Creative Industries in Berlin

Impressions

I chose HTW based accounts from students who had previously done semester abroad there. It was also in Berlin and I knew this is where I wanted to spend my semester abroad. It was an amazing opportunity to live and study in Berlin at a time when it is flourishing.

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My first impression of HTW were not exceptionally great. The campus which we had our orientation was physically very ugly, however this style of architecture is common around Berlin so was not of a great bother, and the excitement of starting the semester was greater.

Location

Berlin is an amazing place. There is an intangible sense of freedom within the city. At the moment it is in a very dynamic period, lots of young creatives are living there and you really can do anything. It was also a very interesting time to be there, in the beginning of the Syrian refugee crisis and to be a witness to this mammoth human migration, and see how it will affect Europe.

The buildings of HTW’s second campus, where I had most of my classes were redeveloped from an old cable factory and the facades were really cool, all brick buildings and alongside the river. HTW had fashion specific facilities which QUT does not, including extensive knitting machines and screen printing equipment.  However to use a basic sewing machine was harder than doing any of this specialist stuff, there were not a lot of machines and time to use them was very restricted, which was nonsensical considering that the cohort was really large.

Accommodation

Based on accounts of students who had previously done a semester in Berlin, I chose not to live in student accommodation. Student accommodation was in a far out suburb and I wanted to experience living right in the centre of Berlin. I knew I would be harder to find something, and it was, but I also wanted the challenge to put myself on another level of independence, and it did.

However finding accommodation was extremely difficult.

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All that said finding accommodation was extremely hard and difficult. Friends of mine rented through Airbnb, this worked out well for them as they were three, and could rent a whole apartment. I arrived about a week before university started and began to hunt. There is a massive amount of people arriving in Berlin all the time, especially students at the beginning of semester and mostly everyone wants to live in the same few central neighborhood. There is only a finite number of rooms and this makes things incredibly difficult.

It was very stressful at times but it was a period of growth and it worked out in the end. I ended up living in a flat with an Albanian girl, in a great location. In hindsight it was a great learning experience and when it worked out it was great. I was sort of homeless, living in short term rentals for about three months but it stretched me and made me think about myself and how I react and cope. So it was a learning experience.

Academics

At times the language barrier was a problem. My German was below par and some of the lecturers would not/could not speak with us in English. I don’t believe they should have had to, but their refusal was really frustrating especially in Patternmaking, where we were learning technical methods and had to rely on other students to translate. In this situation, and when we were figuring out the specifics of assessment, it was really useful being in such a big group (there were 7 of us from the BFA) as we shared information.

As exchange students our work was not graded on a scale , only pass or fail and so in that regard the academic intensity was lesser. I was however doing six subjects and at QUT I would only be dong 4, so in that regard it was more intense. It was interesting to experience another studio system, as QUT focuses much more on technical production than HTW did and I appreciate this more and I believe that it shows within the work.

Finances

I left Australia with $14 000 AUD. This was comprised of personal savings as well as all the HECS loans/grants etc and I was also receiving centerlink while studying. This money lasted me for the whole six month exchange and two months of travel prior.

The day to day cost of living in Berlin is cheap! Transport (which is great) was covered within our university fee, food is cheap and so is alcohol. Rend was not however, I paid 450 euro ($650) a month for my room.  I used a Citybank account to access this money, as they do not charge withdrawal fees. As a backup I also had a traveller card with my normal bank.

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Challenges

Lots of challenges come with moving to another city and establishing life there for however short amount of time. However cliché it may sound, these challenges are what grows you as a person and makes the experience so rewarding and enjoyable.

Quite quickly I fell into a quite a large friendship group, which was great. It was somewhat easy to make friends with other exchange students as most people are quite open and are wanting to have the same fun time.

I did not find European culture that drastically different from Anglo-Saxon Australian culture to incur culture shock. But there were enough differences to keep things interesting. The change in weather was a large challenge for me. I know that I do not cope very well with the cold, and I learned to manage this, but another factor was the drastic lack of sun. You can get used to anything though.

