I applied to James Cook University very early (in December before I wanted to start studying in July) and got a response from them very quickly that I was accepted. The application process was very easy, as my English grade from my Abitur performance course was sufficient as proof of language skills and I didn’t have to submit any other evidence. However, the Abitur must not be older than two years at the time of application. In addition, MicroEDU supported me in filling out the documents and with any questions and thus made my application for the semester abroad a lot easier.
At the time of application, you have to specify the courses you would like to attend. Finding this out, I found personally a bit tedious and annoying. According to answerresume, James Cook University has a lot of different fields of study and it took some time until I finally found courses that I wanted to do and then checked whether they were also offered in that semester. The good thing, however, was that it was easy to change these courses after applying, as long as the semester had not started.
Travel and accommodation
Pack a change of clothes and the most necessary things to get by for a few days without your actual luggage and a neck pillow to sleep in is really comfortable during the flight.
Since I flew in July, it was warm in Germany and Singapore. However, quite fresh in Melbourne. That’s why I had my winter boots on and two jackets with me in my hand luggage.
I flew with Air China. The seats were comfortable thanks to the adjustable headrests and the food was okay. Because it was a Chinese airline, the films on offer were in Chinese with English subtitles. I didn’t think so because I didn’t want to read along all the time while flying.
Unfortunately, my luggage did not arrive in Melbourne at the same time as me and was brought to my hostel after three days. I received a refund of € 50 upon request. My luggage was also damaged, which I unfortunately didn’t mention.
For the first two weeks I booked a hostel in town so that I had enough time to look for a room. The hostel had an airport pick up service that I used and that worked out fine.
It makes sense to find out whether the hostel will issue a “refund”. By luck I had already found a cheap room ($ 150 per week) in Brunswick after a week and they refunded me the second week without charging me.
It took me almost an hour to get to the university from my temporary new home, but since La Trobe with the campus in Bundoora is very far out of the city center and I didn’t want to live that far away from the city, I accepted that. (I had university four days a week. )
University and surroundings
Melbourne has many beautiful districts and you won’t get bored here. There are some streets known for their bars and others for their clubs. The beach is around 45 minutes from Brunswick by public transport. If you are not an exchange student, but a study abroad student, you will not get a concession card that gives you a 50% discount on transport. A monthly ticket costs $ 120 here.
Melbourne is the city with the four seasons in one day and it gets warm relatively late there. Sydney, for example, was already quite warm with 25 ° and sun in October, while I was still wearing a jacket in Melbourne.
In my opinion, James Cook University is not one of the most modern universities, but I still found it pleasant to study there. I took three Human Resource courses and was very satisfied with the lecturers. It is important that they know your face and preferably your name. I found the tutorials not that helpful and rather annoying after a while. (There is compulsory attendance!) Given that more than 100 students were enrolled in the courses, the average attendance was relatively low.
I missed the orientation week because I still had to take exams at my home university. I would not recommend this, as it makes it more difficult to connect with the other international students and you are more on your own to register and enroll in the tutorial courses, etc.
Because I didn’t live on campus, I only went to the last party in the Eagle Bar at La Trobe. She didn’t knock me off my stool. I think it’s easier to celebrate in the city.
Melbourne itself has a lot to offer in terms of culture and excursions. Driving a car is not that much fun in the city, however, as it is quite crowded (during the day) and parking can also be quite expensive. The public transport connections are okay. It all depends on where you want to go.
The Great Ocean Road is a “must” here. Realistically, it’s a car tour along the coast and you look at beaches and stones (12 apostles) – nothing that extraordinary. However, if you go with friends, you can turn it into a fun tour, take nice pictures and enjoy the view and nature! I thought it was beautiful!
I made nice people and lifelong friends here in Melbourne. I recommend everyone to do a semester abroad. But if you want summer, a surf beach and sun on your doorstep, Melbourne might not be suitable.