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Study Abroad

Student Profiles

Michaela Kerem

Michaela Kerem

Major: Computer Science, Digital Media Studies
Year: 2015
Location: Sydney, Australia
Duration: February to June 2014

Why did you choose to study abroad? What factors (your major, other commitments, Take Five) did you weigh as you were making the decision to study abroad?

Well before entering college, I was introduced to the perks of studying abroad by my brother, who shared his stories of spending a full year in Germany and Switzerland his junior year at Boston College. This factor, as well as my desire to travel to a different part of the world, engross myself in a new way of life, and step out of my comfort zone, really pushed me to apply for study abroad. In choosing my location, I was guided by two factors: one, the ability to enroll in computer science courses and second the opportunity to enjoy some warm weather (and escape Rochester’s winter). Australia was one of the locations to offer this combination.

Beyond the academic work, how did you engage with your new “community” and culture while you were away from Rochester?

In the very beginning of the semester, I read a handful of student blogs to eliminate, as much as possible, the infamous “freshmen year anxiety.” I also accessed discount websites Groupon and LivingSocial to find out about things to do. For example, with several friends from my program, we bought tickets to a buffet cruise on Darling Harbour during Vivid Sydney to see the Opera House light up.

How has your experience studying abroad impacted you?

Because I physically and mentally flew out of a comfort zone, I am now more confident and am not as quick to judge certain situations, giving more careful thought to problems, which I think is a far-reaching, applicable skill in life.

What skills, tools, knowledge gained from studying abroad will you draw on now that you are back at Rochester?

Specifically, I improved my directional skills: While I’m not really familiar with the names of streets in Rochester or even of those in my hometown in Maryland, I somehow gained the ability to navigate the streets of Sydney without a GPS!

What advice do you have for current students contemplating studying abroad?

Even if you have serious reservations or concerns holding you back, these can be resolved more often than you realize. For a lot of students, study abroad is one of the few opportunities in life in which one can live in a different city and understand the definition of “independence” from a whole different dimension. This experience will either help you in defining your life goals, short term or long term, or just further uphold these aspirations.

Sum up your study abroad experience in six words:

Journeying a life-defining, roller-coaster ride.

Weiheke Island in Auckland, New Zealand

I visited Weiheke Island in Auckland, New Zealand with a friend from
my program. Karen Rich, pictured from the left, is from Ithaca College.

Opera House, Sydney Autralia

Along with a group of friends, I went on a cruise to see the Opera
House light up during Vivid Sydney.

The Great Hall

The Great Hall (yes, same name as in Rush Rhees library!), one of
University of Sydney's campus buildings, featured different projected
videos for a week during Vivid Sydney, an annual light event.

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You can do it! Think engineers can’t study abroad? Think again. With the flexible Rochester curriculum and specially selected overseas partnerships, Hajim students have a world of opportunities available. We’ve identified more than 200 equivalent courses that apply toward your Rochester degree at 23 universities in 14 countries. We offer scholarships to help you cover travel costs. You'll see the world, gain a global perspective, and build your resume—all before graduating. Questions? Contact Rohan Palma, our study abroad adviser, at

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