Isabella Amico (USA)

USA international student Isabella ‘Bella’ Amico is ticking off some huge goals during her time as a study abroad student at JCU. Not only is she studying neuroscience and immersing herself in student life, but she also had the opportunity to compete in international ski competitions.

“My home university, St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York, has a study abroad partnership with JCU. I have always wanted to experience Australia, so studying here was an easy transition.”

“I wanted to get out of the American bubble and experience a different culture.

“All of the Australians I have met have been so kind, free-spirited, and genuinely hilarious which has made my time here unforgettable.”

When Bella isn’t attending classes, studying for her exams, or exploring Townsville, she is training to maintain her ski fitness, which paid off at a recent ski competition.

Bella Amico in action on the slope at the competition in New Zealand.

“I recently competed in the Australian/New Zealand Continental Cups and New Zealand National Championship alpine ski races hosted at Coronet Peak.

“I started skiing when I was two, was racing at seven, and since then it's really been my outlet and passion.

“I currently ski race for university on the NCAA Division 1 collegiate circuit in the USA, and I hope I can continue onto a professional path in the future.”

Pursuing both her studies and her athletic pursuits is a juggling act, and Bella said the support she has received at JCU has been great.

“I'm really grateful for how extremely supportive JCU has been throughout my races. Both the JCU student support staff and my professors have been so catering to my absence and are available if I need help.

“Coronet Peak was undeniably one of the toughest ski hills I've ever raced on. It was a proper race hill with a slick, icy surface, and huge rolls that I actually caught a bit of air off.

Bella attending with friends a North Queensland Cowboys NRL game at the Queensland Country Bank stadium in Townsville.

“It opened my eyes to the opportunities of my sport on the opposite side of the world. If I wasn't at JCU I don't think I would've had the chance to race in NZ, so I'm extremely grateful for JCU's support.”

Some other memorable moments from Bella’s time at JCU and in Australia include obtaining her Open Water Diving certification off Magnetic Island, scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef, and making friends from all over the world.

With plans to pursue studies and a career in medicine or neurology research in the future, for now, Bella said she will keep studying neuroscience and pursue alpine ski racing professionally. She only has one message for future international students thinking about studying abroad at JCU – just do it!

“There are a lot of unique experiences that you won't be able to have anywhere else in the world. There are so many study options, for example, I'm studying neuroscience, but I'm able to take marine biology and history classes. You won't regret your decision.”