Meike goes Australia – my semester abroad on the Gold Coast
Once to Australia: I made this dream come true with the semester abroad. And I can really say that a semester abroad is really very worthwhile. You not only get to know another culture, other countries and people, but above all you learn something about yourself and your own home, even if you think you already know all of this. And yes, of course you also learn something at university.
I had my first thoughts on the semester abroad almost a year and a half beforehand. A semester abroad is compulsory at my university, so it was clear from the start that I would go abroad. Fortunately, I was spoiled for choice when choosing a country and my practice company supported me in all decisions. At the beginning it was clear to me: “ I want it sunny and warm – how about Australia?” And then I had my first conversation with Sabine from MicroEDU.
During the preparations (health insurance, visa, application for university, international BAfög, flight, etc.) I stuck to CoCo’s to-do list – and that’s practically all you need. I also met a student who did her semester abroad at this very university. The conversation answered many questions and confirmed my decision. This is recommended to everyone!
► Tip: What helped me in choosing a university ?
Sure, there are thousands of options and you want to make the best decision. At the beginning you don’t even know how to approach it. So listen to your gut feeling and look for the 100th alternative yourself doesn’t make it easier. Overall, I stayed relaxed, because what’s going to go wrong?
For the first five days I booked a hostel from Germany. From the conversation I learned that looking for an apartment in Australia (apart from big cities) is very relaxed and that it is best to look around on site. The Australians are very helpful and I found my first room through the Flatmates website (https://flatmates.com.au/). Gumtree, the Australian Ebay for backpackers, is also very helpful (http://www.gumtree.com.au/).
The room was in Southport and was $ 160. After 5 weeks, however, I moved to Surfers Paradise again because my boyfriend visited me and my room would have been too small for two. I also wanted to be closer to the beach.
- Visit plus-size-tips to learn more about country of Australia and continent of Oceania.
The apartment was very central and my roommate and I each rented $ 160 – so no difference to before.
Rent per week: $ 160 plus electricity approx. $ 10
Rent per month: $ 640 plus electricity approx. $ 40
$ 680 = € 475
On top of the $ 680 there are food and leisure costs. I spent about $ 55 a week on groceries. Spending on free time, partying, eating out, etc. totaled around $ 50. I didn’t look at every penny, but I did pay attention to the dollars, because Australia is and will remain an expensive country. The SIM card for phone calls and Internet (6GB) cost $ 40 per month. The provider is called Telstra Air and is highly recommended! I spent about $ 20 a week on travel expenses. If you go shopping, for example, or have planned a longer excursion, the leisure costs naturally increase. In total, I spent almost € 1000 per month:
|$ 1220 (€ 850)
I financed most of it through my parents and through previously saved money. Unfortunately, I did not get a scholarship and my application for foreign student loans was unfortunately rejected, because as a dual student I have a small income, but also had to continue to pay tuition fees at my home university, which unfortunately could not be shown in the forms.
The Griffith University is very organized and professional. I was very satisfied with my lecturers and learned a lot from my courses. Studying in English was easier for me than I thought and I was not necessarily a first in English… These were my courses:
- 2023IBA International Marketing
- 3004IBA Intercultural Management
- 3007MKT Social Marketing: Applying Marketing for Social Change
- 2009 EHR Recruitment and Selection
Except for International Marketing (I just didn’t enjoy it) all courses were really great and absolutely recommendable ! In all courses at least 50% were internationals and you always met a few German students. I also did most of my free time activities with them, which wasn’t necessarily good for my English, of course, but feeling comfortable should come first.
The courses are generally structured a little differently. You have about 4 to 5 grade-relevant assignments per course. These consist of lectures, term papers, group work and exams. You also have mid-semester exams. That makes the semester a little more exhausting, because with four courses from the 4th week on I had an assignment almost every week. I also learned properly for the exams and studying shouldn’t be underestimated. With a little motivation and a little self-discipline, however, it can be done well.
► Tip: Start your first housework early enough!
In English you can’t just write something down on the last evening before you hand it in, it takes time to find suitable vocabulary and literature. The second housework was much faster, but don’t wait until the last minute!
5. Everyday life
There are more than enough recreational activities on the Gold Coast. The national parks and the many beaches are really very beautiful. Unfortunately, to reach many destinations you need a car. A good address for renting a car under the age of 21 is Jucy-cars (https://www.jucy.com.au/). I can only recommend everyone to grab a few friends and just drive off. Ask the locals for their secret tips and explore the area. Even a simple walk on the beach is always nice and you always discover something new.
My everyday life looked something like this: On the days when I was at university, I used the whole day to work on assignments and do everything, so that I had enough time on the other days and especially on the weekends. Of course, you should plan some time and cook sensibly for shopping, cooking and household chores! Burgers and fries taste very good almost everywhere in Australia, but you should eat something sensible, especially during the exam phase…
My 5 months in Australia were really great and I have gained a few experiences now. So it was more than worth it. But what you shouldn’t forget is that not everything is always great and fun in the semester abroad. In between I was really homesick and if you don’t know where your head is in the exam phase, you quickly think that it would be nicer or easier at home. But overall I really enjoyed being able to leave everyday life behind and take all the liberties (except for university) that you want. Summer, sun, beach and sea – I made this dream come true with Australia for 5 months.