My New Home – Hong Kong!

The City University of Hong Kong (CityU) has exceeded my expectations. The view of the high rises from the University excited me so much when I saw them and now they are constant reminder of where I am.

Arriving was daunting as you are constantly asking yourself – will I like it, is it worth it, WILL I MAKE FRIENDS? After the first 48 hours in Hong Kong these worries were put to rest. The University, even now three weeks in, is constantly a-buzz with exchange students planning activities, meals and their next adventures.

It was hugely beneficial to arrive one week prior to the start of semester as every day is needed to start getting your grips on this big crazy city. The University was helpful in getting us settled in with organised trips to IKEA, Campus Tours and Orientation meetings. They even gave every new student a Portable charging pack and a Universal Adapter (very helpful after buying the wrong adapter not once but TWICE).

CityU has around 450 inbound exchange students this semester so there was no shortage of friends to be made. Over the past few weeks there have been huge community beach and park trips which has made everyone grow close.

In only this short time that I have been here I have also fallen in love with Hong Kong itself. There is an abundance of restaurants, cafes, landmarks, locations that will keep me very busy for the next five months. What I have loved most about Hong Kong, so far, is that for such a tiny area (approximately one 8th of the size of Brisbane) there are mountains, quaint fishing villages, parks, sky scrapers, beaches (of a high quality I might add as this is always important to an Australian) and trendy shopping and nightlife areas.

In terms of the more practical aspects of change I think it was a great decision to start on campus. Primarily, it is a hub for meeting people and only a short walk away from Uni. Financially, you are receiving a much better end of the stick. My room is bigger and cleaner than those paying 5 times what I am to live off campus and the fact that Hong Kong is such a small, dense area means that you don’t need to be living ‘in the centre’ to still enjoy all the benefits of city life. You can also more easily take advantage of the cheap cafeterias that that University offers (both western and asian cuisines). I highly recommend!

I have now booked a weekend away in Taiwan and a trip to Cambodia having only been here for three weeks! I cannot wait to see what the next few weeks have in store and will report back!

Jo Kelly-Fenton

Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) / Bachelor of Mathematics

This student’s exchange is supported by funding from the Australian government’s New Colombo Plan. More information available here

Top tips for Copenhagen

Yasmine E
Bachelor of Business
Copenhagen Business School, Denmark


Need a go-to guide to Copenhagen?

Yassi’s Top CPH tips:

  • Buy a good quality bike
  • Learn the basic phrases
  • Go out and enjoy everything Copenhagen has to offer, trust me there is loads
  • Grocery shop at Lidl and Netto before Fotex
  • When it’s sunny have a day on the Go Boats
  • Eat at Paper Island, Moller and Grod
  • Spend time cycling around the cool little areas like Ostebro, Norrebro and Frederiksberg

  • Use a travel card such as the QANTAS card, it’s the cheapest way to spend money, Copenhagen uses card for everything, very few places will take cash only but many are card only. I would also recommend having multiple cards in different places in cases one is lost or stolen. No need to open a Danish bank account it will be more of a struggle and it’s super easy to just use your Australian bank card it will just charge you a few cents every time you make a purchase.
  • When you arrive in Copenhagen go to Central Station and talk to the people there about what is your best option for a transport card. I personally had 2, one monthly pass that required a passport photo and it would be a once a month payment for unlimited rides on all transport in Zone 1 and 2 but I also had a Rejsekort card which is kind of like a Go Card which I would use if I was going into Zone 3 and 4. Always make sure you pay for transport because the fines are huge!
  • Get a really great everyday backpack
  • Get comfy fashionable sneakers

  • If you are going to make any big purchases make sure they are done within 3 months of leaving Europe to get your tax back at the airport
  • Go for lunch in Sweden… literally it’s like 50 minutes away!
  • Visit other cities in Denmark like Aarhus it’s a really cool town
  • The Danes are not rude just private, don’t be offended if they seem like they are keeping to themselves but if you do need anything they are really lovely.
  • Make your room feel homely, take a trip to IKEA and get little things that will make you feel more at home.
  • PORTABLE CHARGERS!!!! They will save your life! Because it gets so cold your phone will freeze and just shut down so always have a charger with you.

