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Student Testimonials: University of New South Wales (UNSW)

Name: Jen Foran

Highlight of my semester abroad:

I loved all the people I met. Australians are some of the nicest people I have ever met. They were fascinated by American culture and had tons of questions for me. They always made me feel comfortable and included, many offered to bring me home with them to see their homes and families, which was great! 

Who I spent most of my time with abroad:

I spent most of my time with local Australian students that I met at the dorm. I know a lot of exchange people stayed in groups with each other, but I tried to completely immerse myself in Australian culture.

Something about me you might be interested to know:

I've visited every continent except Antarctica.

What I would say to students considering participating in IBEX:

Do IBEX!  Australia is by far my favorite place. I made incredible friends, experienced a culture that's super different from the US, and got to enjoy the beach (even in the middle of winter). 

Contact me about UNSW:

Jen Foran -

More Student Insight


  • Airline ticket to/from IBEX site: $1,900- $3,000 USD (+ Taxi from airport to campus)
  • Food: $2,500 USD/semester
  • Housing: $3,200 - $7,000 USD/semester
  • Books: $300 - $400 USD/semester
  • Phone: $200 USD/semester.  Use calling cards, calls are cheap.
  • Entertainment: $40 USD/week
  • Local Transportation: $360 - $500 USD/semester; 2.10 AUD per ride
  • Visa: $500 USD


  • "Luckily, I have a card that has no foreign transaction fees, so I didn't need to open a bank account. I know plenty of people that did, and they all said it was super easy. Some of the banks include NAB, CAN, and ANZ."
  • "I had a credit card that had no foreign transaction fees and also brought some money to exchange at the bank. There are noticeably more places in Australia that are either cash-only or that apply a fee for credit card transactions."
  • "My parents transferred money to my debit card, so I could take money out of the ATM for an $8 fee. I also had a credit card that I could use for larger purchases. When I got a job I set up a bank account for my boss to transfer money to. If I had done anything differently it would be to exchange my American money for Australian money before I left America."
  • "I had a Citibank account that I deposited money from in Australian currency in Australia."
  • "I took travelers' checks and used my home checks to open an account in Sydney at a local bank. The only problem was that the US check took 30 days to clear. I would probably have brought more in travelers' checks to initially use from my account. I did also use my ATM card from home, but I got charged for that. If I could have redone it, I think I would have put money in my Citibank account, so I could just take larger sums of cash out when I went downtown (the only ATM) since I was there so much anyhow. I was also surprised that AMEX was not accepted very widely."


  • "I lived in the dorms on-campus (they call it college) which came with all three meals. I would definitely recommend living in college, but I would look into the different cultures of the colleges because they vary quite a bit and can have a huge impact on your experience." 
  • "Because of Australia's unique university culture, they have "colleges" which are like extremely involved activity-based housing where they have a lot of social events during the week and weekend that you have to attend if you're part of the college. They also have apartment-style housing, which is what I decided to go with only because the building looked nice. I just didn't actually know how drastic the difference would be between college life and apartment-style life. Nonetheless, I'm absolutely satisfied with my decision to get an apartment. They wouldn't tell me who my roommate would be until I got there for "privacy reasons" but I ended up with an amazing roommate from San Francisco."
  • "I lived in an apartment-style dorm and it had a kitchen, so I cooked food in my apartment sometimes, but we didn't have an oven so that was a little inconvenient. I found out about it through the UNSW website and it was on campus. The building was on top of a grocery store and a variety of other restaurants, so getting food was never a problem."
  • "I lived on campus at University Terraces. A difference I did not understand beforehand is that there are on-campus DORMS and on-campus APARTMENTS. The Terraces are apartments, so I didn't really have any organized events to meet any of the other people in my building or on my floor. Since they are apartments, they also do not come with any meal plan. It is a nice 2-bedroom apartment and convenient, too. But, it is pretty significantly more expensive than living close by off-campus. I applied online for the on-campus housing."
  • "I found short-term off-campus housing for a relatively cheap price. The food however was a bit more expensive than New York, but still not too bad overall. I was very satisfied with every aspect of my living and meal situation."
  • "Apartment or Study Abroad Housing recommended"


  • "UNSW was a pretty easy workload compared to Stern. Most classes weighted the final at 50% or above, and the rest of the grade was from a group project or some other assignments and participation in "tutorials" - their version of a recitation. The semester was pretty easy but studying for finals was taken really seriously by all the students because they count for so much. The business school was remarkable, and the professors and teaching assistants were clearly very qualified and passionate about what they were teaching."
  • "The difference mainly came from the grade scale used at the school. However, respectively, each University was about the same, however, Stern provides a more challenging curriculum."
  • Workload: Easier, about the same as Stern
  • Grading: Easier, about the same as Stern
  • Classroom Climate: Very much like Stern, modern facilities, same types of lecture halls

Course Registration

  • "They published the course offerings online a few months prior to me leaving, and their system was actually a lot easier to understand than Albert. I just submitted a request for the courses I wanted to take and once it was approved I was enrolled in the course. They didn't have any closed classes or waitlists (or at least not that I saw)."
  • "The registration process was quite simple and the staff was very helpful. All deadlines were provided and time slots were given, not picked."

