Australia is becoming an increasingly popular place to spend a semester abroad, especially for German students. This is also very understandable, as the living and study conditions in Australia are very good. For me, the decision to go to Newcastle was a lot because the university made a very good impression and it is also a partner university of my university in Cologne.
The application process was relatively straightforward (thanks in part to MicroEDU). The acceptance came pretty quickly and I also had all the access data for the university’s online network long before I started studying. So I was able to choose all the courses beforehand and get a good impression. Many of the foreign students have already found accommodation before they arrive but I decided to organize everything on site. That wasn’t really a problem, because the “International Student Support Team” supports you well. The university has a housing exchange on its website, which almost everyone used to find a good apartment. I lived in Newcastle itself and not on campus (which is about 45 minutes by bus from the center). In retrospect, I was very satisfied with this decision, as life in the center is a bit more colorful and you have more options, especially the beach is always close by. As Newcastle has three good beaches, it is not difficult to find an apartment near the sea. It was also particularly important to me to establish contact with the Australians and not just deal with the other “internationals”, it’s definitely easier to do in the city than on campus. I also took special care not to live with Germans, since four months are not a lot of time to improve your English anyway. Visit andyeducation.com to get information about Saint Marys University study abroad program.
The University of Newcastle itself is quite different from a typical German university. The entire campus is built in a beautiful area surrounded by greenery, there are places everywhere to sit in the sun and study on campus. In addition, the university offers the so-called “Student Hubs” everywhere (even in the city), in which workstations, copiers, printers, scanners, etc. are available 24 hours a day. The facilities are excellent everywhere and the support from the staff is always good. You should be able to expect all these advantages with the high tuition fees. The course selection is a bit chaotic at the beginning, but at some point you see through it. The quality of the courses is okay, there are good and bad tutors and boring and exciting courses as usual in the world, but the choice in Newcastle is quite large, so you will definitely find something. The university also offers great leisure activities, for example I went to the Mountaineering Club. The semester fee is only 40 dollars and you can use the climbing hall twice a week and on weekends there are always great trips to the mountains or the sea for climbing, hiking, canoeing, etc.
At the beginning of my semester abroad, I was a bit disappointed with the city of Newcastle as a place to live, as there is no real center as one is used to in Germany. The entire urban area is very spacious and it takes a relatively long time to get somewhere, so a bike is highly recommended. Even if everything is relatively big, the city doesn’t have that many inhabitants and after a certain time I knew where the neighborhoods are where people meet. In retrospect, it was definitely an advantage not to study in a metropolis like Sydney or Melbourne. In 4 months it is difficult to establish good contacts in a huge city. In Newcastle, on the other hand, you just have to go out and meet people. After a while everyone meets at the parties in town and on the buses and trains to the university you always meet familiar faces. Another advantage is the living situation, almost all students live in “share houses” with several people and a lot of space, many also with a large garden for celebrating and barbecuing, in a big city, on the other hand, you often live in a small apartment for more money (at least according to the experiences of some students from Sydney and Melbourne).
During my time in Newcastle, I made a lot of friends and had a lot of fun. The studies were a bit stressful in the meantime, but that was also easy to cope with. I can definitely recommend studying in Newcastle. There are always ups and downs, but all in all a damn good experience and a good time.