If you would like to know more or have any questions at all no matter how long or small feel free to add me on Facebook and ask away! You are going to have the time of your life, trust me!

Spews, poos and smiles

What a crazy first week! From spews, to smiles, new friends, sore throats, happy kids, championships and a whole lot more. It has only been one week and already this trip has become one that will be unforgettable.
It was a little overwhelming arriving in Vietnam, not really knowing the people that you will be spending most of your time with, but didn’t that change quickly!
It took only a couple of hours before we were happily cheering our glasses and becoming immersed in the food and culture.

The first day of business involved meeting our new friends from the Ho Chi Minh City University of Medicine and Pharmacy. The people that we met and the friendships that we developed will be forever cherished. Not only did they welcome us with open arms, they gave us the inside scoop on places in Saigon that we would never have found on our own. During the week we, with our new friends, went to the gym, danced, ate delicious food, rocked out to songs in both Vietnamese and English at karaoke and together taught primary school children some fun games that not only tired them out but also us. We also ran some nutrition classes!

Visiting the primary schools the past week in Saigon is definitely in the running for the number one experience of the trip. The school environment was so positive and the children were so happy and eager to learn. It was so amazing to have the opportunity to run around with these kids that I would highly recommend this trip even if it was just for that one experience or even looking into placements overseas! (Even though there was a few runny poos due to dehydration 😕) Being in a school environment so different to that of Australian schools is 10/10 and something that I believe will advance your understandings of pedagogies as well as your development and perspectives as a future teacher.

On an end note, one major night to remember was Vietnam’s win in the U23 AFC football semi-final. The streets were packed and the crowds were out of this world. There were flags everywhere and continual honks of horns until early EARLY hours of the morning. It was something we had never seen before and something that we will never forget!

Week number one was a major success and we can’t wait to see what’s in store for week 2 in Hanoi.

Editor’s note: Tessa’s trip to Vietnam was made possible through sponsorship from the Australian’s governments New Colombo Plan. To discover similar programs check the QUT Global Portal.

Sometimes, you’ve gotta go with the flow on exchange

Yasmine E
Bachelor of Business
Copenhagen Business School, Denmark


“You will love Copenhagen”
“Copenhagen is such a great city”
“Everyone in Copenhagen is so good looking”
“You will bike ride everywhere”

These are just a few of the lines I heard over and over again when I told people I was going to Copenhagen on exchange. Of course, this made me overwhelmingly excited! I mean who wouldn’t be right? But there was still this voice in my head saying “how could everyone love one place?” “Can everyone be that good looking” “I never ride a bike at home, I can’t see myself doing it every day there” Boy was I so wrong, so very wrong.

Yeah, so I did end up riding a bike… a lot.

But it wasn’t all roses at the start. Let’s go back to the beginning. I arrive into Copenhagen from travelling around Scotland and England for close to two weeks. I touch down and am instantly blown away by the amount of ridiculously good looking people, I mean everyone everywhere is drop dead gorgeous.

So I continue on in my sheer awe grab my luggage… which I am still feeling smug about getting an extra 7 kgs on for free (winning already) and catch up with my buddy that my uni Copenhagen Business School (CBS) had organised we get chatting and make our way to the Metro, this is by far the most efficient Metro system I have ever seen, there are only 2 lines and they run every 2.5 minutes. So there is no waiting and very little crowding.

We arrive at our stop and walk to the bus located in Copenhagen’s main district Norreport. It is at this point I feel an overload of new information, it is freezing cold, I am looking out for not only cars but pedestrians and now bikes too.

We cross the road and make our way to the bus, which unlike the metro is very busy and only arrives every 15 minutes. We shuffle on with try to find a decent place for all of my luggage without annoying any other commuters. I am in awe of all the buildings. The bus comes to a screeching halt and naturally I fall over all of my luggage, I am shuffling around trying to pick myself up while repeating profusely “undskyld” (pardon me) it is at this point I pull my handbag back to the front of my body and find my zipper open and my wallet was gone… sneaky bugger got me!

Instantly I was devastated and did all the right things like cancelling my cards and going to the police station to report the incident (which was not on the top of my ‘to visit’ list). It took me a few days to settle into Copenhagen after this but once the welcome week festivities began it was like nothing had gone wrong.

