Exactly one week from today I will begin a journey in and out of airports. The final leg, a 14-hour flight, will ultimately deliver me to Sydney, Australia. Here I will spend three days acclimating myself to Australian culture, and getting prepared for my semester abroad. My program, the Institute for Study Abroad through Butler University, has appropriately planned an engaging introduction to Australia in its capital city. I will then continue on to Griffith University, located in Gold Coast, Queensland, where I will reside until I return to the Midwest in December.

But I should first introduce myself. My name is Emily Atmore. I am a junior at the University of St. Thomas and this semester I will be studying (and adventuring) in Gold Coast, Australia.

I am from Minnetonka, Minnesota and graduated from Hopkins High School in 2011. I attended the University of Montana my freshman year, and then transferred to UST in order to pursue a degree in business. Although I often get blank stares when I mention that I will be studying accounting, I have found my niche in this area and believe it will be beneficial in my future endeavors, which include law school.

In addition to my academic pursuits, I am an avid photographer. I plan to take full advantage of the beautiful coastline and bush land of Australia, capturing and writing about it all here on this blog. I am also interested and active in politics, and I am thrilled to learn an international perspective of the United States while studying abroad.

Gold Coast is located just one hour south of Brisbane, in the state of Queensland, on Australia’s eastern coast. It is a popular tourist destination and I am told it boasts some of the most beautiful coastline in the world. During my 5 months in paradise, I will be studying various business courses, but I am most excited about my “Australian Literature and History” course. It is a unique opportunity to learn about the history and culture of my host country from within the country itself. To add authenticity, it is likely that my professor will be a native Australian, with, yes, an Australian accent. 

I have always been curious about the land down under, but more in the sense of a dream vacation destination rather than a residential reality. However, after years of talk and months of planning, here I am one week away from departing for this dream world that I will soon call my home. It seems surreal. And then I remember that my “pre-Australia to-do list” is dwindling and I see my suitcases sprawled all over my bedroom floor and in fact it all becomes very real. 


(Photo courtesy of and copyright to Tourism Queensland)

The Gold Coast. (Photo courtesy of and copyright to Tourism Queensland)

 The journey continues.