Ellie Cooper

Date: SP2 13
Degree Program: Journalism, Writing and Creative Communication
Host University: Colorado State University
Host Country: USA

Why did you choose your host university?

I really wanted to study in the US and Colorado looked beautiful (and it is!!). Fort Collins is an awesome college town. It’s a little place but there is so much happening and everything is so easy to access. There’s heaps of restaurants, cafes, bars, parties and arty or sporty things depending on your preference.

What was the university like?

Classes are pretty different to here, more like high school, pretty easy. The professors are fantastic! Lots of resources re: technology. Plus support services for exchange students.

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

I’d already been living out of home, so I didn’t have that big change aspect. But it is definitely a life changing experience, my outlook on life and what I want from life changed. I feel like nothing is really out of reach. I made friends from all over the world which is the best!

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

I stayed off-campus. Do this!! It’s a lot cheaper. I had my own room for $280 a month, so $1,120 for the whole semester. Compare that to on-campus housing which is around $4,500 (cheapest) with a 10-meal pw food plan. And you’re sharing a room.  The only people who stay on-campus are freshman who are required too. And they’re all crazy 18 year olds.

Off-campus housing is fun, easy to find and close to campus.

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

I travelled all over the US and parts of Canada! During the semester I had about 4 weekend trips plus spring break, then at the end I stayed for another 2 months to travel. It was amazing! If you’re going all that way make sure you save enough to travel at the end.  The actual cost of getting around is pretty low, you can be really cheap. The major cost of the whole exchange is those flights from Australia, so make the most of them!  Just make sure you have your visas sorted, and you know what’s what. I had my student visa and a travel visa and I had to go to Canada and come back in.

And don’t plan too much in advance because you’ll meet people to travel with when you’re studying.  Also if you’re into music go to festivals and gigs, they’re so cheap and you will see acts you’d never get to here. Coachella was LITERALLY the best thing I’ve ever been to.

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

It’s easy! It’s not a drastically different country. Plus if you’re signing up for exchange then you’re already putting yourself out side of your comfort zone. Talk to everyone! Try everything! Make the most of it and you will have the best time.

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

I think it’s given me a lot of skills. Plus it sounds impressive to employers.

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

You wouldn’t regret it! It will be the best thing you do! Staying in the one place for 4 months and really becoming a part of things there is wonderful, plus all the travel opportunities later. It’s easy to adjust and meet people (and I’m not an extroverted person at all). And it’s not as hard as you think to get in, which I think is what might have discouraged me. Be brave, give it a go and apply! It’s better than a semester in Adelaide. If I could go back right now I would.

Top Tips:
Try everything!  Enjoy every moment and don't miss home too much because it goes by so fast.

Areas of study and research

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