Even though it was a rough start, and sometimes things do go wrong, you are going to have the time of your life, trust me!

If you would like to know more or have any questions at all no matter how long or small feel free to add me on Facebook and ask away!


Foods, dudes and moods- Josh’s journey through asia

In short, my trip to Hong Kong was good.

The long version however, you might want to strap yourselves in for it.

So, Without further ado! lets dive headfirst into the world that was “Josh’s Exchange in Hong Kong”

Hong Kong:  the New York of the east, was where I was lucky enough to study during the latter half of 2017. No amount of preparation could have readied me for the crazy adventures and stories that followed.

I could sit here for days and type out pages of my different adventures, but I’ll keep this one readable in a sitting or two

I remember my feeling of first landing in Hong Kong, it was one of anticipation and trepidation. I had no idea what was in store for me or what was even going to happen, all I knew was that I had an interesting time ahead of me. This feeling of wonder and adventure is something that I wish you, dear reader, will experience through my writings

Looking back at it now, the things I worried about back then were insignificant, just like the myriad of problems in day to day life that we tend to exaggerate in our heads. Things have a way of working out if you stay determined and resilient. Every obstacle in your life is a wall that can be shattered, passed by, scaled and much more. Every challenge is one you can learn from.

When people asked me about living in Asia, one of the most common things that I was asked was the price of food. Now I’m going to be real with you here

The cheap food was CHEAP and expensive food was something that could bankrupt me very easily. I found myself eating “buy one get one free” egg cartons and rice very regularly. I somehow always managed to run out of food money.

I always cooked for my best friend and I during my time there. We bonded through our mutual suffering of never having enough to eat. Some of the most meagre meals we shared are some of the most important memories that I have of him.

I remember one time I had a plethora of eggs and nothing to go with them. I scrambled some eggs to have the consistency of rice to go with some other sunny side up eggs.

It was a somewhat depressing meal.I found a way to make it work though.

However, I went hungry quite a lot.

Don’t think it was always poverty living though!

Hong Kong has a plethora of Michelin star restaurants in seemingly impossible to find back alleys. Seemingly unassuming hole in the wall eateries were often Michelin recommended or better.

Food aside, one of the big points I’d like to point out is the lifestyle of Hong Kong. Living up to its name of “the New York of the east” Hong Kong is busy, crowded and  somewhat dirty- I revelled in the lifestyle.

My first few weeks were spent navigating the attractions of the island as well as exploring every district possible. I like to think of it as my excited tourist phase

I managed to see 90% of the attractions in that period. But as time passed and reality set in, I found myself used to the busy schedule. There was always a list of things to do and people to see. However, what once was a magical experience quickly became mundane. If you ask me what’s interesting about Hong Kong I wouldn’t know because it was all so normal to me.

I remember spending nearly every day I had in “Mongkok”- a district in Hong Kong. It has a world record for being the densest commercial district in Hong Kong. As an avid shopper, I quickly became familiar with the spaghetti streets and innumerable streetwear, fashion and electronics stores. Very often I’d give directions or show tourists shops that I frequented. I quickly became a local. Fashion in Hong Kong is trendy and expensive. People cared most about how much their clothing/image was and it was a race to wear as much money as possible. I admit, I was swept away in the waves of HK culture.

(My favourite shopkeeper there! she made a lot of money from me)

I quickly made friends with the shopkeepers there, I brought a lot of business to them too!

Now, like all big cities, transportation was light years better than public transport back home. The subway was fast, reliable and crowded. It was the epitome of big city transport. It was definitely preferable to the lengthy delays, slow circulation speeds and unreliable transport methods back home.

One piece of advice I’d like to give is to try and be as social as possible in the early periods of your exchange before cliques and groups are made. You can quickly veto out the groups that you don’t wish to stay with and form as many close friendships as possible. This is extremely important as you risk being isolated in a foreign land with very few people to turn to. Make friends with your dorm security guards too!

I tried to be as nice to the dorm guards, I usually waved or smiled whenever I passed. Due to this alone I was able to get away minor infringements as they would often bend the rules a little for me. I do admit I admired their work ethic though. One of the security guards I nicknamed “eagle eyes” for his sniper like eyesight and ever watchful gaze. He always smiled and nodded whenever I waved. He always worked 10 or 12 hour shifts without so much as a single complaint

He retired when I was there, I miss him.

