CENet Study Abroad Scholarship: Cassie Doster

The Global Training Initiative is proud to announce the launch of the Cultural Exchange Network (CENet) Study Abroad Scholarship. The GTI plans on awarding up to 2 scholarships of $1,000 each year.

The first recipient of the CENet Study Abroad Scholarship was Cassie Doster, a rising senior who is majoring in Biological Sciences. Doster attended Monash University in Melbourne, Australia for the Spring 2015 semester.

doster_oz1Here is a summary of the experience in her own words:

“I have been taking Latin, Ecology, Genetics, and a course called Exploring Contemporary Australia. For Ecology, we went on a field trip to a rocky shore to collect data for a project and I was able to see some unique aquatic wildlife. My Exploring Contemporary Australia class has really helped me to learn many things about Australia that I would not have known other wise. We have explored a local suburb, gone to the art museum and a museum on aboriginal culture. We have explored aboriginal culture quite a bit, and I have been surprised to find that most Australians I know  have never learned much about it at all. We have also discussed many other topics such as Australian media, regional identities, multiculturalism, religion, mining and trade, and power and class. We have been focusing on how all of these things come together to help Australian’s create ‘a sense of place’. I really feel as if I understand more about Australia and the people that live here because of this class.”

 I began my study abroad experience with a two week trip to New Zealand. My roommate and I rented a car and drove around the South Island for 14 days. We had an amazing time and did mostly outdoor activities such as hiking. Some of the highlights were the city of Queenstown and the mountains surrounding it, hiking Mount Alfred and the Copland track to geothermal hot pools, kayaking in Milford sound (even though it snowed in the middle of summer while we were there!), finding glow worms in a cave, going to Tunnel Beach, and seeing penguins, sea lions, and many, MANY sheep.

While the best part about New Zealand was the nature, the best part of Australia has been the people (though it is beautiful too!). I am living in the residence halls, which has allowed me to get to know both local and international students. The first two weeks were orientation, and we did many fun things to get to know each other and the area. We went to the Queen Victoria night markets, had an amazing race and looked at street art in the city of Melbourne, and played some fun games such as an ‘Olympics’. During these two weeks I also went to the beach and to Philip Island nature preserve and to see the native animals.

For the Easter break I went home with an Australian friend who lives in rural Victoria. It was really nice to be in the ‘bush’ and to see how people really live. They were extremely nice and even got me a chocolate bilby for Easter. I got to see some farmland and more wildlife such as a huntsman spider and sulfur-crested cockatoos. We also went to a nice little old mining town for one day and then went hiking at Wilson’s Promontory on the coast another day, which was really beautiful. I also tried my first proper meat pie at the local bakery. We then headed back to Melbourne so I could meet some friends to go on a road trip on the Great Ocean Road. We saw some wild koalas, the twelve apostles, and some beautiful scenes all along the southern coast of Australia.


I recently went on a trip to Sydney for the long weekend. I saw the classic icons such as the opera house and harbor bridge. We also went hiking in the Blue Mountains for the day and walked along the coast from Bondi to Coogee beach. We had a great time exploring the city, despite the fact that it rained all weekend.”

The GTI encourages all CENet members to apply for the scholarship. Visit the Study Abroad website for more information.