Sandhills to sandy beaches: student encourages opera-tunities abroad

Stephanie Eggleston, 22, Senior of North Platte, sits in front of the Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia. Eggleston spent July through November of 2012 in Australia. Visiting the Sydney Opera House  was one of the many things Eggleston did over her stay. — Photo courtesy of Stephanie Eggleston

Stephanie Eggleston, 22, Senior of North Platte, sits in front of the Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia. Eggleston spent July through November of 2012 in Australia. Visiting the Sydney Opera House was one of the many things Eggleston did over her stay. — Photo courtesy of Stephanie Eggleston

While chilly winds blow here, the weather in Australia is a delightful 78 degrees. Many people might be thinking they’d rather be there than here right now. Senior Stephanie Eggleston got that very chance.

Eggleston recently spent five months living in Australia and attending the University of Newcastle. Eggleston was taking two classes and working an internship in the international office.

“It was hard!” Eggleston laughs.

“School was a lot different,” Eggleston tells me. Rather than weekly assignments, she said, each class had two big assignments throughout the semester, and she only had classes three days out of the week.

Eggleston explained that there were also different letter grades. A 50%, Eggleston said, is like a C here.

Along with differences in education, Eggleston said there were major differences in cost. “Minimum wage is $18, so everything costs so much more.”

Laughing, Eggleston tells me about her experiences with the campus. “The drinking age is 18, and it was a wet campus. It was great.” Eggleston said there was also public transportation, a major difference she noticed from Chadron to Australia.

The final difference Eggleston lists: “Instead of deer everywhere, there’s kangaroos.”

Eggleston said that at first, she was unsure about going but her dad talked her into it. She was nervous about leaving all her friends behind. “My dad said ‘you have to go.’” She adds that she was glad she did.

“I scuba dove the GBR, fed kangas, bungee jumped, camped in the outback, saw a show at the Sydney Opera House, and sailed the Whitsundays,” Eggleston said.

Eggleston says that her experiences studying abroad gained her adaptability, self-reliance, and independence.

She said that while she was there, there was one thing she missed.

“No football!” Eggleston exclaims. “I missed football season so much. They’re a lot less competitive there.”

Now that she’s back in the states, however, Eggleston says there are a lot of things she misses about Australia. “I miss the constant excitement of traveling to new places, being ten minutes from the beach in beach weather, meat pies, free laundry, and the amazing people I became close with.”

“I would love to go back,” Eggleston adds. “As far as living there forever, eh, but before I get married I would love to just travel around, live near the beach. That’d be great.”

Eggleston also encourages others to do their own study abroad program. When asked if she would recommend it to anyone else, Eggleston responded, “Absolutely. It’s just so amazing. It was so much fun and so different. Talk to Tamsyn [Carey]. She hooked me up.”

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