I met some of the most interesting characters from so many different backgrounds during my time there. Many evenings and dinners were spent simply comparing our lives back in our home countries. I loved telling stories of the plethora of things in Australia that can kill you.

The sheer variety of different nationalities and cultures meant that you get a feel for how wide the world is, your eyes are opened to so many different perspectives that you never thought possible.

I was humbled.

I’m going to admit, everyone seemed to have things that they disliked about their home country. There were always complaints about this or that.

There are always things wrong with where you live, but there are always positives too!

Now if you are traveling to a country that does not speak English as the primary language, it might take time for the locals that you encounter frequently to open up to you. Don’t take offence from it though! I remember during the early period of my time in hong kong I continually offered to some of the people on my floor to join in the activities that my friends and I did. They all said the same thing

“I’m not confident in my ability to speak with you in English”

I insisted that it was fine and was rewarded with some of the nicest people I’ve met. I was able to go rock climbing for free and had friends I hope to keep for my lifetime.


I loved everyone there. They were some of the most interesting, varied and wonderful people I’ve ever met. It might sound a bit weird, but I like to think that even though I may not be able to see them again, they never really left my life. The memories we made together will always stick with me.

Life in Hong Kong really opened my eyes to how lazily I had lived my life until then. The lifestyle of Hong Kong was busy, it really contrasted against my life on the Gold Coast. There were so many things back home that I needed to do, and hadn’t.

I realised that I had to make changes

I can guarantee you that you will make many realisations during your time too.

Exchange is definitely an experience that will quickly mature you or break you. I mean that as it’s a situation of “do or die.” You’re stuck in a place on your own and you have to claw and tear through the difficulties that you face with your own strength.

I want to say that there are a lot of things in life that might scare you. Its normal to feel scared, but it isn’t normal to let it paralyze you. You’ve got to trust in yourself and have the courage and resilience to take that step forward, lest you may never move from where you are standing now.


I’m going to admit that studying in Hong Kong was something I disliked. Partly due to the fact that I somewhat didn’t take it seriously, but also because of how different the experience is compared to Australian universities. Group projects were common and always had a minimum of eight people, that’s right, eight people.

I remember spending many nights awake with a bottle of alcohol to get me through, Hong Kong was busy and so was I. Lectures consisted of three hour lectures once a week per subject. I’ll admit i often fell asleep, but then again, so did everyone else.



During my five months abroad, I visited a variety of locations and countries

  • Hong Kong
  • Taiwan – Taipei, Hualien
  • Japan – Osaka
  • Korea – Seoul
  • Philippines – Manila, Siargao

I managed to get lost or face difficulties in every single one. I’ll admit, I have terrible travelling luck…

But what I do have, Is amazing people luck.

During my travels, I was amazed at the sheer human kindness of the people I encountered.

In Taiwan, I wasn’t able to find my Airbnb. My taxi driver stayed with me the entire time to make sure I found my place to stay. Sure he could’ve simply dropped me off at the first address but he drove with me for over an hour simply looking for where i was staying.

I had to insist that he take the 200% tip

In Korea, I met people that helped me find my way, showed me the “local experience” and fed me for free. They approached me and I’m grateful that they did. They were there when I saw snow for the first time, which was an important item on my bucket list

In Siargao, Philippines, I was beset by events that should’ve made my trip a nightmare. However, I met some of the kindest and most inspirational people in my life thus far, my dinner with them probably changed the direction that my life is going.

  • I had a 50-hour travel time to the island due to flight cancellations
  • I lost my debit card and had no money
  • I sliced my foot open x5
  • I crashed my motorcycle and had no money to pay for it
  • My flight away from the island was cancelled
  • I had nowhere to stay and nothing to eat
  • I was stranded

I’d like to highlight the last few days on the island in particular.

I met these two women on a tour and afterward we all went partying as a group with other people. The next day we all hung out and relaxed and it quickly dawned on me the extent of damage that my bike received during my crash. Due to my loss of debit card I had no money to pay for it and very few options. I seriously considered ditching the bike and leaving. I risked being beat or hunted down.

