GSM Spotlight: Emma Burns


Year Senior

MajorĀ Marketing

Minor Psychology


Study Abroad Program University of New South Wales (Exchange) in Sydney, Australia, Spring 2017

What specific factors influenced your decision to go abroad?

I've always wanted to travel and I didn't think I'd ever get a chance to live in Australia if I didn't go abroad.


What advice would you give your pre-study abroad self?

Don't be so worried! It will all work out.

How was the academics or academic system you were apart of differ from UConn (or the US system)?

The academic system was fairly similar to the states, but a few differences were that all of the lectures were recorded, so you could watch them whenever and the grading system was very different. It is average to get in the 60's or 70's for your grades which was very surprising to me at first.

What advice would you give to outbound study abroad students to help them make the most of their study abroad experiences?

I would tell anybody going abroad to not just stick with the people they went with (if they are going with friends) but to really reach out to as many people as they can and make friends from all different backgrounds and cultures. I would also just tell them not to be stressed about making every single moment a big moment, or every single day a big day. Going away to a place for 3 or more months is a long time, there is no need to stress about making every second of your time huge, you can have relaxing days as well as crazy fun days.

If you could go abroad again, what would you do differently?

If I were to go abroad again I would try even harder to immerse myself in the culture more. Most of the friends I made abroad were other exchange students which was awesome, but I only had a few Australian friends and I would love to have more time to meet more of them.

What concerns/fears did you have about studying abroad, and how did you overcome them?

I was afraid about finding a place to live and I was afraid about making friends, especially since I wasn't going to be living on campus. I overcame this because I really had no other option than to, but it was awesome because I grew up a lot from it and now I know how to find a place to live in the future! It's amazing when you find out what you are actually capable of. The friends component also happened naturally, it's just like if you were doing your freshman year of college all over again, everybody is in the same boat and everybody is nervous. But you always find your people. I've met my best friend in the world here and I'm so sad to be leaving her.

What was it about your program specifically that fit your personal goals over other programs?

I really wanted to do the UNSW program because it was in Australia which I had always wanted to visit and it was in a city which I wanted to experience living in. I have always been from small towns and UConn is pretty isolated, so I thought it would be a cool experience to do something different.