Why study abroad?

Going abroad for a semester has taught me so much about the world and about myself, and I really would recommend it to anyone that has the opportunity. Some of it has been really hard, I will admit. But it has all been worth it.

The biggest problem I had was with my units when I got here. This really stressed me out because I was worried I would lose my scholarships since I would only be enrolled part time at QUT. Another big challenge I had was home sickness; it took about 50 days before I realised I was home sick. Iceland is pretty much exactly on the opposite side of the world from Brisbane, so the time difference was really difficult to deal with, not being able to talk to my friends or family during the day because everyone is asleep. I dealt with it by talking more to my family and friends back home whenever possible. Something else that was really well timed were some road trips I went on with some new friends I’d made here. They really helped remind me why I was here, on the other side of the world; to see this beautiful country.

Lanmannalaugar is in the highlands. I took a Greylines tour (~$300AU) and it was pretty great. The bus drive was about 3 or 4 hours, a lot of this was off road so it was a bit exciting. We stopped every hour or so for food or toilet breaks or to take photos of some beautiful landscapes. This is one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen in my life and I highly recommend going here if you get the chance (they close down the place in winter I believe). When we arrived we took a 2 hour hike through the dried magma fields, then we had a bit of time to go swimming in the geothermal hot springs. It was so beautiful and the land was so diverse and different around every corner. This was one of my favourite places, and my first time outside the city.

Ljotipollur Lake; a lake inside a crater in the highlands

Gljúfrabúi


I also drove the south coast along the ring road with some other exchange students. It only took us a few hours to drive there, not including

all the stops along the way. We saw a lot of breathtaking waterfalls, including Seljalandsfoss, Gljúfrabúi, Skógafoss and Svartifoss (Black Waterfall). We also visited the black sand beach and the glacier lagoons. One of the more memorable places we went to on this trip was the first swimming pool in Iceland. We had to hike about 10 minutes to get to a small concrete pool, natural heated by the geothermal hot water, and pitch black with moss. Getting changed into our togs felt like a race against the cold, but you were more concerned about accidental dropping your clothes on the mud covered floor.

The black sand beach, Reynisfjara

 

Svartifoss (Black Waterfall).

Another wonderful road trip was to the north of Iceland, Akureyri. This trip was more about the landscape, and involved a lot more driving but was just as amazing. While in the north I went whale watching, but this was a huge mistake since I didn’t realise how sea sick I would be until we left the harbour. So I spent the next 3 hours with my head between my knees. We also saw more waterfalls and canyons and swam in the “Blue lagoon of the North”.

We ventured a bit out of our way to find the cave where a scene from Game of Thrones was shot

So it’s safe to say I had a few “wow” moments. I just couldn’t believe I was all the way over here in this beautiful country; a year ago I would never have guessed this is where I’d be.

It’s also pretty convenient for other travelling around Europe or America. I went to Copenhagen for a week and the flights were only $200AU. I’ve heard flights to New York are about the same price.

Clarice’s South Korean Short-Term Exchange Experience

Clarice: Seoul, South Korea – Short Term Program 2016

As a student in Seoul, I find it to be so much cheaper than being a student in Brisbane; especially when it comes to our daily food and caffeine needs. I would barely spend over 10,000won (about AUD11-12) a day while I was studying there and it would cover all my breakfast, lunch and dinner needs. If you’re lazy enough, you could always buy convenience store lunchboxes (which can have things like rice, meat and kimchi) for 3,000-3,800won (AUD4-5) and it is very filling.

Samgyeopsal

And of course, when one is in Seoul, one would need to try the famous “Samgyeopsal” (or “pork belly”) which is the slab of meat in the middle. I find that Korean meats taste vastly different (and honestly, a lot better) from Australian meats. For this meal, we usually barbecue the meats on the plate and accompany it with a few drinks (no guesses as to what those drinks are) and lots of lettuce, to balance the flavour of meat and vegetables. Generally, a meal like this would cost about AUD70, but I had it for about 30,000won (around AUD32) for 3 people.

Painfully cheap….and something I will never get while I’m back in Brisbane.

I would say that Seoul is a wonderful place for an overseas study experience, because it is so different from Australia in terms of culture and student life, and EWHA Woman’s University is an amazing place to find out a lot more about feminist issues (such as the unending justice for the “comfort” women during the Japanese invasion) and that, being feminist does not necessarily mean the Western view of loud and proud feminism, but rather, a social issue that has to be faced with quiet dignity in order to make the world a better place for not only women, but men too.

One of the many delicious lunch that we students would often go out for once morning classes are over.

One of the many delicious lunch that we students would often go out for once morning classes are over.

