Michael Morley graduated from the University of Adelaide in 2018 with a Bachelor of Architectural Design. In Winter School of 2017, he completed a self-reporting program through Study Overseas to attend the 15th International Conference of Building Simulation in San Francisco, USA. Since graduating, Michael has also travelled to Indonesia to assist with a duck farm house design and build project.

“I was able to design the 150m2 farm house using bioclimatic design principles learnt through my studies. This building is now under construction.”

“The conference and duck farm were an extension of my project in Environment II (semester 1, 2nd year in 2016), titled Investigating the Use of Earth Tubes for Passive Cooling and Heating through Thermal Modelling. In this course, I discovered a strong passion for purposeful bioclimatic design, and was intrigued by the diverse building construction systems and how that impacts a building’s energy consumption. Reducing energy consumption wherever possible seemed both purposeful and challenging. This led me to investigate more on my own, leading to extra-curricular work and an opportunity to conduct my own research and submit it to be reviewed for the conference overseas.”


“San Francisco was my second time travelling overseas, after travelling to Europe in 2015. In San Francisco there was a certain expectation and accountability to use my time well, as I was generously granted funding to make the trip happen. I was hoping to gain a lot out of my time at the conference and this caused me to be very focused on my research and presentation preparation. I wasn’t there for leisure, although I did get the opportunity to explore the city which was great.”

“I remember that my ideas and understanding on passive solar design were well received and intrigued some highly regarded engineers and professionals. I was privileged to have dinner on multiple occasions with these people and through many conversations I gained confidence knowing my ideas and research were valid in a professional context.”


“In Indonesia, I was not only there to help with the design of the duck house, but also to help in the NGO we partnered with, a school and clinic called Hohidiai located on the island of Halmahera. It was quite confronting to see the living conditions of some of the many afflicted with AIDS in the local community. This experience was unlike any of my previous experiences.”

“Having the opportunity to use my learnt design skills to completely determine the design of a large scale building that is now under construction in remote Indonesia, was both a huge honour and a daunting task that tested my abilities. This is something I can look back on fondly and it’s very exciting to see it being built. I also had a very memorable time going through villages with a local on Halmahera giving out much needed AIDS medicine and praying for AIDS victims who had lost almost all hope, without any proper care.”



A section of the planning done by Michael for the duck house in Indonesia

“I’ve definitely grown from the time I’ve spent overseas. Having time away grows independence and opens your mind to international careers. I’ve learnt that my work can have an influence internationally. I also learnt that I can be myself and don’t need to uphold a certain image to be respected in a professional environment.”

“I touch base with those at Hohidiai to see how things are progressing with the construction of the duck house. I look forward to being able to go back to this place, reconnect with friends, and see how the duck house works once it is filled with up to 1000 Muscovy ducks!”

“I know these experiences will help distinguish my job applications amongst others in many ways. However, I do believe the character development that comes with an overseas experience will be more of an advantage when job interviews are on the cards. I have been able to construct a detailed resume and am proud of my achievements to date, and will continue taking up the opportunities I am offered. I have been very blessed to have these opportunities and have had incredible teachers that have encouraged and helped me along the way.”

Since completing his time in Indonesia, Michael has worked in construction and has been able to do a few road trips up and down the east coast.

“I was enrolled last year in the Master of Disaster, Design, and Development course at RMIT University, to equip me with the specialist knowledge and skills to work in management or leadership roles in the international humanitarian and development sectors. However, I deferred as I was quite overloaded and was becoming burnt out. I then proposed to my girlfriend, and am planning a wedding currently. I’ve also been able to follow up on small post-graduating opportunities, such as attending a workshop on a new building simulation software, which has led to an opportunity to do tutoring work at the University of Adelaide throughout May in 2019.”

“I have discovered that it’s very easy to strive for a certain career and neglect giving yourself time to rest, time to express your own ideas and choose what’s important to invest in at present. Sometimes you lose sight of what’s around you when you’re too fixated on achieving something, and then you can lose the very passion that led you to strive for it as you become burnt out. I’m happy at the moment to try out new things, and keep my eye out for an opportunity to gain more exposure to the profession of Architecture. I am eager to learn more so that my future work can pioneer progressive and innovative concepts, and I look forward to working in this field.”

