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Bentley Etches, 20, Bemidji State University, USA

“I felt that studying abroad would really open my eyes to other cultures and experiences.”

Bentley Etches

Bentley took a big risk when she decided to leave her home in North Dakota and dive head first into Australian culture, and now she says it’s been the best decision of her life! From beautiful beaches, vibrant nightlife, and dozens of travel opportunities, Bentley’s study abroad experience is definitely worth the read.

Part the Bond Difference is that the opportunities we give you allow you to really embark on an  extraordinary journey. There will be times that you are out of your comfort zone and your your eyes will be opened to the fact that you really do have the power to make a difference. All experiences are exciting and rewarding but at Bond University you will grow as a person and even more so when studying abroad.

We quiz Bentley on what it was like being an abroad student at Bond University.

Why did you originally want to study abroad at Bond?

My home university doesn’t have any affiliations with any universities in Australia, so I had a ton of options to choose from. I read really positives reviews about Bond and saw that it had been ranked by BuzzFeed as the best place in the world to study abroad at. The pictures of the campus were beautiful and I loved that it was close to beaches, a vibrant nightlife, and was centrally located between the Great Barrier Reef and cities like Melbourne and Sydney.

Did you have any preconceived notions about what it would be like to study abroad? If so, did any of them come true?

I felt that studying abroad would really open my eyes to other cultures and experiences, but I didn’t come into Australia with many other preconceived notions. I’ve definitely had those two things come true as I’m constantly learning about the many different cultures here and I’m always creating new experiences. I think that coming here with an open mind has made this experience all the better; I’m open to just about anything and everything here.

Oh! I also thought that kangaroo would be a staple dish here but I rarely see it on any menus.

"The thing that surprised me the most was the amount of vegetation I saw. I know that sounds really weird, but I remember driving from Brisbane to Gold Coast and just being in awe of all the trees and plants that were everywhere. I’m still shocked by the amount of national parks and rainforests that surround the area. With a really short drive you can go from a huge city to a lush forest, and that’s just so cool to me."

Are you planning on doing any travelling? If so, to where? What are you most excited for?

I’m planning on travelling to the Whitsunday Islands, Melbourne, and potentially a few other places. I’m so excited to see the Great Barrier Reef on my Whitsundays trip. I’ve always dreamed of visiting it! I’m also really looking forward to experiencing the uniqueness of Melbourne and driving along the Great Ocean Road. I heard it’s breathtaking and can’t wait to see it for myself.

What’s your favourite Australian food so far?

Without a doubt, Tim Tams are my favourite Australian food. I swear they’ve ruined me! I’m not sure how I’ll survive without their chocolatey-deliciousness once I return to America.

If you could sum up your study abroad experience in five words or less, what would they be?

Adventurous, breathtaking, and eye-opening.

Do you have any advice for any prospective study abroad students?

Choosing to study abroad at Bond has been the best decision of my life. I’ve been exposed to so many different cultures, have built relationships that will last far into my future, and have created memories that will last a lifetime. If you’re thinking about studying abroad at all, just do it. Dive into it head first, don’t look back, and be open to anything. You learn the most about life and about yourself when you step outside of your comfort zone. It will be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life, and I could not recommend it more!