DAIMEN SAGASTUME - STUDENT PROFILE
Stanford in Australia, Autumn 2015-16
Major: Biology (with Minor in Education)
College year while abroad: Junior
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS WITH DAIMEN
Why did you choose to study in Australia?
I really wanted an outdoor experience with hiking and snorkeling, which I definitely got. I think that the Australia abroad program is unique in that it puts you in such remote locations that you never would've gone to on your own (e.g. Heron Island in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef or Chillagoe--a tiny town in the Outback). Moreover, I love that the program gives you the opportunity to move from location to location instead of staying in the same city for 10 weeks.
What were your expectations before you went and how did they change once you were in Australia?
I thought that Australia was full of deadly creatures that were going to kill me! It turns out it's no more dangerous than California with rattlesnakes and black widows.
What were some of the academic benefits from studying abroad in Australia?
I really loved the opportunity to learn about corals, rainforests, and other ecosystems that I would've never been able to study had I not gone to Australia. It was great getting out of my comfort zone and tackling important topics taught by leading experts in the field.
What did you learn about yourself while studying abroad?
I will forever be grateful for the opportunity that Australia gave me to truly contemplate my life and ponder the thoughts and decisions I had made at Stanford during the years before. I learned what my true passions were in Australia and what I wanted to pursue for a career, which really was life-changing.
What was the most challenging experience you encountered while abroad and what did you learn from it?
Not having good coffee! I learned that you have to adjust to what's available and make the most of it; don't let the little things get you down!
What was the biggest cultural adjustment you had to make?
Surprisingly none. Because Australia is somewhat of a mix between the UK and the US, my everyday experiences seemed more familiar than not.
What was your favorite part of everyday life?
Waking up in absolutely incredible locations, whether Heron Island in the GBR or Wetherby Station in the rainforest. Literally everywhere we went, there was always something new to explore, something new to discover.
What was the most memorable experience you had while in Australia?
Snorkeling with turtles, spotted eagle rays, sharks, and thousands of fish all at once on Heron Island.
What 5 words would you use to describe the experience?
What was your favorite food?
TIM TAMS. Hands down.
What was the most valuable item you took on the program?
GoPro. If you're on the fence about buying one, just do it. I promise you won't regret it.
What was your favorite music/band you discovered in Australia?