When in Wollongong, Here’s What You Need to Know


This past February, the Wollongong Study Group embarked on their journey to the south of Sydney, Australia along the Grand Pacific Drive. Hosted at the University of Wollongong, the students have been focusing on natural sciences alongside Australian and other international students. 

Junior Hannah Rogan appreciates the change of pace in her academics and the opportunity to study at a different university. 

“The University of Wollongong makes academics fun and engaging, and the campus is always bustling,” Rogan said.

Junior Gray Purcell noted the novelty of studying in Australia, as opposed to other, more popular, study-abroad destinations.  

“It is no secret that Australia is tucked away in a corner of the world that is not exactly easy to get to. Having fallen in love with the country from afar, I knew that I wanted to spend a substantial amount of time in this country at some point in my life,” Purcell explained.

Purcell has had the chance to experience Australia’s fascinating ecosystem, encountering plants and animals that do not exist anywhere else in the world.

“Being able to explore my environmental studies [concentration] here has taught me so much about the damaging effects of climate change, as many areas of Australia have been increasingly impacted by wildfires and a depleted ozone layer,” Purcell added. 

Purcell is also minoring in sociology and has been able to further her knowledge about human social behavior by learning about the history and culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders peoples in Australia.

“Being exposed to a new part of the world means that I have the incredible opportunity to learn from a different demographic of Indigenous peoples, an experience that has been eye-opening and influential in my own life,” Purcell said.

Another member of the study group, junior Alisyn Kercher, reported an enriching experience being abroad as well. As a neuroscience concentrator, she has utilized the University of Wollongong’s Body Donation Program, which allows students studying medicine to look at cadavers.

“I wanted to go on a study group that worked well with my [concentration] and it has been a huge privilege to work with real specimens in the anatomy lab and properly see the inner workings of the brain,” Kercher said. 

The abroad students have also spent time meeting locals and learning about Australian culture. 

“The Australians are so friendly and I feel like I have really settled into life here amongst the locals – they don’t make me feel like an outsider at all. The study group excursions have also been amazing and have given me a lot of perspective on Australian culture,” Rogan said.

For students who are considering studying abroad, the members of the Australia Study Group highly encourage it. 

“If you are on the fence about studying abroad but the little voice in your head is urging you to go, do it. Being in a new learning environment outside of the bubble that is American society will undoubtedly change your life,” Purcell said.

Colgate University is also unique in sponsoring a wide array of abroad offerings. 

“Lots of schools don’t have the abroad resources that Colgate has and I suggest you take advantage,” Kercher added.

Purcell concluded by emphasizing the rich memories she’s made so far this semester, and undoubtedly will continue to make.

“While I completely understand that the idea of spending a long time abroad may be daunting, there are many resources that you are able to access that will hopefully help you settle in with ease. Studying abroad will allow you to gain life-changing experiences that you will remember forever. I truly cannot recommend it enough,” Purcell said.