Upon hearing my story, the two women, offered to pay for the damage without hesitation. Their sheer kindness at the time nearly brought me to tears. During our dinner together, I asked for life advice from them and filled over 4 pages in my notebook from what they said alone. I would not have made it off the island without their unrelenting kindness. I look up to those two greatly, I hope to one day be able to meet them again and repay their kindness with interest.

Even my tour guide offered to go with me to talk to the bike rental agent to see if he can lessen the degree of trouble I was in.

The next day my flight was cancelled and since I had no money I was simply going to camp outside the airport as I did in Taiwan. A man sitting next to me offered to let me stay with him and the van driver that brought me to the airport offered to drive me for free.

I ended up staying with the two women from before though (don’t get any ideas).

Instead of having to sleep in a ditch somewhere I was able to have a shower and coffee without having to fear for my safety.

Like I said before, it’s this human kindness that really humbled me. None of these people had to help me, they didn’t even know me. But they did, and for that, I do not have words to explain how I feel. Those people that offered to help a stranger like me

I hope that I too, can be like them.

Now If you’ve stayed with me until now, I’d like to congratulate you on ploughing through my ceaseless rambling. I have a little more left, but stay strong!

If you are considering exchange, Go for it!

However, Exchange is what you make of it. It’s a washing machine of unforgiving circumstances that will test you as a person. I encourage you with all my being to stay resilient, be determined and most importantly,

Make the most of it! Talk to people! Learn lessons! Go places!

I know for a fact that I am a completely different and mature person from when I initially left. I’ve experienced so much that I cannot even begin to write about them all. I definitely recommend keeping a journal of the things that have happened to you, to ensure that you remember what you have learned.

I hear the phrase “I’m travelling to find myself” quite a lot. To be completely real with you here, I think it’s stupid. If you want to find yourself go to the lost and found, you might have better luck there.

What I’d rather say is to know yourself. I mean, what if you actually do manage to find yourself and you turn out to be a terrible person, what good that will do for you?

Know your strengths, your weaknesses, the things that make you who you are.

Be introspective! Be self-aware!

If you know what really makes you tick, you can capitalise on what you know and really make the best of what makes you, you.

I used to think that by studying what I was studying, I was aiming to become that profession. However, I learned that my profession is simply a means to an end.

If I am truly good at meeting people, then I must work in something that allows me to meet people.

Get what I mean? It’s something along those lines.

Finally, you should always do good (yes, I know, cliché). If you fall into the cycle of thinking that bad inputs equal good outcomes as long as you get away with it, you risk having it all come crashing down on you in an instant. All the bad you have done will drag you down.

The world is shitty enough, don’t make it worse.

Be someone that other people aspire to be like.

As I write this in the closing days of my adventure, I hope that I’ve managed to convey even a fraction of how I feel at this moment to you. I consider myself incredibly blessed to have experienced all this at my age and even more so because of the incredible people that I have met or been helped by. I am indebted to a lot of people around the world.

Just like all the people that have been kind to me, I honestly hope to pay it all forward.

I could keep rambling, but I’d seriously like to say.

Thank you, thank you for taking the time to read this.

May your own journey be worth an essay multiple pages long.

I wish you all the best in your future travels.













Find a real winter in the UK

Tayla B
Bachelor of Creative Industries
Sheffield Hallam University, UK


My experience living in England for six months studying at SHU was incredible. I had never been to England or Europe before, but having many friends living there I knew what to expect, but nothing could prepare me for the weather. I arrived in winter to freezing temperatures and I think the thing I struggled with if anything was the lack of sunlight. Once every two weeks during winter you would get a sunny day, which is nothing like I am used to growing up in Australia.

It’s colder than you might think!

Other than the lack of Vitamin D, my experience was one I will never forget. I made such an amazing group of friends, all international students, from countries all over Europe, America, Australia which made for an interesting collection of people. I was living in the city in student accommodation, which made it easy to access everything by walking and was studying in the city so class was only a 10 min walk from my house.


The university was super accommodating to international students and had weekly activities for us and organized trips over the country to make sure we had plenty of opportunities to meet new people. This is how I made majority of my friends, and was the best thing the university did for us.

