Tag Archives: Student Blog

Almost in Berlin!

I’ve poured over the library’s travel books, watched endless youtube videos from Berlin, and have thought endlessly about what I really do and don’t need to pack. The countdown is on. It is about a week before I get to take off from Boston Logan International Airport and embark on the most amazing and immense opportunity. I am so grateful because I get to live and study in Germany for a whole month (a WHOLE month!) with a group of other Northeastern students and two of my favorite professors. I have always been so excited about meeting new people and seeing what life is like in different places, so studying abroad has been at the top of my to do list for awhile. I hope to co-op abroad soon and I have never been overseas for more than a week so I want to try out living on another continent before I take the plunge. I am ready to plant some roots, make friends, and eat some seriously German food.

With all of the excitement of something new comes that big wave of nervousness as well. None of my good friends are going on the trip with me, so I definitely feel those freshman orientation nerves creeping back in. I also do not know the language and who knows how I will figure out how to get around the sprawling city of Berlin. But the excitement definitely overpowers my doubts and fears because I am ready for the adventure. I am pumped to make friends with the other people on the trip and the other students in the area. I want to explore Berlin deeper than a tourist or traveller would and really become a resident of the city. From all I read and heard, Berlin is a very progressive and young city so getting to explore it through photography and culture classes is definitely the experience of a lifetime. The city is bursting with history so I am excited to learn about its past a little more so I can appreciate why the city flows the way it does today.

So ten more days until takeoff? Ten more days.

-A Broad (almost) Abroad


DSCN0519 DSCN0487Similar to ‘reading day,’ Bond University has a week off before final exams commence. Most of the study abroad students take this as a vacation because we haven’t had any (official) days off this semester. Bond runs on a trimester system, so they don’t have ‘Spring Break’ or anything. They get 3 weeks off between each semester. I’ve wanted to go to Melbourne for a while, especially to see little blue penguins in the wild. I went from Friday to Tuesday with my friend Becca. It was a pretty packed trip. When we got there on Friday, we explored the city, went into a bunch of free museums and watched a free comedy show. We got dinner with my friend Leah from my high school (and Northeastern) who is studying abroad a bit out of the city. It’s so weird seeing people you know in a different country, definitely nice though!

On Saturday we did a Great Ocean Road tour. A lot of time was spent on the tour bus, the road is about 250km! (150 miles). I still haven’t gotten used to these conversions. We stopped every once in a while for sight seeing and pictures. We also saw koalas in the wild. The tour was from 7am to about 9pm so it was a long day.

The next day, we went on a tour from 9am to 10pm. It was a wildlife tour, including stops at a wildlife sanctuary, several beautiful beaches, the fallen London Bridge, and last but not least, Phillip Island. The wildlife sanctuary had albino kangaroos which was very interesting! As for penguins, hundreds of little blue penguins reside on Phillip Island. At the New England Aquarium, where I did my first co-op with the penguins, we have little blue penguins as well.

Every night at Phillip Island, hundreds of penguins come out of the ocean to make their way back to their burrows after a long day of hunting and swimming. Seeing them in the wild was indescribable and it filled me with emotions. I was tearing up and it made me so incredibly happy! 13 out of the 18 species of penguins are currently endangered or vulnerable to endangerment. The little blues are not of those 13 species, but things can change very quickly, and it’s hard to keep tabs on how many of them there are. They may be vulnerable to endangerment and we may not even know it. Penguins are very dear to my heart and I am extremely passionate about them, so seeing them in the wild was a dream come true.

On Monday, I spent the day at the Melbourne Zoo. My boss at the aquarium worked with the head of Communications at the zoo so I was able to get some behind the scenes action. I spent the day with the zookeepers of the Wild Sea Team. They take care of 24 little blue penguins, 2 pelicans, and currently 2 seals. They only take female seals that are too injured to go back into the wild, or that have been in rehabilitation too long to be able to adjust to life in the wild again. Another requirement is that their seals are ones that have been injured due to human causes. It really helps with education and sends a message about how detrimental humans have been to such amazing animals. They only take females because their exhibit is not large enough to be comfortable for the large males to live in.

My day at the zoo made me miss the penguins at the NEAq so much! As I am nearing the end of my study abroad, I am very sad to leave Australia. However, I am so lucky to have so many things to look forward to come back home to. My family, friends, coworkers, and school are all things that I am fortunate to have in my life and that will make coming home from this wonderful country a lot more bearable. Being this far away from home has been a challenge, as has being away from my friends at school that I have gotten so close to in the past few years. I am even looking forward to moving back into my apartment.
But enough of that, I will write a reflection about my experience when I get home. I have two finals coming up and I have a lot of studying to do for them. Anyways, Melbourne was amazing, and I’m thrilled that I got to do so much while I was there. Time to get studying, goodbye for now!

THE Great Barrier Reef!!!

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3/18/13, Tuesday

So on Sunday night I returned from another amazing adventure, one that I have been wanting to go on for years. On Wednesday morning I went to Cairns with 5 of my American friends who are all SCUBA certified. From Thursday morning to Saturday afternoon we lived on a boat and went diving at the Great Barrier Reef.


The trip was SO much fun and we got to see so many cool things. We did 11 dives in total and each dive was about 40 minutes. We saw jellyfish, sharks, corals, anemones, turtles and dozens of different species of fish. Two of our dives were night dives where we used flashlights (or as Australians call them, torches) so we could see. It was interesting what the nightlife was like underwater. We ended up seeing 2 sharks on one of our night dives (or maybe we just saw the same shark twice, not sure).

