Studying a semester abroad offers many opportunities for adventure, including activities you love doing at home. As an avid outdoor adventurer, the mountains of Colorado called Bachelor of Business and Bachelor of Economics student Tim Harmsen. Tim answered their call by undertaking a semester study abroad at Colorado State University in 2019.

Tim’s adventurous spirit is what lead him to the slopes of Colorado, where he began the adventure of a lifetime. What he didn’t expect to find however were incredible friendships and immense personal growth.

“Colorado has some of the world’s best mountain biking, snowboarding, hiking, climbing etc. in the world. It is renowned as the adventure capital of America, and this single statement caused an immediate attraction to the square landlocked US Midwest state,” said Tim.

“Upon hearing stories from people about Colorado and watching countless YouTube videos about the snow and university life in the states I decided I would never forgive myself should I not take the opportunity to go on exchange in Colorado.

“The entire experience has seemingly molded into one unforgettable incredible experience with so many highlights in between.”

Six of Tim’s highlights include:

  • Seeing Florence and the Machine perform at Red Rocks Amphitheatre.
  • Snowboarding world-class soft and dry knee-deep powder at Park City, Utah.
  • The entire six-week road trip at the end of the semester. Namely Yosemite and Alaska, but the whole thing was just so incredible.
  • Downhill Mountain biking for 3 days at Whistler, Canada. That place more than lives up to its hype.
  • The CSU undie run. A mass group jog around the CSU campus with around 5,000 CSU students all wearing nothing but their undies. An experience so outlandish yet amazing that words cannot explain it.
  • 4th July rock climbing/camping trip in Rocky Mountain National Park.

“On weekends we would hire a Ford pickup truck, they’re insanely fun to drive and affordable. Most weekends we would go skiing, however other weekend adventures included; road trip to Utah twice, mountain biking trips, NBA & ice hockey games in Denver, and other trips to Denver to see bands or DJ’s.

“We went skiing at Whistler, Canada, on Spring Break which was fantastic. At the end of the semester, five of us embarked on six weeks of road-tripping from San Francisco to Alaska visiting some incredible places along the way; Yosemite National Park, Lake Tahoe, Lava Beds National Monument, Crater Lake, Bend, The Redwoods National Park, Portland, Colchuck Lake, Seattle, Vancouver Island, Mt. Denali, and Alaska.


“This was an incredible experience I will never forget,” said Tim.

Going on exchange isn’t just about the adventure, it’s also about creating a home and friendships that last a lifetime from all over the world.

When Tim moved to Colorado, he truly found his home away from home. The supportive culture of the university meant that Tim had no problem building a new exchange family on the other side of the world, a perfect group to explore and adventure with. 

Don’t hold back, just launch in and you’ll be amazed how easy it is to make new mates.

“My main social group was the other CSU exchange students. This was great as I met other people from America, India, Germany, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. Because everyone is essentially in the same boat as you, they are generally keen to do whatever and always wanting to go out and see more things, which is really motivating.”

Tim knew that going on exchange might be a risk, but one that would have tremendous payoffs.

“I knew that I would enjoy it, but on the off chance I didn’t like being on exchange or I couldn’t handle it, there was always the option to come back to the University of Tasmania and look back upon an undoubtedly fun yet short-lived adventure.

“As predicted, however, it was by far and away the single best decision I ever could have made. The only problem being that I elected to do one semester and not two!

“The places I’ve been and the people I’ve met have taught me things that really cannot be taught you in school. Exchange provides you with firsthand, pristine quality life experience; something employers consider nearly as important as your academic qualifications.

Completing exchanges proves you have what it takes to deal with adversity, overcomes issues and enjoy and celebrate the good times for all they’re worth.

Being on the job hunt now will be less of a dreaded process and more of a chance to show off the shiny life skills I’ve learnt over the past six months.

These memories I’ll take with me to the grave as the best I’ve ever had.

Learn more about our Learning abroad opportunities.