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the male professors and most of the male students who were there for the co-ed summer program were also genuine feminists and supported many social issues that women still face.

My time in EWHA has certainly changed me for the better, and helped me in recognising many aspects of myself as a woman that I never knew existed. I will always fondly remember my time there as a student and if given the chance, would not hesitate to do a longer exchange program next time round. I also highly recommend the EWHA Woman’s University International Co-ed Summer College to anyone interested, because I guarantee you will come away learning so much more than just academically.

Does Clarice’s experience interest you? Find out more about QUT’s Short Term Study Options.

Our wonderful history class, with a few people missing, and Prof Michael in the middle. We’re standing in front of EWHA's very own museum which houses a private collection of art and sculpture pieces donated by the alumni of EWHA.

Our wonderful history class, with a few people missing, and Prof Michael in the middle. We’re standing in front of EWHA’s very own museum which houses a private collection of art and sculpture pieces donated by the alumni of EWHA.

10 things I love about SUNY Oswego

SUNY Oswego has really stolen my heart, to the point where I have now extended my exchange for another semester! I never expected to fall in love with a town in the middle of upstate New York but somehow I am the happiest I have ever been. I am so beyond thankful for the experiences I have had so far and look forward to the memories to come. Here I share the top 10 things I love about my school!

1. The lake: SUNY Oswego sits right on Lake Ontario which separates the United States from Canada. Here you will find some of the most breathtaking sunsets you will have ever experienced. During the beginning of the fall semester (August) I would bring my homework to the lake and soak in the sun for hours after my classes were done for the day. It’s a great place to hang out with friends, take a dip in the water and just simply relax!

2. Food: If you read my last blog post, you’ll understand how much I love the dining halls here at SUNY Oswego. My personal favourites are the unlimited ice cream parlours, made-to-order pizza and chocolate milk on tap. You’ll never be disappointed with what’s on offer amongst the five dining halls across campus. If that’s not enough to satisfy you there’s also a variety of cafes you can choose from and use your ‘dining dollars’. If you’re eating off campus I highly recommend trying Sub shop, Wonzone’s Calzones and Dino’s!

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3. Snow: November 21, 2016 marked the very first day I saw snow! Coming from the sunny Gold Coast, snow is not a common sighting so this day was super special! The fact I had never seen snow really excited and shockedsome of my friends.  I made a snowman, snow angel and even had a snowball fight. Another great thing about snow is snow days! We were blessed with a snow day due to the wild wind and snow covered roads.

4. The social aspect: There is literally always something to do. Unlike QUT, SUNY Oswego prides itself on student involvement and always has something fun on. Whether it be hockey games, bonfires or concerts there’s always an opportunity to socialize! During the first few weeks of the semester there is almost something on every single day; you’ll find free fairy floss, pretzels, snow cones, therapy dogs and fun activities like photo booths, build-a-bear and even bull riding!

5. Location: I know what you’re thinking.. How can Oswego be a great location? You’d be surprised! Although Oswego is approximately five hours from New York City, we are so close to little treasures unable to be found anywhere else in the world. We’re just a short drive from some beautiful national parks, Niagra Falls and the Canadian border for those interested in venturing up north! Close by there is Ontario Orchards, the Bluffs and Bevs Ice Cream just to name a few. Oswego town and Syracuse also offers some cute stores and eateries.

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6. My dorm room: I originally lived in Scales Hall, one of the older buildings on campus but transferred to Onondaga Hall due to my decision to stay an additional semester (and Scales was closing for renovations in the spring). I now live in a suite on the tenth floor (a suite generally has three bedrooms with six people living in the room). The six suite mates share a lounge room and bathroom, which I much prefer over my original accommodation. My room also has a stunning view of the lake, and my new room mate is one of my very best friends! Another great thing about Onondaga (commonly referred to as Daga) is that there is a gym, dining hall and computer lab located in the basement.

7. Classes: I’m not going to lie, classes here are far easier than those at home. I’m a straight A student here at Oswego, and I can assure you I am far from that at home. Although classes are compulsory and participation is included within your final grade I really enjoy the teaching style here.

8. Extra curricular activities: There is seriously something for everyone on campus! I urge all new students to go to student involvement fair and sign up for anything that interests you! It’s a great way to put yourself out there and make a bunch of new friends outside of classes. I initially was apart of the dance club and soccer team before joining my sorority.

9. People: Everyone I come in contact with on campus is always friendly and goes out of their way to either hold the door open or greet me with a smile. Not once have I felt homesick during my time here, everyone goes out of their way to make me feel right at home.

