If I had to describe my semester abroad in one word, then the word “eventful” would be best. First of all, I would like to say that I would like to thank MicroEDU very much for organizing my stay abroad. Everything went perfectly and there were no problems – great! Note: according to AbbreviationFinder, UNSW stands for University of New South Wales.
After I was able to enjoy Work & Travel in Australia after graduating from high school, I moved back to Australia for my semester abroad, to Sydney to be more precise.
I knew roughly what to expect there, but my expectations were incredibly exceeded – both academically and personally.
Now a few words about UNSW and the school system in Australia:
In many rankings, UNSW is one of the top 50 universities in the world and one of the top 20 in accounting & finance!
Since I am a mediocre student in Germany, I was a little afraid that the level would be extremely demanding and that I would have to invest a considerable amount of time to finish well.
This is also true, I chose the more relaxed version with only 3 courses, but compared to my home university you have more effort during the semester, but it is much more relaxed at the end and for all subjects a week of learning was enough for me, to repeat it all over again.
It is generally much more school-based than in Germany, compared to my university there was compulsory attendance in Sydney, a number of papers, presentations, homework and group projects during the semester. In Germany I have a 90-minute exam that determines the semester grade.
But now to the UNSW, the university is located relatively close to Coogee Beach, which of course makes it relatively attractive in summer.
The campus is relatively large, ie it can happen that you have to walk for 20 minutes from lecture to lecture.
Otherwise there are activities almost every day (spontaneously I think of a petting zoo, or even a Redbull race course, where you could win a number of prizes), as well as free food, which adds variety to campus life!
All other universities as well as the locals refer to UNSW as an Asian University, presumably for the reason that at least half of the students have an Asian background. This can be an advantage and a disadvantage, depending on how you see it. For me it was more of a disadvantage, because I have to say that integration into the class groups is more difficult – but maybe that is also due to me.
Otherwise, the vibe on campus is positive, there is enough green space that invites you to chill out and also organizations and clubs that provide enough opportunities to get active.
Now about the courses, the fact is that I had a lot of respect, which in the end turned out to be without cause for concern.
I had the following courses:
- Introductory Finance (Fins 1613):
The basic finance course was relatively easy for me, as I already knew some of the content from my home university.
There is a midterm and an exam at the end, with a weighting of 40% -50%. The remaining 10% are filled in through tutorial attendance and participation.
Personally, I put the midterm in the sand (like most of the others), but rocked the final exam so I ended up briefly under the HD.
Otherwise, I can recommend you to do the course in the second semester, as the lecturer can show significantly better results than was the case with me.
- Politics and Economics (Econ3106):
A relatively new course from an Italian professor who was really very cool. The workload is relatively high, ie you have 6 homeworks, a group project, a midterm and a final exam.
It was generally disguised as “Politics”, but in the end it was 80% game theory-related policy content.
I put myself under a lot of stress because the slides in the lecture were sometimes very difficult to understand.
The final exam, however, was the easiest exam I have ever written in my life, so my final grade was very satisfactory.
- Introductory Econometrics (Econ2206):
I had the greatest respect for Econometrics because we have extremely high failure rates. I wanted to avoid that and decided to write Econometrics in Sydney. It was just stupid that we have the same textbook, so I wasn’t preferred in terms of level, on the contrary.
The lectures were to fall asleep, I didn’t go after the 3rd either. It was a complete self-study, which I am actually used to at home. I took the Pass tutorials (a kind of voluntary tutoring that is free – offered in all Introductory courses) which helped me a lot.
The workload was extremely high, as you also have to work a lot with Stata on the side.
In the end, I felt as if after a while things repeated themselves and you got into the rhythm.
I have to say that on some days I actually spent several hours on Econometrics until I understood it. In the end, it paid off, I even got an HD.
Basically, my workload during the semester was very high. However, since you are constantly on the ball, there are no gaps, so you are actually always up-to-date, which makes learning for the final exams and midterms much easier.
I haven’t seen much of a top 50 university level, but there were also people who had four three-year finance subjects and who seemed to be overwhelmed by workload.
For almost all the students I met at the University of Mannheim and, for example, the Erasmus University in Rotterdam, the level was easier than it is at home.
Enough about the UNSW, you are probably wondering what your free time is like ?!
The truth is, I have to admit that I’ve never partied as much as in Sydney.
Therefore I am also convinced that good grades correlate positively with alcohol;).
At first I lived in Coogee for 2 months, after which we moved to Bondi because of arguments with our landlord. Life is incredibly relaxed and easy in Australia, everyone is happy and chilled.
The fact is, NSW has a new law that spoils partying for party-goers.
There is a lockout law which states that most clubs have to close at 4 a. m. After midnight, no more shots are sold, only long drinks, alcohol is generally only served in plastic cups.
On a week-long trip to Melbourne we couldn’t believe that the clubs there are open until 11am – from that point of view, Sydney is okay for partying, but not the best of luck either.
The beaches are breathtaking and no other big city in Australia can match them.
The cost of living is relatively high, rent below 600 euros a month is actually not impossible.
The cheapest crate of beer is around 25 euros, and the meal can easily cost 20 euros in a run-of-the-mill restaurant.
But that shouldn’t put you off, I also had to work as a waiter towards the end when I noticed that I still had $ 80 in my account. Three-digit tips are normal in a 6-hour shift, so it balances out. Australia is also 4-20 friendly for those of you who care.
All in all, I can only recommend everyone to have this experience.
I lived with 3 boys and now have pretty good friends in Verona, Oslo and Barcelona.
We actually meet again 3 months after our stay and make Europe a bit unsafe.
The people I have met are responsible for ensuring that my time in Sydney is unforgettable.
If you have any questions for me, just get in touch, I’ll be happy to help!