Travel and study abroad

Post on this page advice to majors about traveling and studying abroad for a semester or more. What are the benefits? Problems you encountered? Where to travel? Did you have a great time?! Tell it all!
The TCNJ site to obtain info is:
International $ Off-Campus Programs
Slide show of Shari’s trip to Australia and New Zealand as part of her travel abroad experience
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Tim has shared the following photos from his trip to Chile
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4 Responses


    I studied at the University of Melbourne, AU. It is my favorite city in AU, and a great place to do physics. They offer nearly every physics course your heart could desire. I took advanced quantum, statistical mechanics, astrophysics, optics, and some humanities and biology courses. There is no need to worry about a course not transferring, since I already got most of the physics courses approved by TCNJ’s R&R:-)

    I could go on forever, but I would just be bragging about my own amazing experience. Instead go out there and get your own;-)

    Here are some pics:

  2. Tim has added a slide show (please see top of page).

  3. G’Day! My name is Shari and I just graduated this December from TCNJ as a Physics-Earth Science Major. This last semester I spent abroad at the University of Wollongong in Australia. I definitely recommend any person who has the time in their schedule to go abroad! It was the best experience! I got to see so many amazing places such as the Great Barrier Reef, Sydney, Melbourne, and even made it to the outback to see Ayers Rock. I saw so many kangaroos that by the end of the trip they seemed as common place as deer are around NJ. I even tried kangaroo for dinner (not a big fan). The country was amazing and the people there were so friendly and open. I made many Australian and other foreign friends in my travels and at Uni, who I hope to stay in touch with and perhaps even visit in the future! University is done a little differently over there with the primary grade being the final and the rest of the semester worth only about 40% or so. Only a pass is required to get credit at TCNJ, which is only a 50%. This allows you the freedom to travel and explore more than normal and spend less time on your studies should you choose to.
    Furthermore, at the end of my trip I was able to travel to New Zealand (kiwi land). I think NZ was even more amazing than Australia. There I was able to hike glaciers, bungee off a 134m platform, and explore many of the amazing landscapes. I filled my GB card on my camera just on my 9 day trip! If anyone is a fan of Lord of the Rings or Chronicles of Narnia, practically everywhere we went there were filming sites. If anyone has any questions or wants to talk about going to Australia or New Zealand feel free to contact me! I would be happy to tell you about all about the amazing countries.

    • First, awesome pictures Shari. I can’t compete with that, but I’m making a slide show of my trip to Chile anyway. About studying abroad, I highly recommend trying it. It is a great chance to see different parts of the world. It’s fun. And you learn a lot by adapting to a new setting, lifestyle, and educational system. Also, for anyone interested in learning a foreign language, nothing accelerates this process more than traveling. It is somehow more meaningful than language coursework as well since it becomes a skill you need to communicate with locals and to survive in general.

      I hear a lot of people say that they would love to travel, but can’t afford to. For what you get out of it, studying abroad can really be a fiscally responsible solution to that problem. Most study abroad programs offer scholarships that could be very helpful, and if you have a scholarship worth $x at TCNJ, you will still receive $x from TCNJ– it will just be transfered directly to the exchange program you enroll in.

      Now on to my trip.. I studied in Santiago, Chile my junior year. I went a few weeks early to travel around before getting started, and I am really glad I did since the semester turned out to be really busy. I randomly met a future classmate while camping 12 hours south of Santiago too, and he helped me to meet Chilean friends later on. I enrolled in 1 liberal learning class, but took mostly physics courses. From my experience, if you want to meet locals, taking somewhat advanced courses could be a good way to do that. Liberal learning classes are often filled with study-abroad students, and study-abroad students generally form their own groups. This can be fun and convenient, but it isn’t conducive to meeting locals and getting a realistic picture of life in the area. If you take upper level physics courses, you will probably be the only study-abroad student in the class. And since collaboration and study groups are really necessary to survive sufficiently advanced coursework, you will definitely get to know a group of local physics majors pretty well. A down side of this is that you may have to sacrifice a lot of more enjoyable experiences to study.

      I also got involved with an astrophysics research project in Chile. Anyone interested in astro might want to check out Chile because it has some really great observatories. I spent 2 nights observing in Cerro Tololo, which was by far the coolest part of the research project.

      Overall, studying abroad was a great experience. I learned a lot, and I am still in contact with friends I met there. Feel free to contact me if you want any specific advice.

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