Politechnico di Milao: A few fast facts

Krystel – Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy: Semester 1, 2016

Dreaming of an Italian Exchange? Why not head to Milano?

Fashion capital of Italy and gelato to-die-for. But that’s not all Milan has to offer; here is a list of interesting facts about Milan, from QUT student Krystel who spent 6 months studying in this beautiful city.

Piazza del Duomo (Milan Cathedral), Milan

Piazza del Duomo (Milan Cathedral), Milan

The first Politecnico university was established November 29, 1863, by Francesco Brioschi, a politician, mathematician and hydraulic engineer.

Initially, the university was specific to Civil and Industrial Engineering only.

It focused on scientific and technical teachings, and was based on the same model as German and Swiss polytechnic universities.

1865, architecture joined the school.

View from the Florence Duomo Bell-tower

View from the Florence Duomo Bell-tower

Students renamed the school ‘The Brioschi Asylum’ due to strict disciplinary provisions, and classes were held through from Monday to Saturday

In the first year, there were only 30 students and seven auditors, and the first graduates reduced to 25 students.

The first female student enrolled 1888, however, the first female to graduate was not until 1913.

Female student enrolment increased over the years, however, in the mid 1940s, out of approximately 9500 graduates, only just over 100 females graduated.

At the end of the 1990s, women accounted for over 50% of the students registered in Industrial Design.

If you want to hear more about Krystel’s Italian Exchange experience. Keep an eye out for the next part of her story on the QUT Gone Global Blog.

For more information on QUT Student Exchange Options visit our website.

Thinking About Going on Exchange? Do it.

My final exams are over, Bishop’s is closing for the holidays and by now the majority of my wardrobe is purple, so I guess that means my time here as a student is up!

Applying to go on exchange and choosing Bishop’s has been the best decision I’ve ever made. So I want to take a moment to say to anyone who might be considering going on an exchange (or even if you’re not), do it! There are so many amazing places out there, choose somewhere you’ve always wanted to go or somewhere that looks cool to you and just go for it. Get that second job and start saving, work hard for a scholarship that can get you there, plan a budget that works for you, boost your grades and take the time to put together a great application – whatever it is you can do to make it happen, if you can do it, I guarantee it’ll be worth it.

My advice once you get there? Immerse yourself in the university life, embrace the foreign culture, stay in contact with family and friends back home, study (not too much! but enough to pass), make new friends, party, travel and just have fun with it – it really is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

What I love about the student exchange program is that it’s more than just travelling and more than just studying. I got the chance to live in another country for the first time, have the ‘college experience’, be the ‘foreign exchange student’, and meet people and learn things I wouldn’t have had the chance to otherwise. If you’re experience is anything like mine, you’ll have the time your life.

I also just want to take a second to mention, it’s ‘pass or fail’. Okay, I’ll leave it at that.

So after all this, if you’re wondering why I’m not an absolute mess right now about having to leave, because I’m so in love with this place and the people in it, I’ll be returning for a visit to Bishop’s in January to say my goodbyes before I fly back home to Australia. Until then – I might not be an exchange student anymore but that doesn’t mean the adventure is over yet! I came all this way, so now it’s time to travel!

Cost of Living in London and Travel

Hannah: City University London, Semester 1, 2016

I did not fully comprehend how much living in London would cost until I got over there, however I had enough savings to not stress about money, live comfortably and enjoy many travel opportunities. This should definitely be communicated to future exchange students, as I met other students who really limited their opportunities until the end before travelling because they were constantly budgeting. Throughout the semester I had time to travel to Iceland, Switzerland, Budapest, Prague, Vienna and Scotland. I did a few trips in England including Nottingham, Peterborough and Cambridge, although I regret not being organised enough to visit some other places.

hannah_craig5

The Alps

After my exams finished, my lease also finished and I begin a five-week solo travel experience across Europe. From London I travelled to Norway before visiting Copenhagen, Berlin, Munich, Innsbruck, Salzburg, Venice, Rome, Florence, Milan, Barcelona, Paris and Amsterdam. It was such an amazing experience I met lovely people in Hostels along the way and saw beautiful architecture, cities and natural landscapes. Travelling was definitely a highlight of my trip although it was lonely at times I made use of every opportunity and I was able to meet a friend made through the exchange program on my last stop in Amsterdam.

Colosseum

Colosseum

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Travel Pic

City University was different from QUT in terms of diversity of culture; it was so refreshing to be in a country and university, embracing difference and acceptance. London is one of the most multicultural countries in the world, although I felt Australia was quite diverse, London was nowhere I had ever been, it was so exciting to be immersed in culture, language and practices. I was able to develop cultural awareness about different cultures through my classes and interactions with other students. My exchange experience has been a truly rewarding and memorable experience I will always cherish and would recommend it to any student at QUT.

My Glasgow Highlights and Advice

Ashleigh: University of Glasgow, Semester 1, 2016

There are so many things I should put in this section, but my top five highlights (in no particular order) would be going to a beach and hot spa in Reykjavik, Iceland in the middle of Winter, the torchlight procession at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, New Year’s Eve from Westminster Bridge, spending my birthday looking over Barcelona and taking a sunset cruise in Santorini!

