#MasonAbroad Stories


Meet Jennifer Jennings

33,367 km. 83% around the world. From Pennsylvania to Perth, Australia, I managed to take on the journey and truly immerse myself in a world much larger than myself. My time in Australia was cut short due to COVID-19. Still, the memories and the people I met through studying abroad have been invaluable.

The Journey

After three layovers and total airtime of 27 hours, I landed in Perth, Australia, in mid-February. The first hurdle was coming to terms with just how far I was from everything I knew as 'home'—not to mention the 12-hour time difference. I never viewed myself as someone who would be affected by homesickness, as I have been exploring the world for as long as I can remember.

Still, I would be lying if I didn't admit that I spent the first couple of weeks missing the comfort of 'home' and my family. For anyone else thinking about studying abroad but worried about the unpredictability of living somewhere new or being away from family, I would suggest creating a weekly schedule to call/facetime the important people back home. It truly helps. Getting the courage to travel the city, whether with my cohort or by myself, made me appreciate the distance and the opportunity to expand my worldview. So, get out there! Take your time abroad to make the most out of every available opportunity because when else will you be back?

My greatest piece of advice would be to make the most out of each day. Nothing in life is guaranteed, as proven when COVID-19 became a global health issue. My semester-long study abroad quickly turned into a test of adaptability. Within two months, the borders in Australia closed, and flights were canceled last minute and delayed for hours. Tears were spilled, but eventually, I made it back to the U.S. and began the task of transitioning to an online semester abroad. Unfortunately, my time zone was as non-existent as my sleep schedule. Trying to take classes at 3 am (because the 12-hour time difference was not accommodating) and still being present with my family and friends during the day was challenging.

Regardless of how the semester abroad ended, I still remember my time in Australia with great fondness. I will gladly continue to study abroad in the future!

GG Australia with Jennifer Jennings [PUBLIC] by Global Education Office


Apart from my academic obligations, my friends and I explored Western Australia like it was our day job. Here are some of the highlights (and spot recommendations for those interested in Australia):

  • Caversham Wildlife Reserve: Explored the wildlife reserve and interacted with various animals (both native and non-native to Australia). The best was the sheep and goat petting area and the kangaroo feeding area!
  • Fremantle Haunted Prison Tour: While learning the history of Perth’s prison system and the current issues surrounding death row and capital punishment, the tour guides shared stories about some of the infamous inmates that had inhabited the prison as we toured the various units.

    Many prisoners were allowed to paint on the walls of their cells and in the courtyards. The artwork is still visible and is both breathtaking and somber.

  • Fremantle Beach and Art Exhibition: Playing frisbee with my cohort at sunset on the beach will forever be ingrained in my mind! They have an art exhibition in February where the beach houses local artist sculptures for you to enjoy. The Farmer's Market is also a must-see for local cuisine and fresh produce.
  • Penguin Island: Another Island off Perth, Penguin Island, has been reserved as a rescue and rehabilitation center for penguins. You can explore the island's history while also seeing the penguins in the buildings and roaming the beaches.
  • Rottnest Island: When it became evident that we would be sent back to the U.S., my cohort and I decided to spend one of our last days at Rottnest Island. We explored the various beaches and took pictures with the Quokkas (who are known to be very friendly).
Jennifer on Rottnest Island in Western Australia

Author Spotlight

Major Neuroscience with a double minor in Intelligence Studies and Forensic Psychology
Hometown Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Study Abroad Global Gateway Australia
Highlight Visiting Rottnest Island with my cohort and taking pictures with the Quokkas!
Challenge Overcoming the time zone difference once classes were moved to an online formation due to COVID-19 (taking exams at 2am is not a schedule I would recommend).
Favorite Food Perth is known for its cultural diversity, especially when it comes to cuisine and music. Every Thursday the city would set up food trucks and performances to explore!

I want to learn more I want to be featured