Making friends while on exchange is the best experience

There wasn’t a lot of culture shock as it was an English speaking country, but the Brits have their own slang words that took some time to get used to!

It was a struggle to accommodate to the idea that I wasn’t on holiday the whole time- I was living there- and that it was okay to not be busy the whole time or always doing something.

The main thing that drove me to pick England was the ease of being able to travel all over the country by train and how close it was to be able to go to Europe. I spent my 22nd birthday in Paris and it was the most magical thing I could’ve ever imagined. My exchange experience was the greatest thing I have done with my education and can’t recommend it enough for anyone thinking about it.

Snowball fights and study at Simon Fraser University

Mikaela H
Bachelor of Business (Marketing) / Bachelor of Creative Industries (Fashion Communication)
Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada


In terms of content studied I found SFU’s business units to be on a similar level to QUT’s. However, there were some differences in assessments, grading and how things were taught. For SFU’s business units they are graded on a grading curve, where you marks are determined by how everyone in your class performs too (which can work for or against you). This meant it was quite hard to determine how you were going throughout the semester but worked out for me in the end.

The other thing that was different to QUT for me was class participation marks and the lack of recorded lectures. This meant that class attendance was a must and did mean that I wasn’t able to travel and do as many activities during university as originally planned. Other than this there wasn’t too much of a difference and I really enjoyed studying at SFU.

Well, you just have to get in a snowball fight while in Canada…

Like mentioned earlier my travel was limited due to study but with so many things to do in Vancouver and with Whistler only being 2hrs away I was still able to do a lot of the things I wanted to do. I would however highly recommend having some extra time either before or after study to travel as friends of mine who did not have extra time to travel after study did wish they allowed time to do so. Another tip of mine is take out the extra QUT exchange loan if you feel like you might not have enough money for the trip as it is the worst when you are worried about funds and then are stopping yourself from doing the things you want to be doing.

Overall, I had an amazing exchange, did so many things I’ve never done before like snowboarding as well making some long lasting friendships with people from all over the world as well as Canada.

Snowboarding while on Exchange

Settling in to Simon Fraser, Canada

Mikaela H
Bachelor of Business (Marketing) / Bachelor of Creative Industries (Fashion Communication)
Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada


For semester one of 2017 I partook in an exchange at Simon Fraser University (SFU) in Vancouver, Canada. Doing university at SFU was different from the get go with the semester starting on the 4th of January. For Canada, this was the middle of winter and for Vancouver this usually means a fair bit of rain and snow so make sure you pack your thermals because it gets pretty cold!

It’s cold from the beginning – pack your thermals!

In terms of accommodation I applied for on-campus student accommodation at SFU’s Burnaby campus. The building I stayed in for this consisted of dormitory style buildings in which you had your own room in a hallway of rooms beside each other with a shared bathroom, kitchen and lounge room. If given the chance with exchange anywhere I would highly recommend trying to stay on-campus because I found it a lot easier to make friends as a lot of the people there are in the same boat as you.

The friends I met while staying on campus


Overall, I had an amazing exchange, did so many things I’ve never done before like snowboarding as well making some long lasting friendships with people from all over the world as well as Canada.

Settling into Thai time

It has almost been two weeks since I first touched down in Thailand. Although I haven’t been here long yet, I have already faced so many challenges and have discovered many fascinating things about life in Thailand.

As this is my first blog post I think I am going to answer one of the most common questions I have been asked “why did you choose to study abroad in Thailand?” as well as how settling in to a new and very different home has been so far.

When I decided I wanted to go on exchange I spent a long time working out where exactly I wanted to go. I knew I wanted to go somewhere very different from Australia. I also knew that I wanted to travel quite a bit while I was away so finding somewhere affordable and close to other countries was also important. The last criteria I had was I wanted to be able to receive credit for core subjects while I was abroad. Out of all the options I was given Thammasat University in Bangkok, Thailand was able to tick the most boxes. Whilst for me Thailand seemed to be the best option it was quite clear that for most other students at QUT it was not. The lack of previous students having attended Thammasat University made it difficult to talk to someone who knew exactly what life would be like there. Also, due to the language barrier, many aspects of the university website were confusing and unclear. The lack of information about my studies and other things like how easy it would be to make friends and the best places to live was quite frankly a bit terrifying.