Looking over Barcelona on my Birthday

Looking over Barcelona on my Birthday

Sunset Cruise in Santorini

Sunset Cruise in Santorini

Tips and Advice

Firstly, budget more than you estimate you’ll need as a contingency and have some Australian currency spare in case your wallet goes missing or you need more changed over quickly. Then, be flexible when you travel so you can spend as little as possible while still getting the most out of it. Most importantly, no matter where you go or how much travel you do, don’t get stuck with people you find from back home. Go out, get involved in the culture and meet people from everywhere! This is a piece of advice I was given on my flight over and something which I will always take with me because if you stick with the same people, you’ll probably keep doing the same thing and won’t really experience the culture as much as you could.

New Years Eve in London

New Years Eve in London

Life at the University of Glasgow

Ashleigh: University of Glasgow, Scotland – Semester 1, 2016

I went on exchange to Glasgow for two semesters. While overseas for eleven months I travelled and learned a lot about different cultures, different ways of teaching and, most importantly, I learned a lot about myself as a person.

Scotland/United Kingdom is a great place to go as you have a very similar cultural background, but you’re close to so many different countries which have different lifestyles and are just incredible to see! Cost-wise, travel itself was pretty cheap once I arrived. As long as you’re flexible with dates and times and can get away with just cabin baggage and you’re willing to stay in hostels, you can have a weekend away for no more than $150! Of the eleven months I was away, I spent about three of those travelling and I still wish I saw more.

The cost of living wasn’t too bad in my opinion, but I still live with my parents so I don’t have much to compare it to. Some leisure activities (for example, movies) can be more expensive, but it’s generally around the same pricing as back home.

Part of the beautiful university campus

Part of the beautiful university campus

The view from campus

The view from campus

I stayed in halls that were about a 45-minute walk from the university campus, but my main reason for choosing it was because they were catered and we received two meals a day. The halls were nothing fancy, but I got one of the largest rooms which was great, and I had my own bathroom. The campus, on the other hand, was amazing. The main building is from the 1800s and on top of probably the only hill in Glasgow so you got a view of most of the city from there.

There were more food courts than at QUT (including a cafeteria in the library!) and they all had snacks, sandwiches and drinks at the least. Then there were two student unions which ran a lot of events and had bars and a nightclub, so there was always something happening if you got sick of studying.

The timetables were slightly different, with up to three lectures a week and a tutorial every second week. But the tutorials were much smaller, meaning that it felt more like a discussion rather than a lesson and I much preferred that.

We had snow one weekend!

We had snow one weekend!

My room in Glasgow

My room in Glasgow

Iceland – The land of fire and ice

For some crazy reason I decided to apply to study abroad in Iceland. It’s about as far away from Brisbane as you can get both in distance and differences. Brisbane is sunny, warm and relaxed for most of the year; Reykjavik is cold, overcast and windy. Honestly though, this is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been.

 

First Impressions

I arrived in Reykjavik about a week ago. It took almost two days (and four long flights) to get to the other side of the world, surprisingly. During the cab ride from the airport I could see the famous church, Hallgrímskirkja, in the distance and I knew I was close to my apartment and, more importantly, close to showering for the first time in 40 hours!
My initial impression of the city: I love it. The buildings are the classic European style with the pointy roofs, there are a few churches breaking up the skyline before hitting the city. The weather for the most part has been overcast, grey, cloudy and sometimes windy; personally I love this kind of weather so I know I’ve come to the right place.

The people here are very polite, especially the drivers. Basically everyone speaks English, definitely any shopkeepers or cab drivers, which is a huge relief. I was concerned about the language barrier since I do not speak Icelandic and while I would love to learn it I don’t think I’d even have a chance to make much progress in the short time I’m here. It looks unlike anything I’ve ever seen, not to mention the actual letters I have never seen such as ð, þ and æ.

 

Adjusting to living away from home

I moved out of my parents house over a year ago so I’m used to not seeing my family and friends everyday, but to be in a completely new town, country and hemisphere was something I was worried about. Another concern I had was that obviously I’m going to have to talk to a lot of people, I’m a bit introverted and this is something I’ve freaked out over in the past. Honestly, I’ve been expecting a breakdown. Instead I’ve just been incredibly happy. I feel like this is definitely the the next stage of my life, I know the next few months are going to be a lot of fun.

