'Do it!'

rock climbingJack Billings rock climbing with AURAC (Auckland University Rock and Alpine Club) at Froggatt Edge.

Jack Billings ‘2019 studied abroad to get out of the “bubble” of Rochester and spend some time somewhere new. He went to New Zealand to get this experience, with IES Abroad Auckland.

 Billings, a mechanical engineering major, says it was very easy for him to arrange to study abroad. He began the process early and worked on it incrementally during the semester before departure. “Compared to the payoff, the required preparation was minimal,” Billings says.

 He worked with advisors in the Center for Education Abroad and with John Lambropoulos, chair of the Mechanical Engineering department. Consulting with his professors at UR and at University of Auckland, he figured out which courses to take and what credits would transfer back to Rochester.

 He took three courses that satisfied his major requirements, plus one course just for fun. Because he went abroad through the IES Abroad program, he paid the same amount he would have paid at the University of Rochester for a semester, minus food costs.

 Jack lists several things that he gained from his experience abroad: many new friends, getting to tick off items on his bucket list, and “a MUCH stronger desire to travel and explore the world than I had going into the semester.”

 He remembers a particularly exciting trip organized by IES Abroad during the mid-semester break, in which he got to travel to the Cook Islands. He also went scuba-diving in the Great Barrier Reef during that break.

 After the semester finished, he spent six weeks backpacking around the South Island as well as in Thailand and Cambodia! During the semester, he also got involved in rock climbing and kite surfing, which he says “were probably the two best decisions I made.”

 His advice for students thinking about studying abroad is brief and to the point: “Do it!”


A picture from the school visit Jack Billings made to Rarotonga, “where we got to play with, read to, and hang out with the kids as well as learn about their amazing culture and way of life.”

 greenstone  track

 Here is a picture from the Greenstone Track on the South Island of New Zealand where Billings got to backpack for a month after the semester ended.