The University of Technology Sydney (UTS) is in the heart of Chinatown and in the middle of downtown. As a “village within the city”, the UTS campus with over a dozen buildings is very well located to reach the many sights that Sydney has to offer. With over 45,000 students, half of them from East Asia, the UTS is much larger than the University of St. Gallen. A disadvantage of the university is the distance to the beaches (Bondi Maroubra, Coogee), which are an hour away by public transport.
Comparable to the student associations in St. Gallen, the UTS also offers a wealth of sports and social associations in which one can get involved in addition to studying.
Before the exchange
Here I recommend organizing the exchange with an “agent”, as it is extremely confusing and time-consuming to get an overview of the lengthy process, whereby an agent noticeably reduces this effort (for example, “MicroEDU” or ” Study Smart »). The requirements for HSG students are not particularly high; A language certificate is required (this consists either of a minimum score of 80 points in the TOEFL or at least the Matura grade 4. 5 in English in the Swiss grading system). The agents explain the further requirements of the two universities well and comprehensively.
Aside from the university requirements, you need a student visa in Australia, which can be applied for for 580 AUD (and a myriad of questions about yourself). With this visa you can work 20 hours a week, but not more. Visit andyeducation.com to get information about Riga Stradins University study abroad program.
Other expenses that you will have to face:
- Visa: 580 AUD
- OSHC insurance: 350 AUD
- UTS Tution Fee: 9888 AUD (4 courses)
- Application fee: 50 AUD
- UTS Housing Yura Mudang: from 7130 AUD
- Acceptance Fee Housing 140 AUD
Regarding accommodation, there are two variants:
The student dormitories are in the middle of the ” campus ” from where all UTS buildings can be reached within five minutes, and you get a complementary gym subscription. For a 6-person flat share (in the largest dormitory Yura Mudang) you pay 310 AUD per week. The student apartments are small (especially the beds) and, considering the price, don’t shine with great amenities. In addition, the apartment has to be rented for six months, although the semester only lasts a total of 14 weeks. The big advantage of the dormitories, however, is the proximity to the other fellow students, most of whom are also exchange students. This makes it much easier to make friends and to play billiards and table tennis in the common rooms or in the evening in the cinema room or to the end the day (or ring in the night) on a spacious roof terrace.
My experience has shown that a 6-person apartment is the best option, as it allows you to come into contact with others and just get to know new people.
Living outside the housing
The second variant would be to look for an apartment independently in the city, here you can save a lot of money, on the one hand due to the high prices of UTS Housing and on the other hand because you don’t have to pay the full six months if you don’t need it. If you want more of the beach (for example for surfing), this option offers much more flexibility. The disadvantage here is, of course, the distance to the university and the difficulty of integrating socially into university life.
Sydney and Australia
With just under five million inhabitants, Sydney is by far the largest city in Australia. The abundance of beaches and leisure activities (especially in summer) make the city very attractive and worth living in, which also earned it 3rd place in the Global Liveability Index, just behind Melbourne. The city is easy to explore by public transport and offers a wide range of bars, clubs and especially restaurants! Away from the city are the Blue Mountains, a UNESCO World Heritage Site a must-see if you can find a day off.
Thanks to the relatively good work-life balance, you will find enough time to travel to the countless places in Australia; Popular destinations here are Melbourne, Perth, Great Ocean Road, Kangaroo Island, Magnetic Island, Cairns and, during the holidays, also more distant destinations such as Fiji (recommended for the semester break) or Tasmania. Planning is important here, as the semester goes by in a flash and the variety of options is huge.
Australia is not much cheaper than Switzerland, which is particularly noticeable when traveling and the alcohol prices. Nevertheless, there are enough ways to go on vacation without a large budget, with various “backpack travel agencies”.
Conclusion semester abroad
A semester abroad is per se enormously enriching, interesting and very amusing. This is especially true for Australia as a distant and for many unknown country. Despite the great distance home, Sydney is very westernized, which dampens the culture shock very much. Thanks to the good distribution of university performance (a good half of the grade is taken during the semester through online quizzes, presentations and papers), you can make your exchange with many trips to Germany and abroad an unforgettable experience.