“In the next 6 months I would love to be continuing in study, whether it be in the academic research field, or in the Master of architecture post-graduate course at the University of Adelaide. I am also looking to work at an architecture practice in Adelaide focused on smart, environment focused and purposeful design.”

Posted in architecture, Faculty of Professions, Indonesia, Short Programs, Study Overseas Alumni, United States of America
Comments Off on Study Overseas Alumni #16 – Michael Morley

Gabriela Rodriguez is currently studying a Bachelor of Health and Medical Sciences (Advanced). In Semester 2, 2019, she will be heading to The National University of Singapore for one semester. Gabriela’s program is funded by the Westpac Scholarship, which includes funding her living expenses and participation a Future Leaders program.

Having previously travelled to much of Central America due to her parents being Peruvian, Gabriela has already visited Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Colombia. She is looking forward to experiencing different cultures when she studies in Singapore.

“When you go on exchange to another country, you challenge yourself because you have to get to know your new country, how things work there, and get out of your comfort zone. I wanted to have that challenge, and have the opportunity to connect with people from different cultures. I want to learn something from these people, have new friends, and experience new things with them. Singapore is so perfect for my career, Singaporeans have very high standards for public health and it’s very exciting for me to get the opportunity to go there. I’m going to challenge myself and learn lessons that will last for the rest of my life.”

Gabriela is planning to major in medical science, mental health, or public health. While in Singapore, she hopes to take biology, chemistry, and language. She is exploring the possibility of taking up either Mandarin or French in addition to her science subjects. Gabriela also plays badminton, and hopes to continue playing with her new friends in Singapore.

On the process of applying for the Westpac Scholarship, Gabriela said:
“It was just one Skype call that you had to make, so I felt a bit nervous. When I finished I felt like I wasn’t going to make it, and after one of the questions I felt confused at the end by my own words. When I knew I had it, at first I didn’t want to believe it. I got a call and they told me, but I was waiting for the email to tell my parents and my friends. I wasn’t going to believe it until I had that email. When I got it, it was so amazing and I was very excited. I couldn’t be happier.”

When asked what part of her exchange most excites her:
“Food! [laughs] But that’s an interesting question. There’s a lot of things that really excite me about Singapore. The National University of Singapore is a really good university, one of the best in the world. I’m a bit nervous but I’m excited to see how things work there and how students study. I’m looking forward to learning their techniques and applying that to my own studies. About the culture in Singapore, I’m excited about getting to know Asia and immersing in their culture. I find Asia very interesting. They have a way of seeing things that may seem unconventional for us in Western societies. They have different solutions and try different approaches to solve problems. I want to see how they do it, I’m very curious about it and find it very fascinating. Singapore is a great gateway to Asia.”

“I think the Westpac Scholarship is a great opportunity for me because of two reasons. One is the leadership program, which I think is absolutely amazing. When you get to a place and you know how to inspire people through leadership skills, I think you automatically gain some trust from your peers. The other reason is that I’m finding the scholarship very inspiring. They [Westpac] consider every person an individual and listen to your ideas. They even asked me about my hobbies and interests, and that triggered my interests even further and inspired me. They are going to empower me and show me how to be a leader.”

In ten years, Gabriela hopes to be working in the healthcare industry, as a doctor or public health researcher/advisor.
“I want to stay in this field, it’s something I truly love and feel passionate about.”

We congratulate Gabriela once again on receiving the Westpac Scholarship and look forward to following her on her exchange journey. You can also follow Gabriela by liking our Facebook page and following us on Instagram for further updates.

Posted in Asia, Exchange, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Singapore
Comments Off on 2019 Westpac Scholars – Gabriela Rodriguez

Dechlan Victory is currently studying a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical and Sustainable Energy) with a Diploma of Languages (German). In Summer School, 2017, Dechlan took part in the German in Germany summer school program, followed shortly by a full year exchange at the Technical University of Munich. He is currently in the process of applying for a winter school program with Project Everest in Timor-Leste.

