Student Testimonials

A lot of legwork pays off in Western Australia

Ward at the top of the lighthouse.
Nathan Ward visited this lighthouse during a trip to
Southwest Australia, set up by the University of
Western Australia for exchange students.

Nathan Ward '20, a biomedical engineering major, hadn’t traveled extensively and was ready for a change of scenery.

He certainly got that during his fall 2018 semester studying abroad at the University of Western Australia in Perth.

Beautiful beaches. Awesome scenery. Even an emu that almost ate an ice cream cone he was holding!

“I had an all-around awesome time,” Ward says.

But it took a lot of legwork to find a study abroad destination that offered classes he could take to keep on track with his major. “I probably searched for six to eight weeks to find an option that lined up,” Ward says. Tami Marple, the BME undergraduate coordinator, was “invaluable” in helping Ward get the departmental approvals he needed.

At least any other BME students interested in a study abroad experience at the University of Western Australia will know some of the courses to sign up for. Ward took ENSC3007 (as a replacement for CHE 244, Heat and Mass Transfer), ENSC3015 (as a replacement for BME 230, Signals and Systems) and CHEM1002 (as a replacement for Organic Chemistry).

“I also took INDG1150, Aboriginal Encounters: Strangers in our Backyard because the content seemed interesting and it wasn't something I could take here,” Ward says.

Ward also worked over the summer for spending money, “which was absolutely a vital part of my trip.”

All of the hard work paid off.

Ward in a kayak.
A New Zealand fur seal jumps out of the water near the boat that
Ward was in near Penguin Island.

“I gained a deeper international perspective,” Ward says. “While UR is absolutely an international school, and my family sponsored a Chinese exchange student when I was in high school, there really is nothing like being dropped in a foreign country.”

While in Australia, Ward also met people from Europe, Asia, and the Middle East “in an environment that would not exist anywhere else in the world. One of my best friends while I was there was from Singapore, a place that I had never met anyone from, much less knew anything about.”

One of his “more interesting experiences” was attending a conference for biomedical engineering students at Queen Elizabeth II hospital in Perth. “It was interesting to see the differences and similarities to the approaches that are being taken in studies, research, and healthcare in general in Australia,” Ward says,

His advice for other students interested in studying abroad: “Stick with it! It's absolutely worth it, even though it may be tough. And take advantage of your major's office staff - they are usually your best resource, and many of them want to see you go abroad as much as you do!”

A view of downtown Perth from Kings Park and Botanic Garden.
A view of downtown Perth from Kings Park and Botanic Garden.