10. Sigma Delta Tau: My home away from home. Sigma Delta Tau is one of four national sororities on campus. I was lucky enough to join this sisterhood during the fall 16 semester, and can honestly say it’s one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I now have 45 beautiful new best friends and memories to last a lifetime. These girls continue to shower with me with love and support and I could not be more grateful for them taking me in and making me always feel so at home.

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The Beta Theta’s of Sigma Delta Tau!

Please email me (bellajackson@hotmail.com.au) If you have any questions at all about SUNY Oswego or studying abroad in general. I’m more than happy to help! You can also follow me on Instagram (@bellajackson) to keep up with my adventures.

How was studying at HTW?

Chloe: HTW Berlin, Semester 1, 2016

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Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral)

The university program was very different to what I was used to in Australia. The course had no real structure and the teachers had carte blanche to decide what the content was, what the assessment was and when the assessment occurred. For example, I was doing the same subject as one of my friends and we had completely different content, different assignments and exams and different course time frames. One of my teachers was pregnant so she did the entire course in 6 weeks, so I had already finished one of my classes by mid-May. My friends in the other class had to do the subject for the entire semester with a final exam in July. I found this very strange as the QUT program is so structured and uniform, everyone studies exactly the same thing, does the exact same assessment and all sit the exam simultaneously. No lectures or tutorials in Berlin were recorded, some classes had no lecture slides or overview of content and there were no prescribed textbooks. It was difficult to follow a lot of the content as the teachers had varying levels of English proficiency. Being a native English speaker was a huge advantage, as non-fluent speakers really struggled to understand what was going on. Sometimes it was very difficult to understand what the teacher meant and understand the PowerPoint slides, as a lot of the time it seemed like they had just copied and pasted the German wording into Google Translate and then put it on a lecture slide. This resulted in some very strange sentences and it wasn’t always immediately clear what their point was.

Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral)

Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral)

The highlights of my experience were being able to travel by myself and see more of Europe, meeting so many incredible people from all over the world along the way. I also

University Building

University Building

enjoyed having so much time to just explore Berlin. I was able to spend an entire day in one museum, perusing slowly and taking everything in, as opposed to rushing through like I had done on the first time I was there. I loved walking around every day in a city filled with so much history and seeing the classic tourist sites like Brandenburg Gate and the Berlin Wall never got old. All in all it was a truly incredible experience and I learnt a lot about myself and how I cope with adversity.

 

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.

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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.

Why I Chose To Study Journalism Abroad at Sheffield Hallam University

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You’ve dreamt about studying journalism abroad for years, and now the time has come to choose the university you want to study at in the UK. There’s just one catch: you need to sort through all of QUTs compatible UK universities with a journalism degree to find the one that’s right for you. It sounds like a lot, but don’t stress! Whatever you want from an overseas university – whether it be an ease-of-travel location or accredited journalism experience – Sheffield Hallam University will be a definite contender for one of your top three preferences.

IT’S SITUATED IN A CHARMING, STUDENT-FRIENDLY CITY

Sheffield Hallam University is based in Sheffield; a city in which one in every ten residents is a student. With such a large amount of students in its populous, Sheffield has developed with its students in mind – it’s safe, green, cheap, independent and lively!

…WHICH BOASTS A VIBRANT STUDENT-FRIENDLY NIGHTLIFE

To cater to such a large student population, Sheffield has established a diverse, student-safe nightlife. Pubs, clubs, restaurants and cinemas offer discounts to anyone wielding a student card and student nights are held during the week, to avoid the weekend rush. Talk about convenience!

IT’S IN A STRATEGIC SWEET SPOT

Sheffield is at the midway point between London (England’s capital city) and Edinburgh (Scotland’s capital city), making it the perfect place to study at if you want to explore the UK.

IT FEATURES MOST FORMS OF NATIONAL AND INTERANTIONAL TRAVEL

Sheffield links into national motorways, national and local bus lines, inland waterway services and local cycling routes. It also boasts several major railway routes via the Sheffield railway station – perfect for those fleeting weekend getaways. To top it off, Sheffield also neighbours Leeds Bradford International airport, which flies to over 75 European destinations. Talk about it being too easy to travel abroad!

IT’S NOT TOO COLD

Temperatures average at about 15°C during Sheffield’s hottest month of the year, August, and dip down to an average of 3°C in its coldest month, January. Don’t get me wrong, those are some cold temperatures – but it’s not the wear-ten-pairs-of-socks kind of cold. Plus, the small variance in temperatures between the seasons ensures the transition from summer to winter (and back again) isn’t too much of an unsettling experience.