Dechlan recently completed an internship with Schneider Electric, a multinational company that manufactures products for power management. We asked Dechlan how he came to be involved in manufacturing.

“[In Mechanical and Sustainable Energy] There’s sustainable building design, which is working on HVAC (heating ventilation and cooling), energy efficiency in buildings, and renewable energy. I was keen on those, but I was happy to try new things. I ended up at the Schneider Electric factory out at Gepps Cross, working with process engineers. I really love it, I didn’t know much about it before, but manufacturing has always been there and will always be there.”


Heidelberg, Germany

On his Study Overseas programs, Dechlan said:

“I started with the language course and then spent the rest of my time on exchange in Munich. It all came together. I wanted to do an exchange anywhere in general, it could have been an English speaking country, and back then I didn’t speak a second language. I met a lot of exchange students in my first year here at Adelaide, and they could all speak a second language, sometimes even a third. I felt a bit inadequate. The email from the Faculty of Arts came around at the beginning of 2016, saying ‘why not learn a language?’ and I just put the two ideas together and thought ‘why not learn a language and do an exchange?’

German was an obvious answer for engineering. And I didn’t want to just do an exchange and still speak English, I wanted to study in German too. I thought I should get my act together and pick up German faster if I wanted to study in German, so the winter program was a nice fit. I only had one year of German behind me, and I was going to be sitting exams in German within the next six months.”


Kitzbühel, Austria

“I pushed myself really hard. Everyone goes on exchange and thinks they’ll try and meet local people and speak the language. But it’s a bit harder than that. I pushed myself to meet German people and practice the language so that I could take my exams later. I ended up going out and making friends with a few Germans. For some of them, their English was better than my German and they wanted to practice their English. So we would be talking in German, but as soon as I made a mistake they would swap back to English. Towards the end, as my German got better, I found myself in situations where it was reversed, and my German was better than their English.”

“I definitely felt like I was throwing myself in the deep end. I was always on edge and worried that I’d bitten off more than I could chew. Not only was I doing my engineering subjects over there, which are hard enough as they are, but I was doing them in a different language. On top of that, as with all first semesters, I was probably enjoying myself a bit more than I should have, and it all caught up with me. I was freaking out, but as all stories go, I got my study into gear, got my act together, focused on my German, and pulled it all together. My exams came, and it was super intense. But it was the challenge that I had set myself out to do. I was expecting to be in that situation and I knew it would be hard.”


Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, Germany

“I finished my exams, had a four week break, and went hitch hiking with a friend. It was at Oktoberfest in September when I got the email with my grades. I checked them and saw that I had passed everything. A full year and a half since I made the decision to take my exams in German – I’d ticked all the boxes I wanted to tick, and I had passed. I felt on top of the world, like I could do anything. It was the first time I’d ever had a long term plan, and I had done it. I felt so prepared and confident for the next semester.”

“I felt that I had proven myself. Growing up in Adelaide and living at home the whole time, I had just been going from uni to home and back again. I always wondered if I was capable of doing it by myself. I proved to myself that I could, and when I moved back to Australia after my exchange, I felt more independent even though I was still living with my parents. Once I finish studying, I know I won’t have any hesitation in moving out because I know I can do it.”


Salzburg, Austria

On his internship and subsequent employment at Schneider Electric, Dechlan said:

“I remember sitting in my interview and they said to me that they were amazed at how my resume showed I could throw myself out of my comfort zone. I had on there that I had lived in Germany and studied there for sixteen months. It showed that I was able to adapt quickly.”
“It was my own decision to challenge myself in that way. It shows that you have the ability to figure things out on your own – you’re independent. Also having the international experience, especially in big companies, diversity and multiculturalism is very important.”


Stockholm, Sweden

Dechlan would recommend an overseas study experience to any student:

“Everyone’s experience is different. For people who aren’t sure, you have to do it! It’s worth it. There’s a lot of apprehension in leaving your friends and family behind, and having no money, but you’re not the only one who feels like that. Once you get to the country and go to an exchange event you realise every single person there is the same as you. They’ve left their friends and family, and you’re all in the same boat. Because of that, people are so much more open to meeting each other and making friends. It’s so much easier. My main tip is to not second-guess yourself.”


