion. This is more prominently understood when comparing your average American college student to your average UniMelb student. In America, I can get away with wearing a Stonehill College Athletics sweatshirt, leggings & Nikes about 95% of the time.

Living in the city, everyone has it together every day. There’s a very cool, hipster vibe to the fashion here. Everyone is always dressed in black or white, with ripped jeans, some cool sneaks & sunglasses. Always. Everyday. No days off. I believe this look is unique to Melbourne. Nevertheless, it’s been fun to change things up abroad.

The biggest and most crucial difference is that Aussies drive/walk on the left side of the road. By first glance, an American pedestrian wouldn’t think much of it, but I find myself looking the wrong way while crossing the street, getting on the southbound tram when I mean to head north, and running into people while walking to class on a daily basis.

While driving, every time I went to make a turn I would turn on the windshield wipers instead of the turn signal because even their cars are backwards from ours. Even the revolving doors go to the left, which can be quite dangerous for your average American abroad student.  

What has surprised you about living in Australia?

I think the biggest surprise for me was how well I adapted to living in the city. Being from a small town in Maine, I used to get claustrophobic even driving to school in Massachusetts. Now I love living in Melbourne’s CBD (Central Business District), even if I have to take a make shift baby carriage to get groceries. 


meg_taylor on Flickr

What is the weirdest/craziest food you’ve eaten so far in Australia?

Definitely Kangaroo meatballs. Not my fav. I might as well have been eating a dog.

#SpoonTip: If you are as surprised as I was that they eat Kangaroo, check out this article that explains how and why this meat is a part of their culture.

Would you say that the way you view food and eating has changed since you’ve been in Australia?

My eating habits have done a complete 180 since I’ve left the U.S. Everything I try — apart from kangaballs — is incredible. I feel like I’ve wasted 21 years of my life being picky! It’s so easy when one has dietary restrictions (I’m allergic to nuts) to stay in your comfort zone, but seriously picky people, you’re missing out. 

How do you think your experience abroad will affect you when you return to the US?

I think I will be returning to the US with a newfound independence. This is not only because I have moved 10,000 miles away for five months, but I also came to a city where I knew no one. When I get home, I feel like I’ll be overall more open-minded regarding new opportunities.


meg_taylor on Flickr