An Electrifying Experience in Germany : The After

The university offered an intensive German course which spanned the entire month. It prepared me enough to make actual German friends, during classes, sport training, parties and various other situations. It also enabled me to take (and pass) a technical subject in German – I was quite shocked to realise during the first class that it wasn’t actually taught in English, as I had presumed! April then saw the beginning of summer, as well as the summer Semester. The sun seemed to materialize just in time for it to deserve its title.

Throughout the semester, I attended classes four days a week and travelled around Northern Germany on the long weekends with other exchange and German friends. Some of the locations I visited during this time were Cologne, Frankfurt, Berlin, Munster, Dortmund, Essen, Bielefeld, Hamm, Bonn, Kassel and Dusseldorf. I learnt a lot about the history of these places, much of which had to do with World War 2 bombings.

During the days that I spent at uni, I would catch up with friends for lunch in “der Mensa”, a giant cafeteria which served both lunch and dinner. Additionally in the evenings, there would be all sorts of social events, whether parties (uni organised and dorm based), movies, bowling, eating out or just hanging out at any random location.

What education concerns, I found the technical engineering courses well-taught and the content also very interesting. They were however quite challenging, given that the English-taught subjects were from the Electrical Engineering Masters program and the German-taught subjects were, well, taught in German. The advice I would give to future students wishing to study in Germany is:

  • Be involved in all organized social events, especially in the first few weeks, as this is the easiest way to make many friends from all over the world (i.e. other exchange students).
  • Make the effort to learn some German, as this will extend your opportunities and enrich your experience with German people.
  • Study Abroad and Exchange Office, QUT International  email: exchange@qut.edu.au Page 2
  • Travel on every free day you have – there is so much to see in Germany alone, and it can be done cheaply if you do so in a group.
  • Keep an open mind, avoid stressing and enjoy yourself!

 Jonathon Petrie,University of Paderborn

An Electrifying Experience in Germany : The Before

Before I even started my Electrical Engineering degree at QUT, I had my mind set on studying abroad in Germany. This decision was primarily motivated by the following factors:

  • I wanted to live in a location which was central to many other European countries, so that I would be able to travel as I studied.
  • I wanted to receive an exposure to new cultures, become independent, have fun, etc!
  • I wanted to experience life and study in a new language (I had been learning German).
  • Germany is a world leader on the engineering front and provides a high quality of tertiary education in this field.
  • Germany is one of the few countries in the world which have made a significant investment in renewable energies; an area which I want to pursue in my career.
  • I have a general interest in German culture and history.

As the German university semesters don’t line up with Australia, I took the opportunity to travel around Europe for the first few months of the year. I backpacked with some friends to 10+ countries in Europe, where I got to see and explore world-renowned sites and experience cultures which both shocked and thrilled me. Although I was told that it is more pleasant to travel Europe in summer, I’m quite pleased that I got to brave the harsh European winter; as the sites, atmosphere and temperature are aspects I’ll never experience in Australia. It also meant that I could travel cheaper and more spontaneously, due to it being low season.

Then came my exchange. At the beginning of March I moved into my dorm in the small German city, Paderborn.

Jonathan Petrie, University of Paderborn

Life In Canada

Spending my Australian summer semester in a Canadian winter was definitely an experience I will never forget. When you come home you realise that our winter is officially ‘not cold’. Living in the Queen’s student ghetto also meant that I was only ever a few streets away from any one of my friends & I was also super fortunate to get along really well with my housemates.

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St Paddy’s Day is a crazy event / day at Queens. There are a lot of house parties & social events which occur throughout the day, along with a lot of street gathering. Its like a see of green. & nothing says its St Paddy’s day in Canada like keeping your beer keg cold in the snow combined with a house against house snowball fight in the backyard. IMG_6700IMG_6718

During winter Canada also presents you the opportunity to undertake a few tourist like past times which you would never really get to experience in Australia.

Like:
Going to see an ice hockey game. This I absolutely recommend, it was an awesome experience. It can be anything from your local game to an NHL game.

(Below picture: Toronto Maple Leaves vs Ottawa Senators)

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Build a snowman. Probably the most fun I have ever had with frozen water. I was super proud of my accomplishment. His name is Sebastian 🙂

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Go ice skating. In Kingston the local council flatten out sections of snow in the parks and in the town square to be used as ice skating rinks. So whether you borrow a friends or find a pair second hand, it is a must do winter activity that you shouldn’t miss.

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Be open to new experiences, throw yourself into your surrounding culture & don’t forget to just have fun!!! 😉

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Exploring the Great North!

Canada is a vast country its hard to pin point the areas to explore whilst on exchange in this awesome country.

For me, I started with the known areas which surrounded Queens University on the East Coast of Canada.

Montreal

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This is such a beautiful city!

So much culture, beautiful architecture (especially Old Montreal) and awesome food.

Climbing to the top of Mount Royal will give you a spectacular view of this breath taking city.

Ottawa

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In a way can be compared to our Canberra. There is the parliament house, the canal, lots of museums and BEAVERTAILS (to eat – like a cross between a doughnut & a churro).

Ottawa is a lovely quant city & I definitely recommend visiting and having a look around.

Toronto

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Dubbed the ‘mini’ New York of Canada there is a lot to see in this city. There is Rodgers centre if you’re looking to catch a game, the CN tower to view Toronto from a birds eye view & Yonge-Dundas square. There are also lots of shopping opportunities and great restaurants.

After my semester was over the opportunity to see the West Coast of Canada came along. I had always wanted to see the turquoise lakes that you see when your ‘Google Images’ Canada.

Vancouver

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This is another great Canadian city. The amazing restaurants who all serve wonderful food, the suspension bridge & tree top walk & Stanley park are just a few things to do and see.

Whistler

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In winter, this is a skiers paradise. In summer there is extreme BMX riding, a lovely quaint little village & some awesome night life. There are a lot of recreational activities such as canoeing, bungie jumping, zip lining & much much more.

Jasper & Banff

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These are amazing national park areas!!!!! The wildlife you get to see is awesome, from bears to mouse, elk to mountain goats. Definitely a recommended trip for those who make the trip out to Canada. There are also an abundance of lakes around the area, Lake Medicine, Lake Bow & the most famous Lake Louise & its Fairmont Chateau.

There are sooooo many more opportunities to travel through Canada, as it is such a big country. During the winter you can travel further north & see the Great Northern Lights, see polar bears & experience a true northern winter.

Canada is definitely one of the most beautiful countries I have been able to experience.