Australia Studies Program Experience

Matt Johnson 

Matt Johnson Communications Theatre Profile

I had the privilege of spending last semester in Sydney, Australia.  I studied at Wesley Institute, a small but well known arts school, including such departments as theatre, music, dance, and graphic design.  During the semester, the program took us everywhere from downtown Sydney, to Canberra (the capital of Australia), to back o' Bourke (in the Outback), and finished off the semester with a week in New Zealand.

Aside, from that, we were able to take lots of weekend trips, hiking, camping, staying at Aussie friends' houses, hanging out in the city, going to rugby games, spending afternoons at the beach... I spent spring break on an island off the coast of northern Australia and went snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef. 

I really can't even come close to expressing what all I was able to do with my semester, so I'm just going to tell one bit of it.  As part of a class that I took at Wesley, I had the opportunity to both help write a script for and be a part of an Easter Production.  I was given the opportunity to play the part of Jesus, and not only performed at Wesley Mission, but also outdoors in Martin Place in downtown Sydney, in which I dragged a full size cross through the streets of Sydney.  It was an amazing experience, not just physically and mentally as an actor, but spiritually as a Christian, to go through some small piece of the pain and suffering and rejection that Jesus went through, and to try to understand what He was going through.

The experiences and opportunities that I had through my semester abroad were absolutely invaluable and life-changing.  Within the program and at the university, I was able to meet a number of people and establish some amazing friendships, many of whom I still keep in contact with, and to learn and grow academically, culturally, and spiritually.  I wouldn't trade my semester in Australia for anything, and highly recommend taking a semester abroad to anyone and everyone.

 Thank you, and as the Aussies would say:  Cheers, mate.