Global Learning blog

Search “study abroad” on the UoA website and you’ll receive dozens of results stating how exchange programs are “life-changing” and “unforgettable.” As I prepare to head home from spending a semester studying at Bocconi University in Milan, I can confirm that the hype is accurate.

Me in front of the Plaza de Espana in Seville. I awkwardly asked a tourist to take this photo. Most of my photos from Spain look like this.

Me in front of the Plaza de Espana in Seville. I awkwardly asked a tourist to take this photo. Most of my photos from Spain look like this.

Getting settled into Milan was even easier than I anticipated and I never really felt any apprehension. Bocconi organised a range of orientation activities that made it easy to get to know other students. Everyone is in the same boat, so you skip the awkward getting to know each other phase entirely and go straight to being great friends. Studying and travelling with like-minded people, who share similar interests, was incredible and by far the highlight of the trip. Weekdays in Milan were devoted to appreciating the city. Food is a massive part of Italian culture and while there is no shortage of great restaurants and bars in Milan – particularly in the Navigli area – some of my favourite meals were made with friends at our student residence, Arcobaleno. I would recommend staying at Arco because it’s a great way to meet people and you also get to bond over things like a lack of cooking utensils, crappy Wi-Fi and surprisingly good 20c macchiati from the vending machine. However, Arco is a little out of the city centre. Fortunately, Milan has an excellent metro line. It may sound bizarre but there’s nothing quite like hearing “promissma fermata: next stop” when travelling around the city. If you haven’t been you’ll just have to take my word for it…

Sail Week in Croatia. The view of Hvar was (almost) worth hiking up a mountain in 40-degree weather.

Sail Week in Croatia. The view of Hvar was (almost) worth hiking up a mountain in 40-degree weather.

Weekends were for study breaks and exploring Europe as a reward for our (not-so) hard work. I’m very grateful that my relatively laid-back timetable meant I got to visit a dozen new countries. I saw snow for the first time in Copenhagen, climbed Mt Etna, spent a week on a beach in the small Sicilian town of Cefalu and visited family in Tuscany. Before leaving for Milan I had never been on an international flight. So spending my summer holidays travelling solo around Spain was something I hadn’t planned on doing prior to my arrival. As it turns out it was one of my favourite experiences of the trip. You meet people staying in hostels that you know you’ve only got 48 hours with, and you explore new cities with them. It was honestly fantastic.

 

 

 

Our last few days in Milan and we finally made it to the top of the Duomo.

Our last few days in Milan and we finally made it to the top of the Duomo.

Having friends who are also studying abroad was a lot of fun. I got a really unique look at their host cities when I went to visit. 7am pain au chocolates in Grenoble, day trips to the seaside in Brighton, and sailing with mates around Croatia are experiences I may have missed out on if my friends hadn’t also been studying overseas. Sure, it wasn’t all smooth sailing. My friends and I spent days seasick on a boat in Split. I spent a solid weekend crying over canceled flights and another stressed because I went to Rome when I should have been cramming for my Business Law exam (no regrets.)

But as I sit in Dubai International Airport, waiting for my connecting flight home, all the less than fantastic experiences cease to matter. I’ve had the most incredible time and I wouldn’t change a thing.

 

Maria studied at Bocconi University, Milan, during Semester 1, 2017. 

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This post is taken from exchange student Elly Stretton’s blog Elly’s Leeds Adventure. Elly studied at the University of Leeds in Semester 1, 2017. 

I chose to study at Leeds not only because it is an amazing university, but because it is central to the UK and a middle ground between many amazing cities. It’s a stones throw from Manchester and Liverpool – places I’d recommend if you enjoy fantastic nights out and adventure. They are also great for day trips: with the Manchester United Tour a great favourite of mine and the Beatles Mania tour in Liverpool a great day out.

5EDITLeeds is not too far from other fantastic cities, such as Edinburgh and York – both beautiful if you are interested in history and scenery. I would definitely recommend Leeds University to all future students who want to see as much of the UK as possible without spending too much time travelling!

I also found it easy to travel to Europe from Leeds. Leeds airport is a short twenty minute drive, easily accessible by Uber. Other flights can be taken through Manchester, just an hours train ride away. From here you can catch cheap flights to just about anywhere (Ryan Air is a saviour).

13EDIT

I often get asked how I manage to balance study with travel. The course load and requirements at Leeds are not overwhelming or time consuming, but like any academic study, the trick is to complete your assignments as soon as you get them. I found that this freed up a lot of my time to explore and enabled me to fit lots of travel in too! My other tip would be to relax, don’t lock yourself up in your room over-preparing for presentations and exams. I found that a lot of learning came from group discussions in seminars, not external reading. I also learnt that tutors are a lot more relaxed than you think.
My ultimate tip when trying to find a balance between study and travel is to find a balance that works for you. Don’t shut yourself away – you’ll be there for six months after all! Yet don’t disregard your studies – you learn so much in new environments and you meet so many wonderful people.