Course Recommendations

  • "I really like Managing Across Cultures. I thought it was a really interesting class that allowed me to make comparisons on various cultures and helped me better articulate and work with people of different cultures." 
  • "My Information Systems in Business professor Eric Lim was hilarious and made a pretty dry topic interesting - I definitely recommend that class. My professor Rita Di Mascio for Consumer Relationship Management was a really great teacher and had a deep understanding of the subject. She was also a very understanding professor and made a genuine effort to connect with all of the students."
  • "My favorite class was Australia in the Global Economy with professor Barrie Dyster. The professor had an excellent amount of information about the world and Australian economy and helped students understand powerful insights and complicated ideas at an easier level. Overall, All four classes I took - Global Media, The Marine Environment, Australia in the Global Economy, and Management and Organisations - were all very good courses."
  • "My favorite class was Marine Environment because we had 3 field trips to places around Sydney to observe the marine environment in action."
  • "I would not recommend the History of Australia Since WWII since not knowing much about the pre-WWII background of Australia made the class pretty confusing."

Student Life

  • "I joined the PhotoClub and the Quidditch team. Student life at the university is very different from NYU because most of the local students commute from home, which often is an hour or more away from the university. The people are very nice, especially within the clubs that I joined."
  • "I spent most of my time with students from the host country because I met most of them through my classes and the sports activities I did."
  • "Everyone was friendly and helpful. I participated in one event of the Wakeboard club and one event of the Scuba Diving Club. There were a huge variety of clubs. In particular, there were a lot of Asian clubs. With all my site-seeing though, I didn't really feel like I had time to commit to anything for the semester. The campus is also huge, so it is not very often that you run into someone you know. The Aussie students, I found, did not join many clubs. They were more focused on international students, hence the Asian clubs."

Restaurants, Shopping, Must-See Sites

  • "Harbour cruise / 22 Gram (Sydney, Australia) right near campus. / Brewtown Newtown (Newtown in Sydney). / Westfield in Bondi Junction for shopping"
  • "Wollongong, Kiama Blowhole, Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, Suffolk, Byron Bay, Nimbin, Ellenborough Reserve, Jenolan Caves, Glebe markets" 
  • "Blue Mountains, Kiami, Gold Coast, Bondi, Oxford Street, North Sydney"
  • "Home" at Darling Harbour, Melbourne, and Brisbane. Harbour Bridge, Opera House, Botanical Gardens, Manly Beach, Bondi to Coogee beach walk, Aquarium, Surf camp, Blue Mountains"
  • "Firefry Thai restaurant (Chinatown in Sydney), Eateries around Sydney and Randwick, Chopstick at the Randwick. Spot Wallaby Bar - Darling Harbour, Pontoon - Darling Harbour, Three Wise Monkeys - George St.and Liverpool, Scubar - Eddy & Pitt."

Travel Tips

  • "I did a lot of short weekend trips around Australia, and it was pretty easy to do because flights are cheap. The buses in Sydney are really convenient if you just use Google Maps on an iPhone. You buy an Opal card at a convenience store and load it with cash there, and you tap on when you get on the bus and tap off when you leave, and they charge you in sections based on how long you rode the bus. They also have trains you can take that are really nice and a great way to get around the city if you can pay extra for the ticket."
  • "Buses are difficult to figure out unless you have Google Maps, or a similar map phone app. I took public transportation pretty frequently, I would say at least 3 times a week, but usually more. We were not eligible for the student discount."
  • "I would say I probably did the most budget travel because I went to the student/backpacker travel agents and got information. I did a lot of comparisons and found that it is cheaper to plan your trip yourself. Virgin Blue, Jet Star, and Qantas are the major carriers. Virgin Blue and Jet Star are like the Jet Blue of America, but sometimes Qantas has cheaper flights. They have sales every now and then of incredibly cheap flights, but they are very hard to get. I'd say booking in advance saves the most on plane tickets. Around Sydney, I just took the bus and you can buy tickets at convenience stores in 10 trip tickets for half off the normal price b/c of UNSW's discount for showing the student card. Going out to the suburbs of Sydney is probably best on a train. They're very easy to take."

Culture Shock

  • "Culture shock was minimal for me. It depends on whether you are living with Australians or with fellow exchange students down at Coogi beach. Living with Australians was a lot of fun and a highly recommended experience. The only real culture shock is the local vernacular and the Australian slang which is easy to pick up. It's great to ask questions too. Don't be afraid to." 

What You Should/ Should Not Bring

  • What you should bring...
    • "Summer clothes, Winter Coat, Swimsuit, Towel…other necessary items. If you plan to go backpacking or hiking, bring hiking boots and a hiking backpack. But, it's not really essential, these items can be easily purchased in Sydney." 
  • What you should not bring...
    • "Too much stuff. Qantas will charge 100 dollars for every extra bag. If I were to pack again for the trip, I would bring one full suitcase and one empty one. There is a lot to bring back."