I got the idea to spend a semester abroad through an event at my home university.
After attending 2 further information events, I came into contact with MicroEDU. com, through whose website I later came across the best university in Melbourne, ” Swinburne University “.
Application process and funding:
All in all, the application process involves a LOT of paperwork, which can be very tiring after a while.
For the financing of my international project I was dependent on external funding.
I could count on being accepted for BAföG abroad, but I also applied for a semester scholarship at the DAAD. Visit educationvv.com to get information about University of California Berkeley student exchange program.
These probably take up the majority of the work, whereas the application to the university mainly consists of a language test and a letter of motivation.
Foreign BAföG applications should be submitted at least 6 months in advance to the BAföG office in Marburg. (It is advisable to ask for a discount when applying to the university, because proof of at least one such request is required)
The application to the DAAD is much more extensive, where, among other things, detailed reports from professors are required.
In the end, it came down to pure BAföG support for me.
This consisted of approx. € 650 per month plus € 4500 tuition fees and € 1000 flight surcharge.
Nothing is paid in advance, which means that you have to watch how you can cover all the costs, as the money is reimbursed proportionally over the months.
International students have to pay quite high tuition fees, in semester 1 in 2010 I had tuition fees of around 9200 AUD. With such sums, the exchange rate plays a major role.
I started my semester abroad planning more than a year in advance, when the exchange rate was still 1 € ~ $ 2. When paying the tuition fees this was 1: 1. 6.
Later during my studies it fell to 1: 1. 4, so life was very expensive.
Booking a flight early can save a lot of money, but it requires careful planning. It is also highly recommended, depending on the time, to make one or more stops (stop-over flight).
These usually don’t even cost more, you see interesting countries and it’s also much more relaxed because nobody wants to voluntarily sit on a plane for more than 20 hours.
I flew off 2 weeks before the start of the semester.
I flew from Düsseldorf to London, where my main flight took off a few hours later.
This was: London – Dubai (2 days) – Kuala Lumpur (1 hour) – Melbourne
And return flight: Melbourne – Bangkok (2 weeks) – Dubai (1 hour) – London
For a total of about 1200 €.
As you can read in every other experience report:
NEVER RENT AN APARTMENT IN ADVANCE!!
Above all, do not have access to the student residences, they are grossly overpriced and anything but large and comfortable. The advantage, however, is that you have a different student life there, especially in the on-campus apartments, which can be quite fun.
On the other hand, the campus is not in the city (CBD), like most other universities in Melbourne, but in Hawthorn (Glenferrie Station), about 10-20 minutes away by train.
The Melbourne housing market is TOUGH! Little supply, high demand = HIGH PRICES!
I have already selected a few nice advertisements in Germany and I had the expectation that I would find an apartment in 2-3 days.
In the end I was in a hostel for 2 weeks until I luckily found an apartment (because I was the first to contact you).
By the way, a highly recommended hostel is “Vic Hall” on Russel st.
Very centrally located, so that I could see a lot of the city during this time and have convinced myself that this is the place where I want to live.
It is also one of the few hostels in Australia with a full-size locker, where you can safely wear out all your belongings (take your own lock with you!).
The CBD (Central Business District) is quite small (approx. 800m x 1200m) which makes it difficult to find an apartment in this area, but which is “the place to be”!
St. Kilda is also a lively area, mostly for parties.
My apartment was an apartment on the corner of Dudley St and King Street, a walk to the center and about 20 minutes by train from the campus.
With an Australian roommate, I paid $ 240 a week rent + around $ 200 in utilities in the end.
Before the semester begins, there is an introductory week.
It is compulsory to appear on the first day, as this is where the registration expires.
You get a lot of information and everyone is happy to help you.
During this week, the local student association SAAA is offering free lunch every day. There were fried noodles, hot dogs, waffles with ice cream, etc.
There were about 150 “Study Abroad & Exchange” students during my semester, of which about 50 are from the USA and another 50 from Germany.
Study Abroad and Exchange (exchange with partner university) are not treated equally.
There is a “Concession Card”, which means a 50% discount on public transport, only for Exchange students.
But it is worth trying anyway because no particular attention is paid to it, because it worked for me;-)
My studies and courses
As a mechanical engineering student, I took the following courses:
- HES1300 Robotics & Mechatronics: Project 1
- HIR505 Robotics in Manufacturig
- HES2340 Fluid Mechanics 1
- HAS 100 Sociology
Although I voted out the latter after 2 weeks, because it was clearly too much for me to read (and look up words).
Robotics & Mechatronics: Project 1 consists of 50% technical drawing, which goes into much more detail with sketching and drawing by hand than I was used to from Germany. The other 50% are C programming.
Robotics in Manufacturig: Has clearly the fewest weekly hours (~ 1. 5) and initially very vague. 50% partner work on a project and 50% final exam.
Fluid Mechanics: Fluid Mechanics. 4 tests and 2 assignments, which are very simple, make up 35% of the final grade, 65% make the final exam, which should, however, be taken seriously.
Overall, I would say that the course is much easier than in Germany, but there is more to do during the semester and mostly attendance is compulsory (!).
Since the university has significantly more money (due to the very high tuition fees, especially due to the high proportion of international students) than most German universities, the ratio of lecturers / students is significantly better.
Sometimes they even remember your name very quickly and you sometimes exchange a few words if you run into each other on campus.
The university offers a wealth of leisure activities, be it in the form of associations, clubs or simply participating in the fitness studio.
Particularly recommendable, especially at the beginning, are the excursions from “The REAL Experience” (therealexperience. com. au). These are specially designed for international students, so you can make new friends quickly.
On Wednesdays there is pizza “all you can eat” at lunchtime for $ 3, if you get involved and listen to a few Christian stories / experiences (not that boring at all and you get to know people well).
There is always a lot going on on campus. One day they built a ramp out of artificial snow and drove over it with snowboards (SNOW in Melbourne!!).
Very important to mention: FACEBOOK! Without it, nothing works here, so be sure to create an account.
Washing machines are 99% garbage in Australia, so expect that your clothes are hardly usable for going out after a few washes.
Most people in Australia speak clear English, but there are also many with a strong “Australian accent”, which are sometimes more difficult to understand than Asians with poor English.
Allow enough time (and even more MONEY) for travel after the semester. I was on the road for 3. 5 weeks and that was far too little!
These 4 months in Melbourne and the remaining weeks in Australia were the best time of my life and I don’t regret it in any way!
Australia is a great country and I can only recommend everyone to have this experience for themselves.