Decision and application process
After I was able to spend a great semester abroad in the USA during my bachelor’s degree, I also wanted to enrich my master’s degree with a stay abroad. For a long time it was my plan to choose a European destination for this, so I went to some information events at my university. However, because of the consistently positive experiences and stories from friends and fellow students, I also have my options for studying in Australia. After some deliberation, I actually decided on the latter. On this train, it quickly became clear to me that I wanted to go to the metropolis of Melbourne. Since I had very good experiences with MicroEDU in my first semester abroad, I went to their website and chose Swinburne from the various universities in Melbourne! According to answerresume, Swinburne University of Technology stood out not only because of a very wide range of courses and a good reputation, but also because of the fact that it is the only one of the Australian universities to start at the end of July, so I was able to finish my semester in Germany, including most of the exams.
Thanks to the great support from MicroEDU , the application process went very smoothly, but you have to collect and fill out some documents, which of course takes time and sometimes some money (Toefl, for example). The only thing that can be a bit unusual and sometimes difficult here is that you select the desired courses for the semester abroad at the time of application. During my semester break in February / March, I then browsed through the well-explained course catalog and, after consulting with my home university, selected 4 courses. These can then only be changed in a small but definitely sufficient time window during Orientation Week or in the first week of the lecture.
Finding accommodation & on-site support
Since I was still quite busy with the exams at my home university, it was clear that I would not be in Melbourne before Orientation Week and therefore not get an accommodation there beforehand could be looking for. Therefore, in June I decided to apply for a place in the on-campus apartments. The application deadline used to be quite early in the year, but now there is an exact period of approx. 6 – 8 weeks before the start of the semester. After I couldn’t get a place in the first round (there are 3 in total, depending on demand), I was offered a room in a 3-room apartment in the second round at the end of June. I had read in some experience reports that these apartments are quite expensive (depending on the desired category), but also in a great location next to Swinburne University of Technology, you quickly get to know many students and there is also a connection for the train or tram to the city center. So I accepted the offer, but I wouldn’t do it anymore, even though all of the points mentioned above apply.
The price is one thing in my opinion, as I have noticed through many of my friends and acquaintances there that, unless you choose the most expensive room categories, this solution is no more expensive than many off-campus rooms. My problem was the really appalling Australian standard of cleanliness. My apartment was bearable, but nothing more and even that was only thanks to my roommate, who had moved in earlier and asked the management that the apartment should be thoroughly cleaned at least once when you move in. I have to say that there are differences between the various complexes: I would recommend that you do not specify Wakefield Street or Park Street Apartments when applying, but rather the SPW or SPS buildings. The latter are a bit more modern, But depending on the previous tenant, you can be unlucky here too, as I unfortunately have to say that the management really does very little for quality or hygiene for new tenants. I then canceled my contract and lived somewhere else in my last month, which was a bit more expensive, but definitely not affected by old dirt or mold.
All in all, from what I have also heard from my friends, I can say that even if you look for something in a price range that is still acceptable for Melbourne on site, it will not be easy to find a European basic standard. In the end we were all satisfied; Something like that is part of the experience and you live in such a great city as Melbourne! I also have to say that I had great international roommates with whom I could laugh about many annoyances in the apartment, so that we could bear it together!
For on-site support: both the International Office of Swinburne and the CC have always been there to support you and, especially from Swinburne University of Technology, there were always many events where you could exchange ideas or get helpful tips!
Studying at Swinburne
Before I tell you more about my studies, I should mention that I belonged to the minority of exchange students who did a master’s semester abroad at Swinburne. Therefore it may be that some of my statements regarding the courses or the degree of difficulty in the Bachelor are not always appropriate (at least based on the statements of my Bachelor friends there).
What is the same for everyone, however, is that, as mentioned above, you choose 3 to 4 courses early. That sounds absolutely feasible by German standards, but you should know that 4 courses for Australians are equivalent to full-time studies and the work for this is more comparable to 6 subjects in Germany. I did 4 courses and that was a lot of work, especially in the first half of the semester, especially if you also want to experience something of the city and the surrounding area.
