The application process takes place entirely through MicroEDU and you get great support. I applied almost at the last minute and still everything worked out great. Unfortunately, as a master’s student in psychology, it was not easy for me to find a suitable university in Australia and so after several applications, the only possible university that remained was the UON which stands for University of Newcastle according to AbbreviationFinder. Unfortunately, the university took a very long time to respond to our request regarding my choice of course and thus the crediting of the semester abroad to react. This dragged on the whole process, but UON stuck behind it and tried to get information on a regular basis. Unfortunately, this long wait almost meant that I would not have been able to start the semester abroad due to lack of time. As soon as everything was clarified with the university, everything went very quickly and after applying for the visa, it was in my e-mail inbox within half an hour.
Studies / courses / support
To be honest, I wasn’t really satisfied with the university. The International Office tries very hard, is happy to help and is always super friendly. There is a doctor on campus who can be used free of charge and also a pharmacy, which is really handy.
Unfortunately, I have had pretty bad experiences with the organization of the UON. Not only did it take them a long time to re-register in the application process, but during my semester abroad there were always difficulties, which I also noticed from friends of mine.
I took the courses Advanced clinical psychology with adults, clincical psychology with families and children and a kind of project course. Three courses are completely sufficient and are more than enough in terms of workload (at least in the master’s). In terms of costs, the UoN in Australia is one of the cheaper universities and can almost be paid for with an Auslandsbafög.
The professors, with the exception of one, were not very approachable and cooperative. A professor never responded to emails or calls, contradicting statements were made about tasks, there was hardly any professional competence to be recognized in relation to our project, which made the course very, very stressful and nerve-wracking.
All the clubs at the UON are positive, such as Nusa, where you can always get something to eat, play table tennis or enjoy a free lunch. The lunch at the Vegan Club is highly recommended.
The search for accommodation turned out to be more difficult than initially thought. I initially stayed at the YHA Hostel, which I can warmly recommend. Almost all international students who study at the UoN and are looking for accommodation meet there. Many have come together and looked for an apartment together. I went out on my own because I wanted to live with Australians.
At first I was absolutely shocked by what you actually get for dirty booths and at horrendous prices. In any case, make sure that cockroaches are not visible everywhere, especially in the kitchen. Take a close look at everything. Especially in older apartments it is completely normal that there are cockroaches (unfortunately!), But these usually only come out at night and should therefore be seen during the day, if sporadically. The best thing to do is to buy lockable cans in the Aldi and pack your food in there.
If you have certain demands, the search for an apartment is really not easy and very tedious, so: Lower your demands, but still not let neglected, dirty apartments turn on. Do not despair, many apartments are old and therefore not very nice or comfortable, but they should be clean.
I lived in Bar Beach with an Australian whom I met through a friend’s contact. It’s best to ask around if someone knows someone. Otherwise you can also register at easy roommate, gumtree and flatmates. com and have a look there. The UON also has a service that helps you to find an apartment, but this was not helpful for me, as it mainly offers apartments in the vicinity of the university, but where I did not want to live because there is actually not much to do there, apart from of campus events.
Bar Beach was perfect for me: The wonderful beach around the corner, where there is not a soul in winter, Darby Street with many nice cafes and bars right around the corner, a maximum of 10-15 minutes walk to the train and the city center, bus stops everywhere and just a nice and safe neighborhood.
When I arrived in Newcastle, I initially thought: wow, that’s small, hopefully there is something to be done here at all. But there is! I really learned to love it after the time. I mainly spent my free time dancing. It was also what made my half in Newcastle so wonderful. Every Tuesday we went to the Exchange Hotel to dance Salsa / Bachata / Zouk and it was always great fun. I didn’t know anyone at first, but everyone was super nice and friendly and I met many of my best friends there. We often went to Sydney to dance at the weekend or to the latin festival in Byron Bay. Sydney is also a dream to dance to! Especially the establishment and the LDA bachata parties are a dream!
Aside from dancing, I used to go jogging on the beach or just sit there, it’s a wonderful place! The Ocean Bath is also great for swimming regularly. I borrowed a bike from Dan on campus that is great for getting around (helmets are compulsory!). I also did a surf course and a diving course. There is a great club called NUDES on campus that offers dives. The diving course in Newcastle was not that great due to the poor conditions, but the diving was absolutely great!
Often I would just go to a park or take a stroll down Darby Street or have a coffee in a café. That was super nice!
You can also take the train to Sydney, the Blue Mountains relatively quickly and cheaply, or you can walk around in the forest near Mereweather. Naturally a super nice base for excursion destinations. It’s also great that Newcastle itself is quite small and that means that you can meet up again and make friends quickly.
To be honest, I found partying in all of Australia not really exciting and especially not one of my favorite pastimes in Newcastle. Apart from that, there are sometimes really dubious characters walking around Newcastle who (even during the day) just yell at you out of the blue and insult you. I have also often heard that friends of mine have been persecuted or that they have been ambushed. This shouldn’t scare you, but it should make you aware that it is better not to walk around alone at night (but I also rode my bike alone at night).
JEven if you initially think Newcastle is a bit boring, it has a lot to offer, is wonderfully relaxed and if you want you can definitely enjoy the semester abroad there
PS: Don’t forget the mosquito repellent on campus!