Staring at my computer screen, I debated which of the 8 universities known for the global
education program would accept me. As a high school junior, I dreamed about Learning about
culture while being immersed in a university program in another country. When I got admitted
into Chapman University, I knew that I would get an opportunity of a lifetime. I’d get an
amazing education within the Health Sciences department while following my dream of studying
abroad. During the Fall of 2022, I studied at the University of Newcastle (UON), Australia. Here
are some things I learned during my time there:

Location, Location, Location!
Newcastle, known affectionately as “Newy”, is nestled in the heart of New South Wales and is the second most populated city in the region. Despite its bustling population, I found comfort in its laid-back atmosphere, in contrast to the hustle and bustle of Southern California. The city lies along the coast, offering endless access to breathtaking beaches such as Nobby Beach and Merewether Beach. As a resident of Southern California, buses are not easily accessible, so using the Newy bus and train system allowed access to malls, grocery outlets, beaches, and more!





The Nature All Around You
First off, the nature in Australia is breathtaking. Nature isn’t just a backdrop but an integral part
of everyday life. The campus is a haven of greenery surrounded by the sounds of Australian Magpies and Cockatoos. To get to classes from the student housing, you have to walk about a mile through what seems like a forest with medium to tall trees, but I always couldn’t help but take time to smell the fresh air and appreciate how preserved nature is in Australia. I definitely took advantage of visiting the local nature reserves to see Australia-specific wildlife. One of my favorite places was the Blackbutt Reserve located within the city of Newcastle. It spans over 180 hectares and has species of flora and fauna that are spectacular sights for tourists like me. The best part of the reserve was seeing the sleeping koalas, grazing kangaroos, hungry emus (yes, I did feed the emu), and many, many other species, including a variety of birdlife. I fell in love with the feeling of being constantly surrounded by beautiful views, trees, and wildlife.
Campus and Courses
The University of Newcastle, formerly a part of the University of New South Wales, opened in 1951 and became an independent university in 1965. The university has around 37,000 students and 6 campuses from the original Newcastle location to a campus in Singapore. While at UON, I took 12 credits, which is equivalent to 3 classes. Since I am a psychology minor I took Personality Psychology and Advanced Psychology. Each course had more than one professor, allowing students the opportunity to learn with different teaching styles. The class is broken into two components: lecture and tutorial, consisting of activities, essays, and group presentations. However, the main reason why I went to Australia was to learn more about the history of the land. So, I took an Introduction to Aboriginals course. The UON Wollotuka Institute offers students to explore the rich cultural heritage, history, and contemporary issues Australia’s Aboriginal community encounters. For example, I did a presentation on the Protection Acts placed on the Aboriginal people. Aboriginal individuals were subjected to surveillance and regulation through measures such as compulsory residence in missions, strict control over wages, and enforced abandonment of their native languages. This impact has affected future generations’ inability to connect closely with their heritage, relatives, and language. The Indigenous peoples of Australia are the essence and spirit of the land, and I am grateful for the opportunity to learn about their profound connection to it.






My Lifelong Friends
Studying in Australia offers the chance to form lifelong friendships with people from diverse
backgrounds. Whether through extracurricular activities, on-campus housing, or academia, everyone I met was kind and introduced me to Australian culture. Because I chose a university that was far from Sydney, only one other Chapman student came with me. I found myself compelled to make new friends and immerse myself in an unknown crowd. This turned out to be a blessing as it allowed me to explore Australia alongside locals and discover different cities in
New South Wales. Overall, my experience was unparalleled, and I highly recommend the University of Newcastle to anyone seeking an authentic Australian cultural experience


Ahni Patel

University of Newcastle

Fall 2022