Andrew Broderick (B.S. human physiology ’16) studied abroad in Newcastle, Australia, as an undergraduate student at the University of Iowa. Now in the doctor of physical therapy program at the University of Iowa, Broderick took a break from his studies to share information about his study abroad experience, as well as advice for current UI students considering study abroad.
How did you decide to study abroad at the University of Newcastle in Australia?
My dad didn’t get a chance to travel very much, so he encouraged me to check out study abroad opportunities. I visited the Study Abroad office, browsed pamphlets, and met with my study abroad advisor, Kerby Boschee. As a human physiology major, I liked that the University of Newcastle is really strong in the health sciences. I took a cognitive psychology course and a biostatistics course. I gained a lot of knowledge and experience from them. I was also drawn to the outdoor-driven nature of Australia. The natural beauty offered a lot of opportunities for me to further my photography hobby, and I looked forward to opportunities to hike, travel, and camp.
What are some of your favorite memories from your study abroad experience?
The people I met were just absolutely incredible. It was fun to meet people with very different backgrounds and upbringings. Early on, I went to a club fair and signed up for every program I could, including an exploration society. Through the exploration society, I met friends who also love the outdoors and we were able to travel throughout the territory.
What did you gain as a result of studying abroad?
I gained self-confidence and became more open-minded. I also became more comfortable with myself as a person—knowing it’s “okay” to be uncomfortable. My interest in photography was strengthened, as was my desire to travel. Now, I take every free chance to travel and capture the beauty of the world. I’ve been able to visit South Africa, England, and Ireland.
I promised myself that I would travel to the Lofoten Islands in northern Norway if I got accepted to the UI doctor of physical therapy program. I’m happy to say that both of these things happened!
Any advice you’d like to share for current UI students considering study abroad?
My advice to UI students considering study abroad would be to stop considering, step outside of your comfort zone, and to go for it. From an academic perspective, the first thing you need to do is to pull out your academic transcript and search for what classes you still need to take in order to graduate at the time you desire to. If you are considering graduate school, you need to look at what are the requirements for the pre-requisite courses of the graduate program. Do foreign credits satisfy those requirements? If not – look at the general education requirements you haven’t satisfied yet. From a personal perspective, studying abroad was one of the most important life-changing experiences of my life. Yeah, you’ll be taking classes, but you’re going to learn so much more about yourself and about life that absolutely cannot be taught in a classroom. I experienced that there is no better way to help yourself grow and become more confident in yourself as an individual than by stepping outside of your comfort zone. I experienced how to communicate with a myriad of people whose backgrounds differed very much from that of my own. I truly gained an appreciation for the beauty that’s found in different areas of the world. I attribute so many of the doors that have been opened for me to my study abroad experience and the lessons I learned during that time. So, my advice is to just do it – step outside of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. You’ll never regret it.