Bundestag, Berlin, Germany

Within the next six months, Dechlan hopes to finish his degree and graduate.

“I want to go back to Germany and improve my German more. There’s a level of fluency that I didn’t get to. When you spend an extended period of time in another language, you start to be able to think in that language. When I go back, I want to work in a German-speaking position and go that final step. I want to minimise the amount of English that I use over there and kind of finish things off with my German.”

“Once I’m done with German I also want to try and learn another language. I’m thinking maybe French or Italian. I had a lot of Italian friends on my exchange and they taught me a little bit, and I think I could do it. France is also a bit industrial country like Germany, so if I could spend some time there learning French that would work well with engineering. Schneider Electric also has factories in Vietnam and China that I would really like to see.”

Posted in Student Blogs
Comments Off on Study Overseas Alumni #15 – Dechlan Victory

Mary Kelly is currently studying a Bachelor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. At the end of 2018, she completed a Hacker Exchange program to San Francisco to learn about the start-up scene. Her time with HEX allowed her to return and further develop her own start-up. Mary is currently the president of the Adelaide University Entrepreneur […]

Posted in Faculty of Professions, North America, Short Programs, Student Blogs, Student Experience, Study Overseas Alumni, United States of America
Comments Off on Study Overseas Alumni #14 – Mary Kelly

Ellen Schulz is studying a double degree in Law and Arts and is majoring in Chinese. In 2015, she completed a Law School study tour to China; in 2016, she completed an exchange to Shanghai Jiao Tong University thanks to the Westpac Asian Exchange Scholarship; and in 2018 she completed both an internship in Sri […]

Posted in Asia, China, Exchange, Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Professions, Law, Short Programs, Sri Lanka, Study Overseas Alumni
Comments Off on Study Overseas Alumni #13 – Ellen Schulz

Jordan Dekens completed the AIM Overseas program ‘Intensive French in Vichy’ in Summer School 2019. Jordan is studying a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in French Studies and Creative Writing. Please note that this post has been edited from the original blog on the AIM Overseas website.   After leaving my family on an emotional New […]

Posted in Europe, Faculty of Arts, France, Student Experience
Comments Off on Student Experience – Jordan Dekens

Bridget Smart is currently studying at the National University of Singapore for Semester 1 2019. Bridget is studying a Bachelor of Mathematical Sciences (Advanced). As a recipient of a 2019 New Colombo Plan Scholarship, Bridget has been funded for her exchange in Singapore as well as an additional internship in Japan. We interviewed Bridget after […]

Posted in Asia, Faculty of Engineering, Computer & Mathematical Sciences, Singapore, Student Blogs
Comments Off on 2019 New Colombo Plan Scholars – Bridget Smart

Jenal Dhar is currently studying a Masters of Business Administration. In 2018, she completed her exchange to the European Business School. She spent two weeks in Wiesbaden and one week in Berlin, Germany.  While in Germany, Jenal took subjects that focused on topics such as the European Financial Landscape, Corporate Decision Making, and Business and […]

Posted in Student Blogs
Comments Off on Student Experience – Jenal Dhar – MBA Exchange at the European Business School

Jad Halimeh studied a Bachelor of International Studies with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in History, as well as a Diploma of Languages in German. Jad completed two overseas programs with Study Overseas while he was at University – the first one an exchange to the College of William and Mary (USA) in 2016, and […]

Posted in Student Blogs
Comments Off on Study Overseas Alumni #12 – Jad Halimeh

Rhona Hamilton is currently preparing to go on exchange to the University of Tokyo, Japan, in Semester 1 2019. Rhona is currently studying a Bachelor of Science majoring in Physics, and has also completed a Diploma of Languages in Japanese. As a recipient of a 2019 New Colombo Plan Scholarship, Rhona has been funded for […]

Posted in Asia, Faculty of Sciences, Japan, Student Blogs | Tagged , , , , ,
Comments Off on 2019 New Colombo Plan Scholars – Rhona Hamilton