The location of Arizona provided for a great cultural experience, as I was able to travel a few hours up north with my friends and be on the beaches in California, or travel an hour up the mountains nearby to watch it snow. The extremes of the climate were unbelievable, and were a lot of fun to experience as I have never seen snow before. I didn’t think I’d see snow in Arizona for my first time. It was still warm enough to be in the pool in December (middle of winter), and I had the opportunity to make many new friends through the many pool parties which were held at the apartment complex. Through the new friends I made, I was also able to experience the professional sports leagues, where I was able to attend NBA and MLB games, which is my favourite aspect of American Culture therefore was truly an amazing experience.
The biggest expense incurred was rent for accommodation, which ended up being around $800 a month for 5 months. This was definitely more than expected, however the convenience of its location was well worth it. Other expenses included general expenses such as food and utilities and internet costs which were very cheap. If I was looking to travel anywhere out of walking distance, I was required to take a taxi as I did not own a car in the USA and the public transport system was very basic, therefore did not cater to locations other than the campus. I believe that was the issue I disliked the most, and recommend future students to make friends with students who have cars so they can avoid that cost.
Food in supermarkets were a lot cheaper than Australia – almost half the price. Take-away was significantly cheaper than Australia too therefore I was able to live very comfortably. Season tickets for football and basketball were $150, and something I recommend strongly because it was such a unique experience. I spent more money than I expected as I had the opportunity to travel frequently and experience much of the American Culture I love. I recommend students set aside money for music and sports tickets, and even entertainment events such as going to the movies was almost a third of the price as Australia where adult tickets were seven dollars. The scholarship I received from QUT helped out significantly as it helped to pay for accommodation and also the school textbooks I was required to buy.