Benefits

I find travel a sort of secret ingredient to creativity. It allows for time and space away from the familiar and mundane, you learn and see things, which then changes your perspective on many facets of life. Then it is about taking with you what you have learnt, and integrating it back into your life and living in a sort of new and improved way. Exchange has allowed me to see a part of the world and expand myself, my expectations and my capacity. It is an amazing opportunity to not only travel, but live in another country as a student, I would absolutely recommend it.

 

 

 

 

Tips for a Successful Exchange

I budgeted about $15,000 AUD for the exchange and spent quite a bit over it. Cost of living in Leeds is generally not too bad but is all dependent on the exchange rate as I got murdered by the British Pound when I was in the UK. Leeds would probably be one of the cheaper cities in the UK and is comparable to Brisbane. If you spend time in London at all you will spend a lot of money as that place is a vacuum for cash. I used a 28 Degrees Mastercard for most purchases as it is an international specific credit card that has zero fees for international purchases. I also used a Citibank debit card for withdrawing cash as it also had zero fees for international use. In the past I have used travel cards but found the two aforementioned cards to be of much greater use due to the convenience and little delay in accessing funds.

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I did not experience a culture shock in the UK as the culture is quite similar to Australia. I did however experience and am still experiencing a huge come down from the trip so be prepared for that when you return to Australia. Biggest challenge I faced on exchange would have to be getting to class on Thursday mornings. One must have item on exchange is money and heaps of it as there is always plenty of stuff to spend it on like last minute World Cup Final tickets. Biggest travel tip would be to plan ahead your weekend travels nice and early as the semester goes very fast and you will soon run out of time to fit everything in especially as towards the end you may just want to enjoy the last few weeks in your adopted town. Exchange provided me with an unparalleled opportunity to experience life in a different country and now serves as a useful tool if I wish to seek employment in the UK. This was my second student exchange and I highly recommend it to anyone considering it. You won’t regret it.

A top Engineering University

My exchange semester was at the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario. I initially chose Canada because I wanted to go to an English speaking university primarily, but also because it was where I wanted to travel the most. I knew that the university was well known for engineering, and it offered a lot of the subjects that I needed which others don’t.pic 1

First Impressions

When I first arrived on campus I was overwhelmed by how big it was and how many people seemed to be there. And there were geese everywhere! While the town itself wasn’t overly large, with two major universities there were a lot of students. This also meant that a large majority of services in the town were targeted towards students. Every supermarket had 10% for students, the large plaza next to campus had discounts and the option to pay using WatCard, the student ID card there, and the buses were all free for students.

My other main first impression was how nice all of the people were in Canada. The first week in a new country/city/university was daunting, but the people at Waterloo were so accommodating. I didn’t realise how good the familiarity of QUT was until I went to a university where I knew no one, but by the end of that first week it was like home. Orientation was so much cooler in Waterloo than it is here, there was a carnival and music festival in the first week, and they also really welcome exchange students and make sure you meet both other exchange students as well as Canadian.

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About Waterloo

Waterloo was a small town compared to Brisbane, and especially compared to the other cities I had visited in Canada, but the KW area was big enough to have its own airport and was only 1.5 hours from Toronto so it made travel quite easy. Travelling within Canada is quite similar to within Australia because it is such a large country. I was lucky enough to be able to visit Montreal in both summer and winter, and it was so different from everywhere else in Canada that it was definitely one of my favourite cities. I was in Waterloo for the fall semester, and it was the best time to be in Canada; fall was so beautiful and I was also there for the start of winter and snow. And I was also there for Halloween and thanksgiving which was so cool!

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The University

On campus there were many facilities that are available to students. There were 2 gyms open 24/7 which are free for all waterloo students. They also had unlimited classes for an extra $50 a semester and an ice skating rink which we regularly used between classes. The student centre was open 24/7 throughout the entire semester. Here they had the majority of food places on campus, all of the student associations and clubs, the book store and the student federation, Feds. Feds ran the student bus which went to Toronto every weekend and Niagara Falls on long weekends and during the breaks. The student centre also had regular networking and academic help workshops, and twice a semester had beds set up for naps during the day.

