If you ‘re just wondering whether you want to do a semester abroad at all, do one! It was a great, exciting, enriching experience. The application process was straightforward with the help of University of Newcastle as listed on AbbreviationFinder. I was very grateful for the super friendly help and advice, which was always free of charge.
Spending the semester in Newcastle, Australia is recommendable in my opinion, but not ideal. These are my reasons for saying:
The study itself at the University of Newcastle was very good. The university took care of you perfectly, because all employees, professors and tutors were very friendly and helpful. The courses were also interesting and appropriate in terms of difficulty. You have to do a lot (about three assessments per course – essays, presentations, exams, orally), but the courses are very interesting and it is a little easier to do something for them. There is no compulsory attendance in the lectures, there is either a detailed Powerpoint presentation to download or the course is broadcast online. So it is up to the student how he divides his time. The tutorials are very helpful because the material is worked through and made understandable in small groups, i. e. 6 to 30 people. The exams themselves are quite demanding, but of course that depends on what you are used to. You don’t have to be afraid of the presentations after you’ve learned in Germany
Now to the subject of living: I lived in Tighes Hill. I rented the room in the shared apartment before I arrived. In itself, however, I would not recommend making a decision in advance. Most internationals haven’t had an apartment yet and everyone has ultimately found something with which he / she was reasonably satisfied. My apartment was clean and modern, but that made it an exception in Newcastle. But of course you can somehow get used to everything if you only spend half a year there. You have to get used to cockroaches because they are everywhere, as I saw. Tighes Hill is not the best residential area, on the one hand because it is in the middle of the university and the city, so it takes half an hour to do both, and on the other hand because it is not supposed to be the safest. Nothing happened to me, but I’ve been told a few stories. In Newcastle and the districts belonging to it, such as Tighes Hill, Hamilton or Mayfield, you are actually never safe from strange people: If you are unlucky you will be spat at, turned on in a disgusting way, yelled at for no reason, pushed off your bike, pelted with eggs or pursued for a short time for no reason Because of these incidents, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend Newcastle, but now back to the advantages of Newcastle.
Newcastle has beautiful beaches. Except for the coldest 3 months of the year, you can swim on them without fear of deadly animals (you should of course always pay attention to signs and listen to the instructions of the lifeguards), play volleyball, study for university, relax or sunbathe. In any case, the weather is ideal – in six months we only had 20 rainy days, otherwise sunny, warm weather. With clear blue skies, it’s pretty cold in winter, so sometimes you need a winter jacket. In the summer it was 43 degrees, which was very hot, but with a lot of water you can take it. Downtown Newcastle is nice, with small cafes, bars and restaurants if you can afford it, and four clubs that are good for going out. For shopping you have to take the bus for half an hour to an hour,
There are also great things to see in the Newcastle area. Two hours by bus north of Newcastle is the beautiful Port Stephens. Here you can take a walk on the turquoise water, watch dolphins and whales, sandboard, ride camels or just relax. Sydney is two and a half hours south of Newcastle. The train ride is really cheap – the equivalent of only 6 euros there and back. In Sydney you can explore the city and beaches, go shopping and party. Northwest of Sydney are the Blue Mountains. These mountains are beautiful and a great way to get away from the hustle and bustle of the cities. It is relatively difficult and expensive to get there by public transport, but it is possible.
It is also important to say that you don’t have to be afraid of not making friends. You don’t have to hope for deep friendships with Australians – unless you live on campus and get to know them really well – but there are a lot of exchange students who you can get to know in the hostels or during the O phase. Everyone I met was very open-minded, friendly, funny and we did a lot together so that we never got bored. Thanks to the people, the semester became an unforgettable experience full of fun and important experiences.