Thammasat University uniform

I arrived in Bangkok on the 2nd of January hoping to relieve some of my concerns during orientation week. The first event that I attended was uniform shopping. Yes, that is correct, in Thailand university students generally wear uniforms. I began to get a better picture of how the university and Thai student life worked after speaking to some of the Thai students that helped us buy our uniforms.

  1. The faculty I was in meant that I only had to wear a uniform when I was having mid-semester or final exams.
  2. Out of the 80 odd new exchange students only one other would be up at the Rangsit campus (just north of Bangkok) with me because most of the English programs were at the campus in the city.
  3. Thai people are really friendly and helpful people.

The university also paired me up with a couple of Thai students who studied up on the Rangsit campus. Both girls that I was paired up with were very lovely and helpful. They guided me on everything from how to get around to where to live. Although I was fortunate to have such supportive people helping me out I still struggled with simple things such as reading and signing the lease of the apartment I am living in. It may have been translated into English but the sentences did not make much sense. Since I was no longer in the tourist area asking a taxi or motorbike driver to take me somewhere was very difficult and it helped me realise how important learning some Thai would be for survival while I am studying here.

I have had one week of classes and so far, I have had a mixture of teachers. Some have been extremely charismatic, and good at English. Whereas others have been quite strict or had to ask other students to help translate some sentences into English for me. Either way being in journalism and communication classes have already proved to be a great way to get an inside look at different issues in Thailand and aspects of Thai culture that are not as obvious. I am very interested to see what the rest of the semester holds.

Although I came to Thailand with a bunch of concerns I have been able to work through all of the challenges and so far I am very happy with how everything is going. Being at Rangsit campus has turned out to be a positive. It has helped me to be able to befriend more Thai students than I would have been able to otherwise. I am also really lucky that the other exchange student in my faculty is really awesome and it has been great to have someone to travel to places near our campus and places closer into Bangkok with. I have learnt so much about Thailand and myself already and cannot wait for the next four and a half months here. I am going to try and post as much as I can on Instagram so if you would like to see more of my travels follow gabcarter.

“This exchange to me was a defining moment in my life.”

I will admit that moving to Italy was not an easy challenge personally as I had not had this type of experience before, in addition to the language barrier that I had to face. It was very intimidating. However, in the moment of being overseas and living there for 6 months I knew that everything there was because of me and thus I was responsible for everything that happened next. As a result I took courage and ventured forth to put myself out there, seeking help, making friends, getting as much experience as I could.

Riva del Garda, the biggest river in Italy on a summers day

To go on exchange is not easy, you expose yourself and let the world absorb you and you experience what the world has to offer. I would definitely recommend anyone to go on exchange, I considered myself to be an introvert before the exchange and during this period I had a change of heart to force myself out there and I can really see the benefits. It’s a risk, but the risk is worth if even if there are times were things are lonesome or grim but the fact of the matter is, you’re on exchange, you’re overseas. Make the most of it, pick yourself up and just get moving.


This exchange to me was a defining moment in my life.


Despite being 6 months, these six months are what made me choose and reaffirm my position not only in this career pathway but the decision for QUT being a university for the real world. I have changed personally, wiser, smarter and generally more open to anything and anyone as to feed my now fond spontaneous nature. Academically, I have had a revelation as to what it is to study, the importance for self-discipline, routine and the need to ask for help when needed. For my thesis work that I had completed, I worked on it alone and to my luck, had someone that worked on a similar material and was able to collaborate and get enough help to push me over the line.

Trying hot pot with a friend from Hong Kong

Working in a lab every week for a long period of time also enabled me to have a sense to how a professional job would feel like, the experience of having meetings, emailing updates, forms, presentations and events. It felt that in the work environment, a laboratory that is close functions well and brings morale high.

This experience is something unlike anything and definitely is my point of reference in my life as to when I changed for the real world. I would strongly recommend anyone to take the chance, take that leap of faith and venture outside the comfort zone and see how it is outside of your own culture and home. To go on exchange is a must at least once during a degree.

Joshua C
Bachelor of Engineering
University of Trento, Italy