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San Diego State University

Dunlay sisters




By Michael Klitzing

While twin sisters Kristen and Kelly Dunlay both chose to study at SDSU, they weren’t necessarily intending to study abroad in the same place.

It just kind of … worked out that way.

Kristen, a kinesiology junior, and Kelly, a hospitality junior, will study this fall at University of Technology, Sydney in Australia. We caught up with both of them to chat about their lifelong fascination with the Land Down Under, their post-program travel plans and why they will definitely not be rooming together.

Probably not, anyway.

Why did you choose to study in Sydney?

Kelly: “Our cousin studied abroad for a semester in Sydney when we were younger, probably in fourth or fifth grade, and she came back and told us all about it. So we were like, 'That's where I want to go when I grow up!’ You always look up to your older cousins."

Kristen: "She was always going on these crazy adventures, going bungee jumping or taking a trip to New Zealand. Personally, I'm not the type to want to go look at things in a museum; I want to be a person who does something. Australia is a place where you can go surfing or snorkeling or hiking, or go see a cool waterfall or rain forest."

So is it outdoor opportunities that you're most excited about?

Kelly: "Yeah, it's like an enhanced San Diego. That's how I like to put it."

What are you most nervous about?

Kristen: "Just being so far from home. You can feel distance. It's not like, 'Oh, I'm not feeling well so I'll just go to the doctor my parents send me to all the time.' You need to figure things out. I'm afraid it'll be so uncomfortable just because I'm not used to everything. You kind of have to start over. But it's definitely a growth experience. It'll be tough at first, but once you get the hang of it, it will be a super cool experience."

Why did you decide to do the program together?

Kristen: "We didn't -- It just happened that way. I actually found the university first. For my major it's super popular to go to Australia because they offer a lot of courses. It just happened to match up for her, as well, with her classes."

Kelly: "We both knew we were going to Australia, we just didn't know where. She happened to find it first, and I thought it was interesting. But when I talked to advisors and other students who had gone, everyone was pointing to the same university. It kind of just worked out."

So are you going to be rooming together?

Kelly: "That's not the plan. I think we're going to be in the same residence hall but we don't want to live together, just so we can get some separation. (laughs) But we said the same thing when we came to SDSU. We decided we’d both live in separate residence halls. But the way it worked out, we kind of made the same friends and ended up in the same group, so we live together now. It could end up the same way."

Does going with someone help relieve some of the anxiety, though?

Kelly: "It's nice that there will at least be one person who you can get lunch with or do something with over the weekend."

But are you treating this more as your own separate experience?

Kristen: "Yeah, but we do plan on traveling together after the semester; going to Thailand and other countries. And actually our parents are going to meet up with us in New Zealand, so we're going to travel together with them. We're over there so we might as well utilize it."

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