Michaela wanted to experience a new culture, so she went on exchange to the University of St Andrews in Scotland when studying her Bachelor of Science – marine biology.
“The marine biology program at St Andrews was more based towards Arctic/Antarctic ecosystems and had many classes on marine mammals which were very different to JCU, being mainly tropical based.”
She said to get involved in all the weird/crazy Scottish/St Andrews traditions and events, “They are so much fun and make sure you budget for things such as going out for meals/drinks, as you will be surprised how much that can cost.”
Michaela’s advice to potential exchange students: “Go for it, don't be scared to do it, it will be the best experience of your life.”
Christopher studied geology, geomorphology, volcanology and electromagnetism at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, while experiencing a different culture and exploring places he had never been before.
He took the opportunity to get involved in an active geological setting that is the world’s largest volcano and said walking on molten rock and collecting lava samples with friends for volcanology was spectacular.
“Due to costs, I would recommend living off campus somewhere close enough to walk because then you get to meet people outside of university.”
“If you think you’re ready, can afford it and can get something valuable out of the experience then go for it and if not, still have a go anyway,” said Christopher.
Alice spent a semester at Chung-Ang University in Seoul, South Korea while studying her Bachelors of Laws and Arts.
The highlight for Alice was making new friends. “I cannot explain how much I appreciate my new friends and how much I will miss them. We were able to laugh at all the mishaps and I know that I will keep in touch with them.”
“For the best experience, make sure you make people aware that you are Australian and show at least some attempt to learn the language,” are Alice’s key tips.
Emilio spent a semester at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark when studying his Bachelor of Sustainability.
“I met amazing people, was challenged by the way another university functions and had to adapt to different social norms. Overall was an amazing time,” he said.
Emilio’s tips: “Save as much as you can before you go, cook your own meals, buy a bike.”
Marysia was attracted to pristine environments and beautiful beaches of Hawaii when she studied her Bachelor of Science – Marine Biology for a semester abroad at Hawaii Pacific University.
“The highlight of my exchange was definitely getting to see the beautiful nature of Hawaii, there are many natural and pristine waterfalls and other scenic locations you get to see, that as a tourist, you wouldn’t have an opportunity to. Getting to meet new people and make good friends was also great, as now there is the opportunity to visit them and see new parts of the world,” she said.
Marysia’s advice: “Just do it, you learn a lot about yourself as well as your host country. You also get to meet a lot of interesting people, make life-long friends while learning about new cultures.”
Kevin studied Information Technology (Computing and Networking) at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense.
He found the lecturers to be extremely friendly and approachable, along with being very proficient in the subjects they are teaching. "Danish lecturers prefer to be called by their first names, a very common custom in Danish culture. They encourage questions and Danish students tend to oblige them, which takes some getting used to.”
“The highlight of my exchange was undertaking different courses in SDU. Coming from an Information Technology background, I decided to use my remaining elective credits to expand my horizons. Completing these courses gave me a fresh perspective on working in the Information Technology industry and I believe that I have learned meaningful and relevant new skills in the process,” said Kevin.
Kevin’s advice: “Be open-minded and immerse yourself in the culture and experience of being an exchange student, you’ll not regret it!”