The best time of my life!
You are probably still in the decision-making or organization phase when you read this. So first of all: It’s worth it! I also invested a lot of time and nerves when I had to organize everything. Unfortunately, my university has not shown itself to be very helpful, as my preferred university in Australia was not a partner university. So I had to organize everything on my own. Fortunately, Sabine from MicroEDU was always very helpful to me. At this point, many thanks for that, without you I probably wouldn’t have made it.
So and now about my experiences
I wanted to go somewhere warm and where English was spoken, so I was shortlisted for a few countries. It turned out very quickly, however, that I am quite limited in my choice of subjects, as I had to do a project work abroad and that is rarely offered there. So the choice fell relatively quickly on Swinburne University in Melbourne. After everything did not work out as I had planned on my first attempt at short notice, because the courses were not offered as described on the website in the end, I tried again in the next semester. Fortunately, I was accepted a second time and was able to start organizing the rest of the things. In general, it was a lengthy process, especially because the websites of foreign universities are relatively confusing and each university has a different course system. So it is really true that you should plan a relatively large amount of time, especially for this first part. Especially because it ultimately comes down to what you spend your time with during the semester abroad want to spend. Fortunately, at my university you could still change your curriculum within the first two weeks as soon as you had the prerequisites. However, you always have to clarify with the professors at home which courses are to be counted here and which are not. As the grades abroad are weighted a little differently than with us, I would recommend that you discuss with your professor exactly what you have to do for your courses here in Germany. For example, I had to take two courses in Australia for a course here in Germany. This is not only annoying and takes a lot of time, it can also turn out to be really expensive. Generally speaking, Australia is not the cheapest country. Everything is just a lot more expensive and most of my friends had to look for a job there in order to be able to travel afterwards. Visit educationvv.com to get information about University of California Riverside student exchange program.
Now that I had organized everything, my visa arrived on time and I had approval from both my university and the Australian university, I was ready to go. After a very long flight, I arrived in the middle of the night waiting for the pick-up service booked by the university. However, he had forgotten me, as it turned out after 3 hours, so I had to find my way on my own first. After this somewhat bumpy start to my big adventure, I made it to my friends safe and sound. Here I spent my first two weeks exploring the city and trying to find a place to stay to search (www. gumtree. de or on the university website). However, this turned out to be a little more complicated than expected, so I moved straight to a dormitory on campus shortly after the start of the semester. If you can afford it (because it’s not cheaper than ours, but twice as expensive) I would really recommend it to you. Everything takes place on campus and people meet there or take part in some events all the time. The university really has a lot to offer the students and especially in the warm summer months there were some cool things such as an open-air cinema, a concert or free packed lunches.
Especially in the first two weeks, the university organizes a lot for foreign exchange students that should not be missed. This is where the first contacts are made and you get to know both the campus and the city better. In my experience, such an experience stands or falls with the people you meet there. I was very lucky and in the first few days I got to know a lot of people with whom I was able to make ever closer friends during the semester. For example, we spent a few trips, cooking evenings and party nights together.
I had already booked a couple of organized trips to the Great Ocean Road etc. from Germany because I thought that with such a shared experience you would get to know more simple people. But in the end I wouldn’t have needed that. You mustn’t forget that it’s an unfamiliar time for everyone and that everyone is basically in the same situation and just wants to meet nice people to have a good time with. At least that’s the case with me.
After living on campus for a month, I and a friend (with whom I lived there) looked for new accommodation just around the corner from campus. The rest of the time we lived with an Australian and once again had a fantastic time. I can really only recommend it because you get to know the country and the people in a completely different way. In the end we even traveled through the desert together. In general, it is unfortunately the case that you have to do a lot with foreign students, but unfortunately not so much with the Australians themselves. Of course that is also in your own hands. For me it was just that we all had the same goals and wanted to explore a lot of the city and the country. So at the end of the semester we traveled along the east coast together. In general, the study was not very difficult and we didn’t invest a lot of time and effort, besides all the other activities such as the weekly university parties (in Swinburne the parties are all Tuesdays, you should know this when you plan your course).
I took three courses (Event Management (organization of an exhibition), Integrated Marketing Communication (regular papers and a large final project) and Media Project(own project / film)). At first I had a little respect for the foreign language, but that wasn’t a problem at all. Just don’t be shy and just start talking. The rest then arises during this time. At the beginning I sometimes didn’t understand everything, mainly because Australians have a very special accent and especially those who come from the country are really difficult to understand. Most of all I had to nibble on the fact that I couldn’t express everything I thought and that I was always missing vocabulary. But this has gradually subsided, especially if you are not with Germans all the time (who there are in abundance there, by the way), but make friends with people from other countries. This also has a nice side effect,
During this time, I crossed some comfort zones and learned a lot. In the end, I even traveled through New Zealand and Bali all by myself and completed my international experience with a month-long trip through Vietnam with a new friend from Australia. For me it was all in all the best time of my life and I wish you that you will see so many new incredible places, get to know lovely people, have great experiences and have as much fun as I did.
All the best!
- Just book your one-way flight and first see what happens on site. I ended up having to pay twice because I had traveled even longer.
- Find a partner university (everything is much cheaper, e. g. you only pay half for a train ticket).
- Find out in advance about all days off and make a plan of what you want to see. But in the end wait to book and first see who you get to know there.
- Choose a suitable visa (if you want to do an internship or work properly, you need a different visa than the student visa, although you can also work a certain number of hours with this visa).
- Plan enough money, especially the cost of living is extremely expensive.
- If possible, choose courses that do not have a “final exams”, so you still have about one month more to travel.
- Apply for a foreign student loan. Even if you did not get a domestic student loan, the chances are not bad that it will look different for abroad.
- Do not limit yourself to contact with exchange students, but also look for friends among the Australians. It is worth it!
- Sport is a big topic in Australia, so if you are into sport this is the country for you.
- Melbourne is a really beautiful city, but very European. Sometimes I didn’t really realize that I was on the other side of the world because it is also very similar in terms of climate.
- Write a little diary right from the start or cut a film about this time at the end, you forget everything too quickly and something new happens every day that you cannot remember everything at all.
- Buy a mobile phone card in Germany, e. g. from Lycamobil
- Take care of a credit card for abroad in good time, e. g. DKB for students (you can pay with your credit card everywhere there, so pay attention to favorable conditions)
- Many things are already covered by the health insurance of the foreign university, but you should still get additional health insurance abroad.
- Search from home at www. gumtree. de etc. for apartments and arrange viewing appointments. By the way, on this page you will find everything, e. g. also used bicycles etc.
- Take as little luggage as possible. Experience has shown that you buy a lot during this time and you have to take everything back with you and also be able to travel with it. (I ended up with 15 kilos of excess baggage and had to leave some there)
- Many bought a car there and sold it again after their trip through Australia. It can be worth it, but you should be a little familiar with cars and have a little luck selling.
- Jump over your shadow and be open to anything. (I was there a week earlier and asked in the shared Facebook group from the university if anyone else was there. So all the other students already knew me and it was much easier to establish initial contact. )