As an engineering student, one of the best and most useful facilities at uWaterloo was the student design workshop. It is a complete workshop with everything that you would need for our projects like drill presses and lathes, and is open every day to engineering students.

I studied subjects from both the engineering and kinesiology faculties and the teaching style varied between them and also between departments within the same faculty. The teaching and assessment standards were much more up to the course coordinator and there was no university standard. Many of my assignments were submitted directly to the lecturer and they often extended the due date for the whole class if they felt it was necessary. While the assessment and teaching was to a higher standard than QUT it also felt more relaxed. There was also a higher expectation among both the students and staff that all the classes were attended, and people did rarely skip. This was especially important as all of my classes had a mark assigned to attendance and participation, often up to 10% just for attending a majority of classes. One of the engineering buildings was brand new, having opened the year before I went there, and it still had chalk boards installed. Some professors did not use PowerPoints and just wrote on the board so it was important to attend or make friends with people who did.

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uWaterloo is well known for engineering, and I would highly recommend it for that. The standard of teaching was so high and the experience and knowledge of the faculty was incredible. All of my professors were able to apply their real world experience to what they were teaching which was very useful. Waterloo is considered the ‘Silicon Valley’ of Canada and there were often professionals working with the students. One design course I took brought in engineers and an astronaut for us to work with which was really cool. Because uWaterloo is known for engineering, they offer all types which not a lot of partner universities do. As a medical engineering student I found it easy to find equivalent courses here.pic3

Finance

I’d been saving for 2 years for exchange and budgeted $10 000 for the 6 months I was gone and this was almost exactly what I spent. This did include staying in a homestay which was more expensive than some options but included internet and most food. However I did keep some money separate in case I needed it in an emergency and thankfully didn’t. I did a fair bit of travelling of the US and Canada before and after exchange, 3 weeks either side, as well as a few weekends during semester so that added to my expenses.

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Tips

After the obvious phone, camera and passport one must have item for exchange was a pair of good shoes, they were the best thing for the long walking days when travelling. My other tips for exchange would be to make a list and not start packing 12 hours before your flight. If you’re homesick get out of your room/house and make put yourself out there to make friends. And definitely take every opportunity your given while on exchange!

First Impressions of Corvinus University of Budapest

I chose to travel to Budapest, the capital in Hungary. One of the main reasons for choosing Budapest was the central location in Europe. Consequently, it was easier to travel to other destinations in Europe, such as Paris in France, Berlin in Germany, Bratislava in Slovakia, Wien in Switzerland, Venezia in Italy or Zagreb in Croatia. I knew that it was located pretty south in Europe, so during both September and October there were mostly sunny days. However, I was also keen to feel the weather change, and really enjoy other seasons compared to what I do in sunny Queensland.pic 4Immediately after landing, I was quick to recognise the welcoming atmosphere and the architecture of the buildings to be an eastern bloc country, with strong linkage to the history from the Hungarian Revolution in. A friend who already studied in Budapest had warned me that the locals could be seen as pretty rude against “tourists”. It might be the fact that I already had been warned about their quick responses and their non-welcoming attitude that I did notice it. However, there were of course exceptions, since I am not talking about the receptionist or the taxi driver, because they were obviously just glad tourists arrived. Another thing I had been warned about was taxi scams, so I had re-assured to get the one number that was the only legit taxi number you could call in Budapest if you wanted avoid scams. It was night, the taxi driver had been driving for 40 minutes, and I was finally at my friend’s apartment in central Budapest. The taxi cost me literally nothing, and I could not understand how cheap this country was. I entered an old, old elevator that was tiny and where you had to close the door yourself, so I stood there and laughed over how eastern bloc this place was.pic 1

Waking up the next morning got me to realize how beautiful this place actually was, as I arrived during nigh time, I had not been able to see that much of the city. The architecture in Budapest is extraordinary. We walked around and I got introduced to the most convenient and cheap transport system they had. The metro or “tram” as they call it was just perfect for a student. We went up to a 360-degree roof top bar, with an amazing view over the city, the best cocktails (less than half the price compared to Australia), and on a sunny day, made me to one happy exchange student.pic 5

