If I Had to Sum up Sancta, I Would Say “Community, Fun, Vibrant”

USA Exchange STudent, Paige Billow, reflects on her time at Sancta

July 2020

Degree: Bachelor of Music (Jazz Performance), University of Denver, Denver, Colorado

Arrived in Australia: July 2019

Departed Australia: December 2019

Road to Sancta

I chose Sydney because it is in such a beautiful and unique location, with beaches, mountains, city, and amazing wildlife right at the doorstep. I chose Sancta because I wanted to be a part of a community of people I could become friends with during my time abroad.

Differences between life in the United States of America and Australia?

I think generally Australian culture is a bit more laid back – everyone is not constantly rushing around with no time to relax or enjoy themselves.

Best things about Sydney

My favourite thing about Sydney was the easy access to both amazing nature and awesome city life. I love nature and wildlife yet found that the city had so many fun things to offer as well.

Best things about Sancta

My favourite thing about Sancta was that it is a community where you can find friends and meet new people. It is more than just a place where you live and sleep.

Vale Dinner Celebrations in the Dining Hall


Standout memories of Sancta

My best memories of Sancta are the simple things like hanging out with friends and new people in the Dining Hall, Octa, and Grad House Rooftop. Enjoying each other’s company, and meeting so many people with different backgrounds was great.

Advice for future international students

My advice would be to pick somewhere to live that can be a community and a place to meet lifelong friends. I got way more out of my study abroad experience because I had that community of people with me.

If a tourist had 24 hours in your home city, what tips and advice would you give them?

I would suggest trying to experience as many different things the city (Park City, Utah) has to offer, not just one or two. Going for a hike in the morning, picking a good restaurant, seeing the town, and exploring the nightlife is all possible to fit into one day.

Moving forward from Sancta

My future plans are a little uncertain at the moment, especially with the global COVID-19 pandemic. I do know that I 100% want to come back to Australia and continue to explore the world.

Homesickness, culture shock and anxiety are common experiences for many international students. How did you manage this aspect of your experience?

I managed this by finding friends I had things in common with. Many were other international students feeling the same thing. Keeping in touch with family more often also helps.

If you could sum up Sancta in a few words, what would you say?

Community, fun, vibrant.

Message for current Sancta residents

Keep striving to make new connections, meet new people, and make new friends. Doing this at Sancta helped me have a really great experience.

Paige (middle) enjoying drinks with friends in Sydney


Read more about Sancta’s international students