Grace - CIS Australia July in Vancouver Island

Summer 23/24, B Criminology and Criminal Justice


Thee daily grind of uni life was getting boring so i was seeking something to spice things up. When I came across this experience I thought it was perfect because it allowed me to combine my love for travel with my love for the subject matter available to study in the course. The fact that it was a short-term experience was also perfect because it allowed me to experience life as an exchange student without the commitment of a full semester, which would've been unviable due to my financial and personal situation.

Personal Development

I made lifelong friendships on this trip and I learned to push myself as I did things on this trip that I never would've thought myself capable of before. I feel so much more confident in my own capabilities as a result and I feel encouraged to participate in a similar experience again as I now know that I can.

Academic Development 

The course I took was worth 2 credits, so was a full semester's worth of work just compressed into 3 weeks. I didn't find that an issue though as generally I'd say the workload was a lot less than I'm used to at UQ and the assessments were also a lot easier than the ones I've received at UQ. Being in a small class was also nice as it allowed for easier discussion and let us all get to know each other a lot easier. Overall, a combination of these things created a very relaxed, low-pressure environment which was a nice change and I felt I worked better under these circumstances as without the stress I could actually enjoy what i was learning.

Professional Development

I can see the cultural understanding that I've developed on this trip being an invaluable asset to future employers. As well as living immersed in a unique culture for a month, I met so many people from other cultures while on my trip and learned so much about their countries and cultural differences and as such I feel that I've gained a sense of cultural awareness that I didn't have before. It was a challenge to navigate these differences at times but I found that asking lots of questions and approaching a new cultural perspective with an open mind allowed me to quickly develop an understanding of the ways in which culture can impact people's views and values- which I can see being a useful skill professionally, especially if I am considering a career with lots of travel or international networking.


Due to the financial assistance from the IGET grant and my OS help loan, I didn't need to spend a whole lot of my own money on the trip. Especially because I was in a homestay which meant that my accommodation and food were all paid for as part of my program fees. The program fees were around $7000, then flights were about $4000. I probably paid around another $200 for additional day trips during the experience and then maybe ended up spending around $1000 for everything else that I did and bought while on the trip. Due to the nature of my experience and the funding I received my only advice would be to apply for as much funding as possible because if you do so it takes a huge chunk of the trip fees off your plate and then you can focus on spending money on the things you want to.


I was lucky enough to receive the IGET grant on top of my OS help loan, both of which were incredibly helpful. The OS help loan covered my program fees while the grant went towards paying for flights and other travel expenses like renewing my passport.


I was placed straight into a homestay so I didn't receive any other options. My host family was a single mum and her 17 year old son so the house was quite empty most of the time, I also had my own bedroom and bathroom in the house so that was nice. Having food made for me was great and the house itself was lovely, however my host mum worked a lot so I didn't get to see her much and get the homestay experience i know a lot of my peers got.


The friends I made on the trip were definitely the highlight. We all clicked really well and spending almost every minute of every day (between classes and day trips) together meant we got to know each other quicker than most people would under normal circumstances. These are the type of friendships I can see lasting into the future too and we've already made plans to meet up again!

Advice/Top Tips

Receiving the funding that I did was what made this experience possible for me ultimately so my advice would be that if anyone is considering participating in one of these experiences then apply for absolutely any funding that you can. It takes such a huge chunk of the cost away and allows you to focus on saving for things that you may want to do or buy. On a less practical note, another piece of advice I'd give is to embrace all experiences, good and bad. Often the times when you're pushed out of your comfort zone make for the best memories so while you may feel uneasy at the time, you'll remember the experience with happiness.