Only 3 of our dives were ‘guided,’ meaning that we were only with an instructor for 3 dives. For the other dives we were in buddy groups. The first dive was guided so we could get a feel of the water, and our first night dive was guided as well because only one of us had been on a night dive before. Another dive one of the instructors, Sam, asked if we wanted him to go with us (just for fun) and I am so glad we said yes! We ended up seeing a turtle and were able to play with it! The turtles are so friendly and we got SO up close. It is interesting that the wildlife was so untroubled by our presence underwater, we were not seen as a threat at all, perhaps at sometime just an annoyance.

The key was to approach the animals slowly so they do not swim away and so that they do not feel threatened. As I write this I am still in awe that I actually got to do this. Definitely a few of the best days of my life and I couldn’t have spent it in a better place with better people. It is hard to put in words the beauty of the reef, and even the photographs do not completely capture the magnificence. The Great Barrier Reef is an amazing piece of nature and it is a shame that it is being destroyed by human activity and global warming. Being able to see a part of the reef before it is further damaged is a privilege in itself and I will remember it for the rest of my life.

Now back to the real world and tons of schoolwork,

New England Returnee Conference- Free Registration for the 1st 10 NU Students!

Are you a study abroad alumni? You should attend the New England Returnee Conference (NERC) on February 22nd! 

We know that you had an amazing experience abroad! Now, make that experience work for you:

The 2014 New England Study Abroad Returnee Conference is dedicated to educating study abroad alumni from around New England on the best ways to utilize the skills and knowledge gained from an international experience. Attending this conference provides a unique opportunity to:

NERC Flyer

  • Learn how to market your international experience to potential employers
  • Discover how to study/teach/work abroad again
  • Internationalize your resume and interviewing skills
  • Share stories with others that have similar interests and experiences
  • Enter your photos in a contest for prizes
  • Join keynote speaker, Andy Molinsky: author of Global Dexterity: How to adapt your behavior across cultures without losing yourself in the process. The first 80 students to register will receive a copy of the book! 


Conference Details:

Saturday, February 22, 2014


Babson College, Wellesley, MA

$12 in advance; $15 at the door

*A shuttle will be available from the Green Line Woodland stop to/from Babson

At this year’s conference, we encourage attendees to dress professionally, as to encourage a professional atmosphere. Business casual attire would be appropriate.


To Register:


To make a submission into the Photo Contest:

For conference updates, follow online: Facebook   Twitter   Website

Please email returneeconference@gmail.com with any questions.




My name is Shannon Freyer. I am a middler at Northeastern University, majoring in Behavioral Neuroscience and minoring in Chinese (you may be scratching your head right now, I often get that reaction, I understand how it seems to be a strange combo). I am especially interested in veterinary medicine and animal husbandry. I plan to pursue a career in animal care after graduation. As for the Chinese minor, I love Chinese characters and I believe that it is extremely important to know more than one language and that it can open many doors for you.

I am currently studying abroad in Australia. The area I am located in is the Gold Coast which is in the state of Queensland. I am at Bond University, a school about 4 times smaller than Northeastern with a very different environment. I have always wanted to go to Australia, and here I am now, living my dream.

I have been here for a bit over two weeks now and have passed the honeymoon period. We’re in our second week of classes so I am actually beginning to have work to do…who knew. Right at this very moment I have just gotten out of the shower after a relatively tiring day. Today I: had a 2 hour Chinese class, skyped with my dad, worked on a psych presentation for about 2 hours, watched half of the movie stepbrothers, went to a scuba club meeting, and went to ResWars. ResWars is a dorm competition at Bond that is on every Wednesday throughout the semester- different sports are played each week and each dorm is battling to come out in first. My dorm, the Accommodation Centre (AC), is mostly americans, and apparently we have a reputation of winning to hold. Tonight was dodgeball and it was nice to be the one playing instead of reffing (I ref intramurals at Northeastern). The girls from the AC came in 2nd and the boys from the AC came in first. So that was fun.

Bond is a pretty amazing place; everyone is friendly and welcoming. Having Australian friends is so fun and I am learning heaps from them (heaps being an example of my Australian-English vocabulary). I am accumulating a list of words that I am learning here to make a small-ish dictionary of terms that I have learned. The accents are easy to get used to, most of them are not that thick. It feels funny to be considered a ‘foreigner’ here- it can be comical at times in situations but it is also stressful. I feel very pressed to make the most of my time here and then have to remind myself that relaxation is a must as well. Getting used to my surroundings, meeting people and planning what I want to do, where I want to travel and what I want to be involved in on campus are the main things that I have been up to.

My friends and I have planned a trip to Bali for the end of February. I have joined scuba club and am planning on getting certified with the club and go on a few of their diving trips. I have joined ResWars and signed up for soccer. This weekend I am going to the koala and kangaroo sanctuary about thirty minutes from school. I joined the beer appreciation club. These are just a few things and I am planning to do so much more in my time here as well. I am still on the lookout for a REALLY good cup of coffee. And by really good I mean whatever I can get that is most similar to Dunkin Donuts. Yes I am a Dunks girl and am proud of it. There is a starbucks by one of the beaches and I got a coffee there- it was very nice. My friend Nicola calls starbucks ‘starchucks’ because she thinks it’s gross and it makes her want to throw up (upchuck). I got a laugh out of that one.

When technology begins to work in my favor I will attach a few photos of the absolutely gorgeous campus and a photo of myself as well so you all can see the face behind these words. Cheers! (No one says g’day mate here, hugely incorrect stereotype)