A closer look at life in Denmark

Location

The city initially was real cold, I’ve never been exposed to cold temperature before and Copenhagen being near the Northern side of Europe really gave me an insight into what Cold weather really is like. I had to layer up for sure and had to think twice before going outside due to it snowing down, or it was just generally too cold to leave the house.pic1

Accommodation

The accommodation was very nice and clean. I had a Canadian roommate who was very nice and clean as well. We both gelled together since Day 1 and we still keep in contact today.

Academics

The academics was quite straightforward and easy to understand as English is spoken by a large portion of Danish people. All my assessment were in English and they seemed to be the level of QUT. It is noted that the assignments in Denmark were quite reading strenuous and I had to do more readings and researching compared to QUT assignments.

I studied Creative Industries, International Economics, Visual Communication and Sports Economics. These were all engaging units which deviated from my usual run of the mill accounting unit which I did in QUT. These units allowed me to engage in my ‘creative’ side and to allow me to do something else other than balance sheets and debits and credits.

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Finances

My finances were quite good as I knew how to budget myself. Through the OS-Bursary and QUT HECS Loan I could travel Europe and visit places such as Berlin, London, Manchester, Rome, Paris and I also had a small two trips in Japan and Hong Kong on the way back. The cost of living in comparison was quite similar in the sense that things were costly, this is attributed however to a high living standard much like Australia. Therefore food costs were similar to Australia and I was not deterred by the cost of food.

Challenges

Culture Shock is something I have experienced when I was in Copenhagen. This however was a good culture shock as Danes are generally well reserved. This however was abolished in parties when the Danes became friendlier to strangers.

In terms of safety, I was quite worried about safety as during the time when I was in Paris as I was in Paris two weeks before the bombing which occurred late 2015. This was a dark time for me when I was in Europe and I am grateful that I was not in Paris when this tragedy occurred.

Impression

Exchange has been an experience of a life time, full of learning, fun and most importantly the trip has enhanced my development as a more culturally accepting person. Experiencing different cultures is one of my dreams ever since I was a child. And I am proud to say this trip has enabled me to do this.

One huge influence which made me choose Denmark is the food. Noma – ranked the best restaurant in the world three years running is in Denmark and although I did not score a table there, I tried restaurants similar to Noma and I still loved it. The food culture in Denmark is unparalleled when compared to Australia, and for a foodie like me – I took advantage of the incredible food culture in Denmark.

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Spanish Exchange

Why Spain

I recently returned from my overseas university exchange to Madrid, Spain. I chose Spain because I wanted to try and learn a different language whilst exploring a continent I had yet to visit. When I first arrived in Spain, it was August, meaning it was the middle of August. It was just as hot as Brisbane but not nearly as humid which made for a pleasant environment. I did experience some culture shock having not lived in a country that speaks a different language to English but as the weeks progressed I became more and more comfortable with my surroundings.

Madrid is a city that enjoys its nightlife. There are more bars per capita in Madrid than in any other city in the world, and it was obvious. They range from quaint little tapas bars with delicious food and small beers in which you can enjoy a pleasant afternoon with friends, to world-renowned nightclubs to dance the night away.

The University, Universidad de Carlos III, was somewhat different to QUT. Its facilities, while adequate, were not of the same quality of QUT’s but one must take every experience as it comes.

