Chad Kanyer-Study Abroad - Carnegie Mellon University

Chad Kanyer

"I didn't know what I was getting myself into, but I had the time of my life!"
"Never leaving America, you think that other countries are so different and they have so many different values.  It's not true.  When you meet people from different countries, you realize how much you have in common." 

Meet Chad Kanyer...

Chad grew up just outside Seattle, Washington.  He came to Carnegie Mellon University to study Business and Marketing.  The fall semester of 2008 would forever change Chad's life due to his study abroad experience at Bond University in Gold Coast, Australia.

Before He Went

Chad had always heard that studying abroad was an amazing experience that would get him out of his comfort zone and help him learn a lot about himself.  He never quite understood what this meant until he went and experienced it for himself.

Arrival to Australia

Before landing in Australia, Chad anticipated that he'd see 100 kangaroos.  Instead, Chad found that Australia was very urbanized.  He found that people in the airport were very helpful. The sincerity and warmth of the people of Australia was a wonderful surprise to Chad.  He quickly grew comfortable with the people and the beauty of Bond University.

Living in Australia

Chad was very excited to get to the university and meet people from different countries.  He found that he quickly became close with many people, with whom he still continues to keep in contact.  Many of the students at Bond were international students, like Chad, and this seemed to ease his transition. Many other students wanted to travel and explore the country, so Chad and his friends would get their work done during the day so they could explore at night!

Chad found Australia to be similar to America in many ways.  The biggest difference that he found was their philosophy of life.  He reports that Australians seem to be much more casual in their lifestyles.  Chad observed that Australians have a lot of fun in being laid back and going with the flow.  Australians were very outgoing and inviting to Chad.  They wanted to learn more about him and the life that he lived in the United States.  With these new friends, Chad found himself engaging in conversations that helped him realize that people are much more similar than he thought they were.

Chad found the education system at Bond University to be different than Carnegie Mellon's.  It was more personal, for example, you didn't have to raise your hand in class since it was more open and inviting.  In terms of grading, Chad said that a large portion of his grade came from how one answered questions and participated in classroom discussion.  He found that there were fewer tests.  However, he felt that he was still challenged in this different style of education.

When asked about culture shock, Chad responded, "The only shock was, ‘Why don't I live here all of the time?!" "I don't even know what cultural shock is... I was so relaxed in Australia because it was a lot like home, other than the people were more laid back." 

However, Chad had a lot to say about reverse culture shock, "I think Australia gave me a new perspective on everything.  People really enjoy themselves and they don't care how much money they make.  They care about people and conversations and relationships more.  I got back and thought about how America is a consumer's world.  It was hard to get back into Carnegie Mellon student mode."

The highest point for Chad was when he went sky-diving over the Great Barrier Reef-  it was the biggest rush he has ever experienced.  Another fond memory is when he went on a three day boat cruise around the Great Barrier Reef.  While on the cruise, they stopped on little islands, where they hiked trails and played football in the whitest sand he's ever seen.  Chad reports, "I was on a natural high the whole time I was in Australia."

Looking Back on His Experience...

When he came home, he developed a sense that the U.S. lives to work.  He felt sad and missed the friendly atmosphere of Australia.  However, he was very excited to see his family and dogs, as well as come back with a tan.  Looking back, Chad realized that he is forever changed from his study abroad experience.  Not only has he picked up on Australian sayings ("heaps of fun", "no worries", and "cheers"), but also he says that his view of the world has changed. 

Chad developed a "we're all in this together" mentality and understands that people are very much alike, no matter where they're from.  Studying abroad also helped alleviate the stress that Chad was experiencing before studying abroad and it enabled him to become more easy-going and develop a brighter sense of himself and others.  By not allowing the work load to get to him, Chad finds himself more excited to learn.

To those who plan to study abroad, Chad has a couple words of advice: "Buy a really cool digital camera.  Don't worry about getting your friends to come with you... It limits you from meeting new people because you never really leave your comfort zone.  Just get ready to open yourself up to a million new things.  Don't be judgmental.  When you leave America, really leave America!  Don't bring all of your obligations."

Chad Kanver

Chad Kanyer
Business Administration - Marketing
Gold Cost, Australia
Fall 2008