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My exchange adventure so far has been exciting, incredible, and one of the best decisions I have made. However, the decision to commit to a one year exchange in Japan wasn’t easy for me. It meant leaving my partner, family and friends back in Australia for a whole year. Whilst it was a difficult decision, I decided to take up this once in a lifetime opportunity and I am so happy that I did. I just couldn’t keep myself away from Japan!

Cherry blossoms on campus

Cherry blossoms on campus

I chose Kansai University for my exchange because the courses offered were very appealing and intriguing. I have been to Osaka previously and I really enjoyed the atmosphere, sights, location and convenience. Another reason I chose Osaka is because it is affordable.

Since I arrived in Osaka, everyone I have met has been so friendly and helpful. I currently live in the Kansai University International dormitory and the atmosphere is very lively!
I have met people from so many different places… America, Germany, France, and Belgium, just to name a few. I’ve been in Japan for 4 months already and I’ve found it so interesting to learn about other cultures. It has really opened my eyes and has been an exciting experience! This has made me very keen to travel around the world in the future.

Living in the dorm has been a new and enjoyable experience. I’ve learned to be more independent, as I cook meals for myself every day. I’m responsible for buying my own groceries, managing my budget and cleaning up after myself. I feel that I have become more mature because of this. Various events are held every month in the dorm. The Resident Assistants (RAs) living in the dorm arrange these events. The activities range from watching movies, going to Universal Studios Japan, exploring areas of Osaka, experiencing Japanese culture and much more! These events have been really entertaining, a great way to make new friends and to get to know people better.

boat

A boat floating along the river

 

Adjusting to the workload at Kansai University wasn’t too difficult for me. I was able to choose subjects that would give me enough credits for my degree back home and still have enough free time. I’ve managed well to adjust to the way that classes are taught in Japan. There is a slightly different style of teaching for Japanese and this is where I’ve had to adjust myself the most. I’ve also gained confidence in class – I’m more motivated to say an answer, give my opinion or contribute to the conversation. I’ve been able to manage my assignments without a problem. However, it does get overwhelming near the end of the semester, when there are multiple tests, assignments, and presentations. The positive is that I am now on a month and a half long break! Even though I have only just started my summer break, I am making the most of my free time – with lots of traveling of course!

 

gateLiving in Osaka is extremely convenient because I can get on a train and do day trips to Kyoto, Nara, Kobe, and Okayama. It’s definitely had an impact on me traveling more often! One of the most outstanding things I’ve enjoyed is being able to experience all the different seasons. As I’m living in Japan for a year, I get to see Japan in every season and all the festivities that come with it. Right now, I’m enduring a hot, humid, and rainy summer. However, what’s getting me through it is the amazing summer festivals, the numerous events, and seasonal food and drink!

Take a chance and go on exchange – the people you will meet, the memories you will make, and the opportunities are so valuable!

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  1. Getting Around Campus CUHK is quite a hilly campus so unless your college (the dorm/hostel you stay in) is close to where your class is, you’ll have to catch the CUHK shuttle buses to where you need to go. There’s a pdf of the shuttle bus timetable on the CUHK website or you can download […]

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Emily completed an exchange to HEC Montreal, Canada, in Semester 1, 2017. I’m currently sitting at the Lima airport waiting for my flight home. I’ve been to 7 countries and 2 continents in the last 6 months, I’ve met some amazing people and shared some great experiences. Whilst sitting here I’m trying to think of […]

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This post is taken from exchange student Elly Stretton’s blog Elly’s Leeds Adventure. Elly studied at the University of Leeds in Semester 1, 2017.    I’ve written quite a bit on life as an exchange student, and sometimes it can be an information overload. And sometimes we go over all the things we think are important: […]

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This article is re-posted from student Olivia Cousins’ article ‘Community, Technology, Sustainability’, originally published on her blog: Meristem Journeys. Olivia went to the AC21 International Graduate School in Yogyakarta, Indonesia in July. Three important words. Community. Technology. Sustainability. In this day and age it is absolutely crucial that our scientific advances become more sustainable if we are […]

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I chose to study in the UK partly because I thought there wouldn’t be much culture shock. After all, we shared a common history, language and culture. It’s not until I arrived in Leeds, however, that I realised we are more different than originally thought. University life is completely different to back home – there […]

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Claire Hale is studying on exchange at the University of Southampton in England, for a full year spanning 2016-2017. As a GLObewriter she is sharing her experiences with us every month. You can see all of her posts using the globewriter-claire tag. My last entry was back in March just before my four weeks of Easter break. This […]

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Gina Cameron is studying on exchange at the University of Nottingham in England, for Semester 1 of 2017. As a GLObewriter she is sharing her experiences with us every month. You can see all of her posts using the globewriter-gina tag. I’m writing this from a French police station, sprawled across three plastic seats. It’s […]

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