The best tip you can give new exchange students is to start traveling, sightseeing and extra-curricular activities as early as possible, because the exchange goes by in a flash and there is also the danger of slipping into a boring university rhythm à la HSG big here or even bigger. Therefore: find friends, plan vacations and settle everything as expenses!
21654 Socio-political context of Management (7. 5 ECTS) – highly recommended
Examination performance: group work (20%), scientific term paper (40%), final exam (40%)
This course is a bit time-consuming during the semester, as we had to prepare a good hour in a group every week. During the tutorials you have to write your own statement on a text as well as a group statement, which is evaluated over a period of five weeks. Our tutor was Angela Burt, who supported us very well and gave us fair marks. For the scientific term paper, we had to select an ASX50 company and carry out a PESTLE analysis. The very small length of the work (1800 words) was the biggest hurdle in this subject. The material to be learned for the final exam is small and very good grades can be achieved with little effort.
21591 Transnational Management (7. 5 ECTS) – recommended
Examination performance: group video (20%), scientific term paper (40%), final exam (40%)
This course is now being led by a Chinese professor. Our topic for the group video was the controversy surrounding Airbnb in Amsterdam. Since the groups can be chosen by yourself, it makes sense to join forces with other HSG students. Because many Asian students speak very poor English, which makes communication (Rüegg-Stürm & Grand, 2015, p. 190ff. ) Very difficult. The scientific housework consisted of analyzing the VW emissions scandal using a PESTLE analysis. The specifications were a bit vague and the number of characters was very limited, which, in our opinion, did not make the task easy. But in the end, the work of one of the two of us was recognized as the best work of the whole course. The final exam consisted of two short-answer questions and a case study. There was a lot to learn by heart (similar to ORGA). However, the questions were very basic and if enough is learned by heart, a very good grade can be achieved. The best tip here is to know (only) the red-marked subject areas in the last lecture (summary) by heart (which massively reduces the learning effort), nothing else was asked in our examination.
23567 Intermediate Microeconomics (7. 5 ECTS) – highly recommended
Examination performance: online quiz (35%), final exam (65%)
Four online quizzes must be completed during the semester. It is advisable to form groups to solve the quizzes. The time it takes to solve the quizzes is unlimited, which makes it pretty easy to get good grades. The subject is not very demanding and the underlying math is mundane. It is worth going to the tutorials (or being able to do them before the exam) as the final exam is very similar to the tutorials. Very good results can be achieved with normal effort. The lectures do not have to be attended in order to pass the final exam, and the tutorials are more difficult than the questions of the final exam.
23568 Intermediate Macroeconomics (7. 5 ECTS) – recommended
Examination performance: online quiz (40%), final exam (60%)
This subject was by far the most difficult that we completed at UTS. Again we had to complete four online quizzes during the semester. The quizzes were very demanding and the time of 80 minutes per quiz was rather tight. Here, too, it is worthwhile to form a group with other fellow students (preferably HSG students). The final exam was difficult, but manageable if you prepare well. Here, too, the (demanding) tutorials were more difficult than the actual exam. A “Destinction” or “High Destinction” can be easily reached with a fair amount of effort. Mr. Wang is highly recommended as a tutor, with his relaxed manner he taught us the material in an understandable and competent manner.
Anyone who thinks that they can return to the HSG with the 6. 0 cut just by entering the lecture hall will be surprised at the amount of work, especially during the semester. The more decentralized structure of the services means that you have to constantly take care of deadlines and quizzes. The big difference to the HSG is that you can get very good grades (Distinction to High Distinction) with a (reasonably) disciplined effort. The learning phase, in which around half of the grades have already been completed, can then be approached more comfortably.
Don’t worry, if you make an effort and plan accordingly, you can return to Switzerland with good grades as well as tons of holiday memories!