Australian adapts to American college life

T'Nerra Butler, Multicultural Editor


Though he lived in Australia all of his life, coming to America was not a culture shock for Nicholas Stuart.

A second-year accounting major, Stuart said only three years are required to earn a bachelor’s degree in Australia as opposed to America’s four-year requirement.

Stuart is in his second year and is earning credits here through a foreign exchange program.

He has received $5,000 in a scholarship in June to study at Eastern.

Stuart is from Rockhampton, Queensland and Central Queensland University is his permanent school.

Coming from a campus of about 20,000 students, Eastern is still similar to his main university.

Stuart said the university is split into four campuses, so he still gets the small campus feel back at home.

The only difference between the two countries is the scenery.

Stuart said when he thinks of home he envisions brown and gold and when he steps outside in America he sees a variety of colors.

He said on campus, back at home, there are a lot of artificial plants outside, which compensates for the hot climate in Australia.

He said Eastern is refreshing because he can experience four seasons and what they bring.

Stuart said in Australia, in order to be eligible for the scholarship, he had to have a certain GPA and at least eight credit hours.

“Particularly now, with fees, it could be hard on students to be financially comfortable and not worry about how to pay this, or get approved for that,” Stuart said. “If you’re not thinking about your financial situation, you’re going to be more clear headed.

He said the scholarship is allowing him to have an extra sense of financial security.

Stuart said he can travel and experience the country more now, than if he had the burden of paying on his own for his studies overseas.

Along with experiencing the campus and the scenery of Eastern, Stuart said he is learning about the culture of America, though it is not vastly different from his own.

“Back in Australia everyone had this idea of the ignorant American and that’s not true,” Stuart said. “Everyone here is very welcoming, very accepting, and willing to learn more.”

He said the only difference he really sees in this country is the cost of living.

Stuart said many things are cheaper here, including food, which has bigger proportions than back at home.

“A meal here wouldn’t look too much out of place in Australia,” Stuart said. “If anything what we call the food would be different. Like biscuits, what we call biscuits are cookies, which is far off from what you guys say here.”

Stuart said he wished he could say one of the biggest myths about Australia was wrong, but the tale holds some truth.

“Everyone kind of thinks that we see kangaroos all the time, and where I live, on my campus, there is a family of about 40 kangaroos living there,” Stuart said.

He said the kangaroos are probably just unique to where he stays in Australia.

Back at home, Stuart said it’s uncommon for students to live on campus, he said many students stay at home because their university is typically close by.

He said staying in Thomas Hall is more convenient than his commute back home.

While at Eastern, Stuart said he has been experiencing a little homesickness.

Stuart said the hardest part was not being able to see some of his loved ones before he left. He said though it is minimal, he still wants to see his family.

“It’s just not being able to be there for someone else if they need it,” Stuart said. “You know, you can talk to someone over Facebook, but that doesn’t substitute for being physically there.”

Stuart said even with his thoughts of home, he would not trade this experience at Eastern for anything in the world.


T’Nerra Butler can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]