Allison Hunt is a student at Temple University and a TEAN Featured Blogger. Allison is currently studying abroad with TEAN on the Tourism & Event Management – Australia Summer Program.

Allison Northern Territory

One word to describe 24 hours on a plane: brutal.  The trip from America to Australia was extremely long and grueling, but upon arriving, it all became worthwhile.  The first stop for the Tourism and Event Management program is the Northern Territory.  All of the students came together in Darwin to meet and get to know one another: the beginning of a true bonding experience for the summer abroad students.

Despite the fact that it is winter in Australia, the city of Darwin is still remarkably warm this time of year, and it caters to a young market of tourists with its shops, restaurants, and nightlife—the perfect environment for a unique group of students to get to know one another.  However, this particular city did not evoke feelings of truly being in another country for most of us.  It took a trip into the wild to make us realize that we were in a completely new place.

Allison Darwin

Shortly after arriving, we headed into Kakadu National Park for a true taste of what it feels like to be “down under.”  Here, we camped for two nights, getting to know one another on a whole new level—around a campfire… without a bed or a shower.  Cruises with crocodiles, holding snakes, eating by candlelight, hand-washing dishes in water basins, and sleeping in tents are all activities that none of us were accustomed to, but in the end, it brought us all closer.  As a group, we quickly discovered the beauty of nature and began to develop lifelong friendships.  I have come to the realization that studying abroad is not just about the education, the sights, or the culture—it’s about the new people we get to meet and build relationships with.  We all had to step out of our comfort zone to come to an entirely new country where we knew no one, and although we all come from very different backgrounds, we can all relate through the new experiences that we are sharing together.  I am learning so much about myself while spending time with the other students, and I am extremely excited to see what the rest of the trip has in store.