ITS PRIVATE ACCOMADATION IS CHEAP

The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment or complex in Sheffield is around £130 per week. This is a lot cheaper than the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the UK, which sits at around £185 per week. However, it’s still a fair amount, especially considering the conversion rate from dollars to pounds. The good news is Sheffield Hallam University has a solution for this – student accommodation!

…AND ITS STUDENT ACCOMADATION IS EVEN CHEAPER

Sheffield Hallam University’s student accommodation is grouped into three price ranges to ensure there’s housing suitable for every student’s budget. With prices starting at £81 per week, these properties are significantly cheaper than private accommodation. Plus, they often come with additional benefits, such as security, designated parking and a close proximity to campus.

IT’S A WORLD RENOWED UNIVERSITY

Sheffield Hallam University has a great reputation internationally, thanks to its success as one of Britain’s most progressive and innovative universities. Studying at a university with such a solid international reputation looks great on paper, and can even open the door to enriching connections, internships or jobs in the future!

IT FEATURES EXPERT EDUCATORS

All of the teaching staff at Sheffield Hallam University are experts in their academic subjects. This not only helps inspire student learning, but also allows you to make important real world connections.

IT HAS A DEDICATED INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE TEAM

Sheffield Hallam University’s international experience team rolls out the red carpet service before you even set foot in England. They offer a 24-hour turnover time for emails, advice on how to prepare for your semester abroad and – shocker – the team will even help you with your visa application. This great service doesn’t stop once you arrive, with the team operating an optional (and free!) airport pick-up service from Manchester Airport to Sheffield Hallam University. New international students are also welcome to join entertaining orientation events held by the international experience team to get to know their campus, settle in and meet other campus newbies.

IT’S GOT AN ACCREDITED JOURNALISM DEGREE

The BA (Honours) of Journalism is taught by award-winning journalists and academics – all of whom are members of the Association of Journalism Educators. And as if that’s wasn’t incentive enough, the course is also ranked in the top ten journalism degrees in the UK in the Guardian University Guide, 2016!

IT PREPARES ME FOR MY CAREER

All of Sheffield Hallam University’s courses are designed to maximise your job prospects – even during my semester as an international exchange student! Their BA (Honours) Journalism degree will help me get industry-ready with:

  • Practical experience, such as: creating a live online newspaper; writing articles for magazines; and producing TV and radio packages.
  • The option to undertake work experience at a media organisation for credit points – a great way to spice up my resume while overseas!
  • And, the option to specialise in areas such as sports journalism, feature writing and social media.

My First Glimpse of London

Hannah: City University London, Semester 1, 2016

I had the pleasure of travelling and living in London, United Kingdom for the last six months. I was lucky enough to find accommodation with another student from QUT, Rosie Jones. We lived in a share house in Canary Wharf and studied at City University London. City Uni unfortunately did not offer on-campus living accommodation because it was not a partner school with QUT. The university was quite small compared to QUT, but the staff and students were very friendly and engaging community.

Buckingham Palace, London

Buckingham Palace, London

During the semester, students were campaigning for student election and it was very evident the students felt passionately and were dedicated to improving their university experiences. My initial orientation was very informative; I had the opportunity to meet other students involved in the exchange program in the sociology department. The staff provided extensive sessions to communicate all of the essential information from using online resources to social events and counseling services. Through email I was constantly kept up to date with important information, upcoming workshops and opportunities. I was able to easily access the counseling support services when I was having difficulty transitioning in the first few months, which allowed me to develop the confidence to go travelling.

Living in Berlin

Chloe: HTW Berlin, Semester 1, 2016

I spent Semester 1 of 2016 on exchange at HTW Berlin, Germany. I chose to study in Berlin because I had visited the city with my family in 2011 and fallen in love with the culture and the historical significance of the city. I did not know anyone else going to Germany, so I was very nervous. I arrived in early March for 3 weeks of orientation before classes began in early April.

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Reichstag Building (Parliament Dome)

I did not speak any German prior to moving to Berlin and this was a huge challenge throughout the semester. Very few people spoke English and a lot of the administrative information was only provided to us in German. I had to sign a lease in German as well as organise a phone plan, bank account and apply for a Visa extension. Fortunately the exchange office at HTW was very helpful with translation problems and made things a lot easier for us.

Dorm Room

Dorm Room

I was lucky to be allocated to one of the student dormitories, so I was able to make friends very quickly. Living in the same building as so many other exchange students was the best decision I made, as it allowed me to settle in a lot faster. The international dormitory was on the outskirts of the city, so it took around half an hour to get to the university campus and about 45 minutes to get into the city. Being located in the fast East of Berlin was very interesting, as all of the architecture was reminiscent of the Russian presence during the Cold War.

Dorm Kitchen

Dorm Kitchen

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.