My semester abroad in Newcastle / Australia
In February 2011 the time had come. Study a full semester in Australia. I chose the University of Newcastle a lot because of the not insignificant tuition fees in Australia. Newcastle itself is a relatively large city by Australian standards with around 300,000 inhabitants. The city is right on the sea and about 2 ½ hours north of Sydney if you take the train. In my opinion, Newcastle itself doesn’t really have much to offer. There are two large shopping malls and a few bars, clubs and pubs. However, if you come from a student city like Cologne like me, you shouldn’t expect too much from the local nightlife. The best places to get out in town are Darby Street and Hamilton. Since most exchange students do not own a car, sooner or later you will have to deal with public transport. They can simply be described as bad and absolutely annoying. Trains and buses run very unreliably and sometimes not at all.
According to answerresume, University of Newcastle itself is outside of the city center (Callaghan Campus). There is still a city campus, but only a few courses are taught there. The campus is located in an old swamp area with lots of trees and lots of green around them. There are two libraries with very good equipment and many computers with a fast internet connection, which of course can be used free of charge. There is also a kind of cafeteria and two bars on the campus itself. The prices here are sometimes quite steep. A cheap way to eat something for lunch is the bakehouse (meatpies start at 2 AUD). As part of my semester abroad, I had to take four courses. I signed up for two marketing courses and two logistics courses. In terms of level, all courses were lower than in Germany, but the workload is much higher than in Germany. Throughout the semester, the lecturers keep you busy with homework, case studies, midterm tests and other small nasties. The advantage, however, was that the exams only included 35 to 45% of the final grade. So if you have collected enough points in the semester, you can take it easy with the exams at the end of the semester. The lectures are divided into lectures and tutorials. Here is the tip to inform yourself as early as possible about the times for the tutorials and to register, otherwise you can only take turtorials at really stupid times. However, the evaluations of the individual assignments were sometimes a bit arbitrary and not always fully understandable. I would not buy the recommended books, as these are usually also in the library. So it is better to save the 130 AUD per book and copy the required pages if necessary. Another point of criticism is that the university is sometimes very disorganized and you always get different answers to the same question. During the exam phase, for example, there were not enough exam papers for all students in a course. Another exam was written next to a construction site, which wasn’t exactly helpful either. The university could still improve a bit here. So it is better to save the 130 AUD per book and copy the required pages if necessary. Another point of criticism is that the university is sometimes very disorganized and you always get different answers to the same question. During the exam phase, for example, there were not enough exam papers for all students in a course. Another exam was written next to a construction site, which wasn’t exactly helpful either. The university could still improve a bit here. Another exam was written next to a construction site, which wasn’t exactly helpful either. The university could still improve a bit here. Another exam was written next to a construction site, which wasn’t exactly helpful either. The university could still improve a bit here.
Finding an apartment is also not a problem. The university has an office that helps students to find apartments. The staff will help you and give you useful tips. If you have a viewing appointment, there is even a driving service that you can use. You should consider beforehand whether you would prefer to live on-campus or off-campus. Personally, I would recommend an accommodation to anyone to look outside of the university. The dormitories are very spartan and there isn’t really much you can do there. The best place to stay is near the beach or in downtown Newcastle. When you arrive you will see that some landlords are trying to rent out the very last hole themselves. In no case do not take the first accommodation that is offered to you if you do not feel comfortable. At the beginning of the semester, the demand is correspondingly high and most landlords want you to sign a 12 month lease. After the beginning of the semester, the housing situation relaxes again and it is easier to find suitable accommodation and the landlords try to get rid of the vacant rooms for the semester. I would recommend you to stay in a hostel / hotel for 2 or 3 weeks rather than taking any room that you don’t like. I haven’t heard from anyone in my semester who hasn’t found anything. Life itself in Australia is very expensive compared to Germany. Groceries, alcohol, rents, etc. are much more expensive than in Germany. You should be aware that a semester in Newcastle will cost at least 12,000 to 13,000 euros (including flight, visa, health insurance, tuition fees, rent, living expenses, etc. ). If you still want to travel around after the semester, it can get tight with this amount.
The support from MicroEDU was also optimal. Called once, filled out everything and sent it, and then everything was sorted out. It couldn’t have gone any better!
In conclusion, I can say that it was a good time in Newcastle, but I am not sure if I would go to Newcastle again. You have to be aware that, despite the high number of students measured by population, Newcastle is not a typical student city. With a lower standard of living, life is much more expensive than in Germany. Ultimately, everyone has to decide for themselves where he or she wants to study. It was definitely a great experience!