Meet Brianna Sorber

Program and Location:

Monash University; Melbourne, Australia

Why did you choose to study abroad?

I fell in love with travel after a trip to Europe during my senior year of high school so I knew going into college that I wanted to study abroad.

What did you learn about yourself?

Once you put yourself out there a little bit, it’s super easy to make new life long friends.

What was one of your favorite parts of your program?

Making new friends that were native and other exchange students. Monash has an extensive exchange program especially if you live on campus. It was nice to do somethings with other exchange students and other things with native students.

How were your classes abroad different than if you would have taken them at NC State? Did you take any field trips or do anything outside of the traditional classroom?

Marine Biology in the States and in Australia are basically two different topics since our marine environments are completely different. Marine Biology in Australia is very intense since it’s such an important field of work and research. I spent a week at the beginning of the semester at the Queenscliff Marine Discovery Center completing an assigned research project. Going into it was very scary and new but after the week and semester of completing the research, report, and presentations it was an amazing experience. I also went on a field trip for my Exploring Contemporary Australia class where we went on a walk through the city learning about Aboriginal history. I would recommend this class to anyone going on exchange to Monash.

What advice do you have to future study abroad students?

It’s worth it regardless of what anyone says. You’ll be able to find classes to take and you’ll be able to find scholarships and money to make it happen as long as you try and look hard enough. Even so, it’s definitely an experience worth going broke for because when will you ever be able to live in another country for six months? You can always find a small job tutoring or at a cafe within your visa limitations.

Would you do it again?

Of course!

In what ways did your identity have an impact on your experience abroad?

As a first generation student most of my tuition and fees are covered by grants and scholarships so my main concern was funding my six months abroad. After speaking with the scholarship office they told me that I would be able to afford everything. After this step it was smooth sailing besides the tight budgeting throughout the semester between food and travel expenses.

Is there any advice you would give to other students who share your identity?

I feel like being a first generation student gives you even more of a reason to study abroad because not only are you to the first to study in your family, but also study in another country. Just always be sure to have a back up plan if anything goes wrong money-wise, I ran into a few issues but since I had back-up plans I was fine. Always plan to spend more than you think you are! You know you’ll want to make that weekend trip to Sydney or Uluru with your other international friends!!

Where did you find support to navigate any challenges you faced abroad?

Monash has a pretty extensive Connect office where they have people on hand to answer any of your questions. Also fellow exchange students were a huge help as they may know what you don’t.