Accommodation

Accommodation was notoriously difficult to find if left till late. There are an abundance of University students wanting to find accommodation in Madrid’s centre so it’s best to be quick. However, at NO cost should you attempt to acquire accommodation in the small town of Getafe in which the University is located. Although the price might be attractive, there is absolutely nothing to do and the small amount of students I knew that lived in Getafe would constantly travel into the centre of Madrid to be with other exchange students. I lived about 100m north of Puerta Del Sol, which is with out a doubt the main hub of Madrid. It was a splendid location in a third floor apartment overlooking the walking streets. The cost was 440 euros a month plus bill so it was rather expensive but about average for the location. While rooms do fill up quickly, I would highly recommend that students view a few rooms before agreeing on one because the quality differs greatly. I had some friends that lived in surrounding suburbs of Madrid, one in particular called Malasaña, is particularly nice for night life and the price can be cheaper than Sol. Be forewarned, trust your instinct when it comes to dealing with the landlords. If they seem kind of sketchy it may be because they are trying to rip you off. Insist on receiving a copy of the contract in English (although I wouldn’t attach to much legal weight to the contract) and be aware that rent is almost always paid in cash – ask for a receipt or write your own!

 

Subjects

I was rather disappointed with the subject allocation system at Universidad de Carlos III. The system was so that all the Spanish students were able to choose their classes well before the exchange students could. This meant that it made it near impossible to get the classes that you would like to get. Also, being enrolled in Law specifically, I was forced to wait until a day after the other exchange students could enrol into classes meaning I got very few of my class preferences, leaving me with classes that I was not only semi disinterested in, but were barely beneficial to my overall academic career. Also, I chose to do some of my classes in Spanish because I wanted to learn the language. While the University did have some organisations that offered some programs for exchange students, such as group get togethers and weekends away, the University itself was not very well equipped to handle exchange students that wanted to study in Spanish. The Spanish language course that was offered for two weeks preceding the University semester cost 250 euros. Then, throughout the semester, Spanish is not even offered as a language course within the University. You must pay another 250 euros to take the Spanish language as a semester course. Furthermore, it came as a surprise that even after spending 500 euros on two Spanish courses, I was made to print off my own course material each week at my own expense. I question the validity of this system.

Finance

Financially speaking, the entirety of Europe is going to be a budget nightmare. The Australian dollar to the Euro is not a great exchange rate and will lead to an empty wallet if not closely monitored. If you’re after a shoe string exchange, including rent, food, some weekend trips, I would take no less that $10,000. If you would like to experience what Spain, and Europe, have to offer, the budget would be more like $15,000. Food is slightly cheaper in Spain and the quality usually surpasses most things in Brisbane. However, they specialise in their own types of food, processed meats, sausages, some seafood, and to expect exotic cuisine would be naive. I just used a Commonwealth Travel Money card for all my expenses. But be warned, the majority of places will only take cash (including your rent/deposit/bills) because Spain is a country seemingly built on its flippant accounting.

Tips

Safety in Madrid was rarely an issue. However, in saying that, about 50% of the people I knew were pickpocketed. It does happen if you are not careful. Wallet front pocket always for guys, girls, purse/bag under your arm at all times – especially in populated areas.pic 1

In conclusion, I would recommend Spain overall as a country. The diverseness of the cities throughout the country is mesmerising and the food is second to none. Football fans will be in heaven and the slow paced lifestyle will benefit the highly-strung. However, Madrid itself is one for the partygoers. I myself partook in the festivities but I have to be honest when I say I grew tired of the party lifestyle and preferred to travel on my weekends. The University is adequate if you want to study in general courses and in English. If learning Spanish is high on your priority list then it may be wise to consider a different learning environment than Universidad de Carlos III.

Want to travel to Colombia while studying?

Go for an exchange and spend a semester or two at Universidad del Rosario! Situated in Bogota, Colombia, it’s going to be the time of your life! Here are the three things QUT loves about Universidad del Rosario:

  • Spanish classes – learn a new language! It’s always a little more impressive being able to speak in different languages.
  • Universidad del Rosarios has an international campus to serve all international students organising multicultural activities and providing them great support.
  • A university that encourages sports among its students

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If you are considering to go for an exchange here, QUT has developed a university profile on Universidad del Rosarios and be found here.

