I have been studying industrial engineering at the TU in Berlin since 2012 and have spent the last two semesters at the University of Technology (UTS, see AbbreviationFinder) in Sydney.
Since my home university only plans to spend six months in Sydney, but my plan was to study there for a full year, I applied directly to the university. I received support from MicroEDU – and first of all kudos! I can only recommend MicroEDU , the person responsible was very supportive and saved me a lot of research and bureaucracy with her help.
Even before I arrived in Sydney, I looked for a room on Flatmates. com. On the second day, however, it turned out that my roommate had not agreed with the landlord about the sub-tenancy. So on the third day in Sydney I was left without an apartment. I was lucky that a friend from Sydney had added me to a Facebook group the day before, through which most Australian students can find free rooms in shared apartments. During my one-year stay, I kept moving on this basis and lived in eight different houses – a good opportunity to get to know a lot of Australians. The most popular neighborhoods in the city are Newtown, Surry Hills, and Glebe. Most of the students live here and there are many bars, as well as small restaurants and cafes. Rents in Sydney are generally very high – usually between AUD 150 and AUD 290 per week for a room.
The subject matter at UTS was much easier in my courses compared to the requirements at TU Berlin. The achievements mostly consisted of an essay (often also group work) and an exam. In many subjects I also had mid-term exams, which were then included in my final grade. I took the subjects Economics for Business 1 and 2, Database Principles, Economics of the Environment, International Marketing and Business Futures, I especially liked International Marketing and Business Futures. There was a lot of discussion in both subjects and we had a high level of practical relevance with numerous current examples, an approach that I often miss in my studies in Germany.
I was able to benefit from my year abroad in Australia not only academically, but also in my personal development. The openness, hospitality – invitations to coffee, dinner or access to friends – and the serenity of the Australians exceeded my expectations. The warmth in dealing with one another and, above all, the attitude to accept and appreciate other people in their being non-judgmental, I will hopefully be able to continue to live in Germany. However, I had to get used to the unpunctuality associated with the serenity. I was particularly pleased about the Australians’ interest in German culture and thus about the opportunity to tell them a lot about our way of life and way of thinking.
I used the weekends and semester break for trips of discovery outside of Sydney. During my first semester break, I flew to Uluru, where I became aware of the vastness of the country in the outback and had the opportunity to learn more about Aboriginal culture. During the three month summer vacation, I flew home over Christmas to see my friends and family. Back in Australia, I used the remaining time before the semester began to travel north along the east coast. It was a taste of backpacker life and a great opportunity to meet people from all over the world, go snorkeling and sing songs around the campfire. Because of the geographical proximity, I then traveled to New Zealand for two more weeks where nature is really breathtaking.
Tips on what you should definitely do during your time in Sydney:
- Go to all the Art Gallery openings of the art universities. There is free alcohol here and you meet really nice people.
- Watch the sunrise on the beach and then have breakfast
- Go to Manly
- Soda Factory, Good God Small Club, Oxford Arts Factory, Frankie’s Pizza, Warehouse Parties
- On Sunday, a day ticket with the Opal Card costs only AUD 2. 50 – no matter where. So the best day for a trip to the Blue Mountains or to Manly (the ferry costs only 2. 5 AUD that day)
- Excursion to the Royal National Park
- Messina’s Ice Cream
- Marrickville Markets (Sunday), Glebe Markets (Saturday)
- Lentils as Anything in Newtown, Mary’s Burger in Newtown
- Whitsundays Sailing Tour, Frazer Island, Byron Bay
- Fireworks in Darling Harbor on Saturday night
- Free Brekky at UTS (Tuesday: Law Court Building 5, Wednesday: Tower Building) – there is delicious coffee, bread, avocado, Nutella, fruit, yogurt, muesli etc.
The time in Australia was a very valuable opportunity for me to get to know new ways of thinking, to encounter a differently oriented academic teaching and to develop personally. At this point, once again a big thank you to MicroEDU , who helped me a lot with the organization.