Why JCU in Cairns:
Since I had to complete a semester abroad as part of my studies, I decided relatively early on for Australia, because the universities have a good reputation, the choice of subjects is huge and the fun factor should also be huge. I decided relatively quickly for James Cook University, but not for Townsville (which is also called Brownsville) but for Cairns, as I am a passionate diver and wanted to combine this with my studies. In addition, there should be fewer German students at the university in Cairns than in Townsville and the town is considered a backpacker oasis.
The application through MicroEDU was straightforward, problem-free and relatively quick. After two weeks I was accepted and could take care of all the preparations. The Australian visa is also quickly applied for and the next day I received it by email.
The flights to Cairns are mostly served with a stopover in Singapore and Sydney (flight time 29h!)
Standing for James Cook University by AbbreviationFinder, the JCU in general is one of the 3% of the best universities in the world and has an enormous number of courses that you can take almost any. The International Office is very committed and once a month offers a meet and greet with free lunch and many different activities such as hitting and reptile experiences, laser tag games, pool parties and much more. In addition, various excursions are organized every month, which can be booked at a lower price through the university (the Toni tours are highly recommended). Every Friday there is a social club where there are free sausages and many students meet to get to know each other and talk, there is also always a raffle and once a month the social club is celebrated together. The JCU also offers many sports facilities and, following the semester, PADI diving courses at greatly reduced prices. The university really does a good job, everyone is nice and easy going – no worries!
The JCU provides excellent information to its students by e-mail and all relevant information is also available on the website. A free pick-up service is available at the airport (but must be booked in advance).
The student lodge, the houses of the Cairns Sharehouse or many shared accommodation options are available for accommodation.
Regarding the Student Lodge it can be said that it is located very outside the city – but very close to the university. I personally decided against the lodge because the rooms have no cooking facilities and are very far from the city. Afterwards I heard from a fellow student that the food left a lot to be desired and that the price-performance ratio was not okay. During my semester abroad I lived in a Sharehouse right in town (mostly with a pool or jacuzzi) and had really great flatmates who came from all over the world.
The orientation event for foreign students takes place on the Friday before the normal orientation phase and should definitely be attended, because here you usually find the friends you spend the entire semester with and you get very important information about the course of the university, leisure activities and life down under. The orientation week should definitely be attended, as the Uniblackboard and all other applications that the students will use at the Jcu are explained very well here. Seminars on scientific work are also offered, which are very helpful for future assignments. In addition, there were many interesting additional courses that you can take in the O-week, free lunch every day (pizza or sausages), a film evening,
Courses: I personally had to take courses from the HR area due to university requirements. I took the following courses: Employee Relations, Organizational Change, Professional and Personal Skills in Business and Contemporary Issues in HR Management. Regarding the courses, it can generally be said that you write a midterm and a final exam and, depending on the course, have several assignments, presentations and group work – but that’s half as bad. None of the courses had to be present, which is why there were few students present, especially in the first-year courses, which is actually a shame, as the professors tried very hard in my courses. On the whole, we were never more than 20 people in the lectures and tutorials. Because the student plan can be designed very flexibly, for example I was only at the university 2 days a week and had a lot of time for other activities (see point Cainrs and the surrounding area). All course descriptions of the JCU are described in great detail on the website and with a little learning, the exams / assignments / presis can be passed well.
Cairns and the surrounding area
Cairns offers countless opportunities to spend your free time. The city itself is located directly on the sea, but due to the tides it does not have its own beach (similar to the North Sea) but there is a large lagoon pool with sea water and plenty of space for sunbathing.
Sports programs such as beach volleyball, Zumba, circuit training, aqua aerobics, etc. are also offered free of charge at the lagoon (esplanade).
The Cairns Central Mall is great for shopping and the DFO sells designer clothes for little money.
The Northern Beaches bathing beaches can also be reached within 20 minutes by bus and are simply fantastic (do not be irritated by the crocodiles or jellyfish danger signs, but stingray and jellyfish season is from mid-November to mid-March; that means only swim in the nets).
The Great Barrier Reef can be reached quickly and countless diving companies go to various reefs to dive them. Diving is an absolute must in Cairns and highly recommended because of the sharks, turtles, whales, dolphins and Napoleon fish. If you want to get a diving license, you should definitely do it.
The islands of Green Island and Fitzroy Island can be reached within 1 hour by ferry / excursion boat and offer the Robinson Cruzo feeling. Although you can snorkel better on Green Island and relax on Fitzroy (or go to the infamous parties once a month).
The hinterland of Cairns is dominated by the jungle. Rainforests far and wide and in between beautiful waterfalls and freshwater rivers in which you can swim (without crocodiles) – simply heavenly!
Excursion destinations are definitely Cape Tribulation, Port Douglas and the Tablelands.
Since Cairns is a holiday destination, there are always a lot of tourists, which is why there are countless restaurants, bars and clubs.
Whether salsa bars, Irish pubs, clubs or large disco, Cairns has something to offer every day. You can really party every day in the evening and you also get to know a lot of people.
Our personal regular club was the Woolshed, as you could eat and party relatively cheaply.
But be careful, Australia is relatively expensive, so you can quickly pay 15-20 dollars for a cocktail, which is why we switched to goon, beer and mixed drinks.
In the Japanese-influenced night market, you can get massages for 15 dollars and buy all kinds of souvenirs.
Anyone who likes extreme activities such as sky diving, bungy jumping (the only one in Australia) or rafting – no problem in Cairns, everything is possible.
My conclusion, if you are looking for a semester abroad in the “jungle” with a holiday feeling and always tropical (23-33 degrees) temperatures, want to do a lot, party and study at one of the best universities, you should go to Cairns and spend your time abroad under the motto “No worries” enjoy.