My house in Budapest

Accommodation

Finding an accommodation was pretty easy; there are several websites that lists available apartments every week. In addition, there were a lot of real estate firms around in Budapest you could go to, to get help. The rental cost itself was actually not that lower than Brisbane, as you had to sign a contract for only a couple of months, which made the rental a bit higher (since they preferred longer rental contracts). However, you got a lot more for your money, the apartments were really modern and newly renovated. The city is divided into districts, and when you arrive, you will understand which district is the most popular. However, in regards to the distance to the university the location was not an issue, as the transport systems were so convenient. However, district 5 were the most expensive district, as this is most modern and where most of the tourist stay. This was the district I lived in, however, price wise I was really lucky with my apartment, and the owners were really nice and helpful. District 6 and 7, and some parts of 8, are also really nice districts to live in. The further you get out of these districts you will realize that the shops for example would like you to pay with cash, signalling that it is a bit more “shady” in these suburbs.

However, after just a week, you just expect for example that the cashier at the local supermarket will not ask you if you want a bag, and if you need one after you have paid, he/she will most likely look pissed off because you forgot to ask for one in the first place. Saying these things might make you wonder how it is to go out for a couple drinks or to a nightclub. During my months in Budapest, I did not witness any violence or problems at any bars or nightclubs. The crowd in Budapest are so international, and the culture of going out to eat and drink is so good, everyone does it! The atmosphere when you are out dining or drinking is just amazing (and cheap, hehe). They use “Hungarian Forints”, where 1000 HUF is 5 AUD, for 1000 HUF you get easily for example two beers at a bar, not to promote alcohol too much.

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The University

Over to the serious stuff, Corvinus University of Budapest! The campus is made up of old buildings with beautiful architecture, where only the business building is totally new and modern. The campus is located beside “Donau” river, and you have some amazing spots to sit and study/eat there. You can easily walk to the 5th district in 10 minutes, or take the “tram” to the 7th district and be there in 20 minutes. Again, the university is so international, both the students and the tutors! The university is ranked really well among the universities in Eastern/Central Europe, and Corvinus is the best one in Hungary. The good thing about their study program is that it is compulsory to attend all the classes; you can only miss each subject three times, if you miss more than that, you will fail the class. In addition, your attendance and your participation will be marked! In that way, I was able to experience a great learning curve, and earn top grades in each of my subjects. I did Financial Markets, Tourism Marketing, Brand Management, Decision Technques and International Business. The classes were really interactive, and enabled all the students to participate a lot. Through the classes I met a lot of international students who were on exchange, they came from all over the world. We all became good friends and I still have contact with many of them.pic 6

The exchange semester allowed me to get a totally new perspective on how to enjoy life while being able to study well and get the good grades I wanted. I became more open-minded and I started showing sides of my-self that I never thought existed, both socially and with my studies. You understand how to cope with different kinds of people, as I was facing some many different personalities at one time. Grab the chance of doing something else if you can, and enjoy the ride!  Do not stress too much about getting accommodation before you get there, as you have to experience the city yourself, and realize where the best place is for you. Thank you QUT for this opportunity, I would have done it again if I could!pic 8

Attending Australia Week in China as a New Colombo Plan student delegate

Liam D: Bachelor of Business/Laws – New Colombo Plan mobility student to Zhejiang University, China

I was recently fortunate enough to attend Australia Week in China as a New Colombo Plan student delegate. Australia Week in China, or AWIC in short, constituted Australia’s largest ever trade mission to China, with over 1,000 delegates making the journey, each with the aim of strengthening Australia’s business ties in the Middle Kingdom. Business cards were exchanged, deals were made, and the week’s events put to rest any question of the significance of Sino-Australian business relations.

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Meeting with the Minister for Tourism and International Education, Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck, at Australia Week in China 2016.

