When asked to name a city in Australia, most people will say either Sydney or Melbourne. I was one of those people until last spring, when I was placed in Perth, Australia.
When I originally applied for the COST program, I listed Australia as my number one choice because I wanted to student teach in one of those cities. When I found out that I would be teaching in Perth, the first thing I did was Google where Perth was located (Western Australia). At first I was disappointed that I was not in Sydney, but now I am glad I got placed in Perth.
I want to clear up a few common myths about Australia that I heard numerous times before I left on my journey:
First, kangaroos and koalas are not all over the place roaming the streets like EIU squirrels. It actually took me a month before I got to see either, but yes they are both awesome and it was well worth the wait.
Second, toilets do not flush the opposite way. That was a myth that was started by the Simpsons.
Third, it is not always warm and sunny in Australia. I started in the winter so it was rainy and about 40-50 degrees. Thankfully I packed enough warm clothes.
Finally, big spiders and snakes are not everywhere. I have yet to see either a snake or a spider.
Perth is right on the coast, and has many beautiful beaches. It also has many great parks and forest that I have explored. So far my favorite part of the journey was going to a wildlife park; I got to pet and feed kangaroos, got up close to koalas, which if you do not know are normally shy animals that are sleeping most of the time. I also had an opportunity to swim with wild dolphins, which was spectacular and something that I will never forget.
Those are just a few of many memorable things I have experienced while studying abroad with the COST program. I think every future teacher should look into the COST program because I have learned so much about others and myself while teaching in Australia. If you are not a future teacher, you should still look into studying abroad. College is a perfect opportunity to explore the rest of the world. Studying aboard offers you a once in a lifetime chance to do amazing things, while still earning college credit, what can be better?
Tim Patula is a Kinesiology and Sports Studies major with K-12 teacher certification. He completed his student teaching in Perth, Australia with the Consortium for Overseas Student Teaching (COST) in Fall 2012. To learn more about the COST program, click here.
Originally published in the Daily Eastern News: November 29, 2012: http://ow.ly/gW9PP