 

 

Seven Reasons Why I’m Continuing My Tertiary Studies Overseas

Studying overseas is one of the most beneficial experiences you can have as a university student – something I was quick to learn. Want to know what won me over? Check out seven of the top reasons I decided to study overseas!
  1. It gives me the opportunity to travel. Student exchange will allow me to travel to another country (England) and explore its culture, traditions and beauties in-depth and over an extended period of time. In addition, studying overseas will also mean that I have the opportunity to travel to other nearby countries. This interests me, as I would like to experience the wonders of the world.
  2. It allows me to experience a different style of education. By studying abroad, I will have the opportunity to experience a style of teaching that I would not be privy to in Australia. Furthermore, I believe this will give me the chance to see a different side of my journalism degree.
  3. It allows me to experience a different side of the journalism profession. As noted in the previous point, studying abroad will allow me to experience a different side of my journalism degree. This is especially notable, as journalism has been a profession in England for over 300 years – before Australia was even colonized!
  4. It gives me the opportunity to gain unique experiences. A lot of my Journalism-student peers have taken a gap year (or gap month/s), in which they went overseas. They have interesting stories, experiences and outlooks from that year (or month/s) abroad, and often times, it even resulted in their decision to purse journalism as a career. Student exchange will allow me to undertake a similar experience while allowing me to complete my degree.
  5. It looks good on my resume. This is especially notable if I manage to pick up any placements or internships while overseas.
  6. It gives me the opportunity to make lifelong friends. While studying abroad, I’ll meet students from my host country who have backgrounds unique to Australia. This will benefit me, as I could potentially establish long-lasting relationships with unique persons, who could also be excellent points of network in the future.
  7. It allows me to achieve personal development. Being in a different country will test my ability to function in a variety of new, diverse situations. It will encourage me to be independent, explorative and self-reliant.

Life In Swansea

LIFE IN SWANSEA

When I first got to Swansea I was getting around in shorts with an occasional jumper at night. Before getting to Swansea everyone kept telling me to bring two things, a coat and an umbrella… My first couple of weeks these two ‘essentials’ were gathering dust in my room so I was under the impression that everyone was just pulling my leg. All the locals kept reminding me that this is abnormally warm and dry for this time of year. The nights felt like a warm winter’s evening so it wasn’t a shock by any stretch. Swansea is one of the UK’s wettest places and I soon found out although it was raining often it was never to the extent of a Queensland afternoon thunderstorm despite the claims of ‘heavy rain’. Read more

First week so far…

What a ride. I think I can honestly say that I have felt almost the entire spectrum of human emotions in just a week.

It turns out I misjudged how long I would have to wait in airports, making my trip a total of 36 hours. As you can imagine, sitting down to even eat a meal made me wonder whether I’d spontaneously combust. But alas, I am here and settled in to my little apartment. I was lucky in picking my accommodation because I am right next to the market square where the beautiful town hall of Maastricht is located.

The centre of market square – Maastricht

Maastricht University’s School of Business and Economics had their introductory days on Thursday and Friday last week. Not only was it valuable to find your way around campus and meet some fellow students, but the introduction to the Dutch lifestyle really helped to provide an insight in to some interesting observations I have made.

1. There are so many people out and about at all hours of the day. Do these people have jobs?
Answer: Turns out the Dutch aren’t lazy. According to one of the doctors from the university, the Dutch just value their leisure time.

2. Maastricht has more bicycles than people, but why aren’t they riding fancy bikes?
Answer:  The Dutch love sturdy, old bikes. The older your bike is and still functioning relatively well, the better your bike is perceived to be. If only we had a similar mindset in Australia, then I’d be very popular with my car.

3. There seems to be no clearly visible authoritative figure, what the?
Answer: Don’t get me wrong, there are many police visible on the streets, but the Dutch are very strong in their belief of everybody being equal – there is no clear class differentiation and no boasting of political power. This belief seems to work because everyone is respectful and conscientious of one another.

These observations I found very interesting and sometimes uncomfortable. I will report in once I kick off my classes this week under the “Problem Based Learning” system, where the students take control whilst the tutor merely guides the class. It should be… interesting.

One down and one to go

Two weeks in and I have now completed the International Business unit. If you are looking at doing International Business, I highly recommend it. Not only did I learn the basics of International Business but also information on trade economics, international marketing and international organisational structures. Thus covering many of the broader factors relevant for International Business. Ignoring the intensity of the course (cramming one semester into two weeks), the course was very interesting and will definitely assist with my future business endeavors.

Further, having diversity of culture within the class, it made for greater insight into the workings of various countries and for interesting discussions. Smaller class sizes of 5-10 people also allowed the greater interaction between students but also greater teacher to student interaction. For me, this learning environment has been much more effective in ensuring I understand and know the content of the class and works much better for intensive study.

As a treat for completing the first subject, Grenoble School of Management took the class on a trip to Paris…

Eiffel Tower by Ellie Bakker

Eiffel Tower by Ellie Bakker

Spending a weekend in Paris with my school summer group was such a fantastic experience. A few of us rented a bike (free for each half hour increment) and traveled to all of the major monuments in Paris such as Notre Dame, Lourve, Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Elysees and Eiffel Tower (of course)! I also wanted to enhance the “French” stereotype so I got wine, baguettes and cheese and had a picnic under the Eiffel Tower (photo above of Eiffel Tower).

Versailles by Ellie Bakker

Versailles by Ellie Bakker

I also took a trip to Chateau de Versailles. There I explored the amazing gardens and the house of Marie-Antoinette. Unfortunately, time did not allow for a visit through the Palace but I will be venturing back to see this in a few weeks. If you have a chance, I highly recommend the 45 minute trip from Paris to Versailles. So much history, beauty and amazing architecture.

I will be sure to post again soon about the progress of my next subject, digital marketing and any other adventures I get up to.