 

Held in the heart of Shanghai’s scintillating Pudong district, AWIC’s proceedings afforded me an invaluable opportunity to network with some of Australia and China’s most influential businesspeople and learn more about the trends shaping today’s international business landscape. As an NCP student delegate, I was able to attend several networking functions, the AustCham Westpac Australia China Business Awards Gala Dinner and participate in a site visit to the cutting edge Zhangjiang Technology Precinct. Through these events, I was given the opportunity to meet professionals from a diverse range of backgrounds, including senior lawyers from top tier international firms, executives from multinational banking institutions, Chinese ecommerce marketers, and representatives of leading educational institutions. Gaining exposure to these professionals afforded me hugely in depth insights into the nature of the opportunities emerging in China and Australia today.liam china2 jpg

In addition to the business networking opportunities the week provided me, being an NCP exchange student in China has allowed me the unique opportunity to develop professionally in a way I am sure would be impossible outside of Asia. Through the program, I have been able to secure employment with National Australia Bank in Hong Kong, and in July I will commence a three month internship with the company’s institutional banking team.

Not yet even two months into my exchange, I can say confidently that the opportunities I have had made available to me will account for some of the most transformative, inspirational and exciting moments of my university experience to date.liam china

Aarhus, Denmark – First Impressions, Course Selection and Learning Experiences

Aarhus, Denmark

I ended up at Aarhus University in Aarhus, Denmark for my outbound exchange program in semester 2, 2015. I say ‘ended up’ here because when I first applied to take part in the outbound student exchange program in late 2014, Denmark hadn’t yet crossed my mind as a destination among my choices but I am so glad that’s where I ended up. After being unsuccessful for my top 3 host university choices in the US, Canada and the UK, my partner (who went with me to Aarhus University) and I informed the International Student Mobility Team of our intention to travel together to the same host university, the team was able to round up and offer us choices of host universities that would be able to accommodate both of us. We started the process of choosing our destination at this point by comparing the expected living expenses of each host nation and after some thorough searching, contemplations and discussions; we decided our first option would be a University in Prague. After deciding on Prague however, we were then told that it too was no longer available to us but that our second option in Aarhus, Denmark was.

First Impressions

Although I had been around to different parts of Australia, prior to my exchange semester, I had never actually been outside of the country. With a 34 hour transfer from Brisbane to Aarhus ahead and never yet going overseas, I had no idea what to expect and was a little nervous to say the least. After arriving in Denmark I was pleasantly surprised to find that every person I met was able to speak English very fluently. During Introduction Week we learnt that English was taught as a language from grade 3 in Denmark and although their preferred speaking language is their native Danish tongue, when prompted to, they are all very good English speakers.

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Course Selection

While on exchange, students are generally required to choose courses that must be accepted by course coordinators to replace courses that are part of the planned study within their degrees. With most degrees having elective study included as part of the planned study, as was the case with my degree, I used 4 of my elective spaces to allow myself the opportunity to choose first year subjects at my host institution. The subjects I chose were Financial Accounting, Organisational Behaviour, English Language Business Communication and Aspects of Denmark. By using my electives and choosing first year subjects at my host university, I was able minimise my study load and allow myself the best opportunity to explore and travel throughout the rest of Europe during my time there.

Learning Experience

As I previously mentioned; English is as well-spoken in Denmark as Danish is. This was a major contributor to my positive learning experience at Aarhus University. As a Justice student at QUT, I have the option of studying from home by enrolling into external classes. This type of study is not available to students at Aarhus University. The reason for this is that education, including tertiary education, is free in Denmark. Coupled with the fact that Danish students receive a very healthy student allowance from social welfare, it makes sense that students are expected to attend all their classes. This wasn’t a problem for me because I didn’t have any other commitments as a student overseas but it is interesting to see how a ‘social welfare state’ such as Denmark treats their students.

Overall Exchange Experience

Exchange for me was a very eye opening rite of passage. Aside from never having gone overseas, I had also never lived outside of home. My accommodation was organised through the housing department of Aarhus University and I was living in a share-house with other exchange students. This experience was new to me because living with ‘strangers’ was something I had never experienced either until going on exchange. The early stages of my time overseas were filled with learning and realising my day to day responsibilities. After a short time however, it started to become second nature. The experiences I gained in this short period of time was so invaluable to me for a range of different reasons, but the biggest of these reasons would have to be the amount of personal growth and discovery I had by the end of exchange. These are experiences that I will remember and cherish long after I graduate university and if not for any other reason, this one alone is why I recommend going on exchange to any student!