If you don’t have the right to write only a 1. 0 during your semester abroad, you can still manage it all:-). The scope of a course is not “just” just an exam at the end of the semester and a lecture. In the master’s program, I had a 3-hour event in the evening per week in each subject, in which usually half was a standard lecture and in the other half you could / should actively participate in case studies, simulation games or lectures, for example. In general, active participation is much more normal here and it is also not so welcome if you are absent more than twice in a semester. The examinations were then somewhat different depending on the subject. In my courses “ Global Business Cultures ” and “ Managing the Global Marketplace“I had 2 assignments each and a lecture plus an exam at the end of the semester. The assignments were once individual and once in group work. In the other subjects “ Global Business Strategy ” and “ Corporate Responsibility & Accountability”“I had 3 big projects each, which I had to work on either alone or with others, plus a lecture for the biggest one! That means a lot of writing and personal work during the semester, but I didn’t have to learn that much for the 2 remaining exams at the end. The level here was perhaps a little lower, but due to the high workload it was ultimately comparable to my current studies in Germany, which, thank God, is already completely in English.
But I found the content in all subjects really informative and exciting. The professors are also much more relaxed than in Germany and mostly have an international background, so that they can pass on a lot of valuable experience and thus also tips. The relationship between you and the students is not that distant either, but the professors tend to take on a mentoring role and you have the feeling that it is very important to them whether you understand everything or how you can apply what you have learned later! I had a lot of fun, which also made the clearly practice-related workload a lot easier!
Living in Melbourne & traveling in Australia
Melbourne is just a really, really great city that has so much to offer! I especially liked the very relaxed lifestyle. If you go to the districts of Fitzroy, South Yarra or St Kilda for brunch or coffee at the weekend, you can see the great cultural mix of the city and everywhere you can feel a certain cheerfulness that is certainly associated with the high quality of life in the city. The many leisure activities that such a green metropolis, which is not only built on a river, but also has many beaches just around the corner, has to offer are numerous, so it never gets boring.
The only thing holding you back is the wild Melbourne weather. I arrived at the end of July and contrary to what many Europeans think, it can get relatively cold in these parts of Australia in winter (10 ° C or a little less). But of course the sun is much stronger and it can suddenly be 18 degrees the following day. From September it got warmer and warmer, so that on many days in October we could already enjoy high summer temperatures and from mid-November it was really hot! But you should always be prepared for sudden temperature amplitudes within 1 hour in Melbourne.
Hawthorn, the part of town where Swinburne University of Technology is located, is really very cute too. You can’t go out that much in the evening here, but there are a few restaurants and nice bars! If you’re more of a clubber, I would recommend the CBD, Southbank, Fitzroy or South Yarra, all of which are easily accessible by tram or train thanks to the super-connected transport network!
Of course, most exchange students also use their stay to other parts of Australia or New Zealand to travel! During the semester, I primarily went on day trips (some of which are also organized by Swinburne University of Technology!) In Victoria, for example to the Great Ocean Road or the Grampians National Park. In the middle of the semester you have a week off, which is really worthwhile to head for the first other travel destinations! Since the semester times in Australia are very different from those in Germany, you usually have a lot of time after university until the next semester starts at home. Most of us then took advantage of this to travel. I saw the entire east coast and part of the outback, which was really great and can only be recommended! My favorites were the Whitsunday Islands and Sydney, but Ayers Rock is also very impressive! But many stay longer and fly to Fijis or New Zealand. The student visa is still valid for around 2 months after the official examination phase is over, but you can also take the Travel & Work visa and stay longer!
Finally, I would highly recommend everyone to go to Swinburne and Melbourne in general. I really had little idea about the city and the country and I fell completely in love! There is so much to discover and so many people from different countries to meet! I also find it very enriching to get to know other teaching methods and professors in this way. Thanks again to CC and especially Sabine for the active support!