My name is Ines and I spent a semester abroad at Griffith University Gold Coast in Australia from February to July 2017. Here in Germany I am studying for a master’s degree in Public Health. At Griffith University, I took an economics course in addition to public health courses.
Why a semester abroad in Australia?
Since many of my friends have already completed a semester abroad and speak very positively about this experience, I came up with the idea of wanting to do one too. Looking back, it was a very good decision. Since studying in English was the main motivation for me, I decided to spend a semester abroad in Australia. In the course of my studies, I realized that good English skills are very important for my future job and that I expand my skills in this regard would like to. The idea of being all alone so far away from home and really being on your own really appealed to me. I expected to become more independent through a semester abroad and to be able to solve challenges more easily. I was also happy to get to know my department from a completely new perspective.
- Visit sunglassestracker to learn more about country of Australia and continent of Oceania.
I organized my stay abroad together with the MicroEDU agency. The agency really helped me with any questions that came up. The staff gave me all the information I needed about applying for a visa, insurance and information about flights. They also supported me with my application to the foreign university. I applied in August 2016. Everything worked out perfectly in time. I only communicated with MicroEDU and didn’t have to contact the foreign university. I found that very positive.MicroEDU works according to the motto “There are no stupid questions”. So I was able to send the employees an e-mail with every smallest question and had an answer quickly.
Since I didn’t want to take any exams at Bielefeld University during the summer semester, i.e. after my stay abroad, I decided to take a leave of absence for the semester. This has various advantages, for example the semester is not counted as a subject semester.
Housing hunting on the Gold Coast
The finding accommodation on the Gold Coast has been made much more difficult than I had previously thought. MicroEDU recommends arriving around 2 weeks before the start of the semester and I can definitely confirm that. I have asked for accommodation at a large number of different building complexes in Surfers Paradise and have almost only received rejections. In retrospect, however, I have to say that you should n’t be stressed too quickly. In the end, all international students found something. We lived with around 30 students in a total of seven shared apartments in the same building complex, which of course was really great. So we were all in close contact and had a lot of fun together.
From a financial perspective, a semester abroad, especially in an expensive country like Australia, has to be well thought out. In addition to very high tuition fees, flights, accommodation, travel and daily life also have to be financed. In order to finance the five months, I applied for BAföG abroad and was granted it. Then I applied for various scholarships and was lucky enough to get a PROMOS partial scholarship. Since I also traveled a lot during and especially after the semester, I also spent some savings.
I planned the trips entirely on site. Of course, I already had a few ideas about where I would like to go, but I only planned and booked everything on site. There you get to know cheap airlines, car rental companies and hostels. As a student, you sometimes get discounts, for example when you book through the travel agency STA-Travel. You also get to know enough people with whom you want to travel.
At Griffith University I took three different courses: Priorities and Interventions in Public Health, Change Management in Dynamic Health Care Systems and Economics for Decision Making 1. I chose these courses because I wanted to think outside the box of my studies in Germany, and I succeeded.
Before going abroad, I often heard that a semester abroad is pretty easy and that you don’t have to do anything for the university. I cannot confirm that in retrospect. In contrast to my studies in Germany, I had to take various exams at Griffith University throughout the semester. This means that from the fourth week of lectures onwards, I had to write exams, hand in term papers and take online tests almost every week. In total, I took ten exams in one semester. These were rated differently and then led to a final grade in the respective courses. The amount of work during the semester is a bit unusual when you consider that in Germany we often don’t have exams until the end of the semester. However, I got used to it quickly and so the semester was definitely manageable for me.