Alex Banitsiotis

Date: SP5, 2016
Degree Program: Bachelor of Journalism and Bachelor of Creative Writing
Host University: Stetson University
Host Country: USA

Why did you choose your host university?

I’ve always wanted to visit the states and immerse myself in the culture and education system. I was able to do exactly this through the uni SA’s exchange system.

What was the university like?

The school was located in a small town, the university was the main attraction. Discounts were offered to students in most places because of this. The assessments were different to the ones I face here. This is as while I was in the US I was faced with more frequent assessments, weekly assignments and fewer word counts. The resources were good. The campus was incredible. They had a basketball court, gym, sand volleyball court and many more things both sporting wise and academically available to students free of chare.

What did you gain from your exchange experience and has it changed the way you think or altered your approach to life?

I believe it has given me greater independent as I had to travel great distances by myself, which I have never done before. It has also enlightened me to differences and similarities in cultures. Additionally, I have learnt thins about myself and favourable characteristics that I thought were acquired by most, but really aren’t.

What accommodation options were available to you?  How affordable was accommodation and would you recommend the same option to others?

I was able to stay on campus in a dorm. This is an option I would strongly recommend to others. This is as it makes creating friendships a lot easier. Also when these friendships are formed you are able to see these people every single day, allowing the bond to strength with great speed. Thus, even if you stay for as little as one semester as I did, you create strong bonds.

Describe your travel experiences; did you travel locally or to neighbouring countries? 

The university was located in Florida, approximately an hour away from Orlando. Therefore, I travelled a bit through Florida going to a few small cities as well as Miami and Orlando. I also visited places in Louisiana such as: New Orleans and Alabama.

Describe how you adjusted to life in a different country and how you met new people.

Being a typically sociable person creating friendships was relatively easy for me. Adjusting to the lifestyle wasn’t hard too, this is as while there are some key differences, the Australian and American cultures are similar.

Can you see any benefits from this exchange to your future career?

Yes I believe it will show good qualities on a resume. Additionally and potentially more importantly it has provided me with one of the best experiences of my life. I have made friends around the world who we still share contact with. I have had great experiences and made memories that I will treasure.

What advice would you give to a student who was hesitant or considering joining the exchange program?

I would say that if your nerves are caused by fear, whatever the reason may be: Not having fun, travelling by yourself, money related issues. Whatever it may be don’t let it impede you from taking this opportunity. It will be worth it, if you visit somewhere that interests you and go in with an open mind you will have an incredible time.

Top Tips:

Say yes to most things . If people ask you if you want to do something always tag along for the ride.

Areas of study and research

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