Sam Wall is currently studying a Bachelor of International Relations with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Geography and minoring in Sociology. In Semester 2, 2019, he will be heading to The University of Hong Kong for one semester. Sam’s program is funded by the Westpac Scholarship, which includes funding his living expenses and participation in a Future Leaders program.

Having only been overseas for the first time in October 2018, Sam is excited to kick-start his career by visiting the huge international city of Hong Kong for his exchange. He is also looking forward to attending an additional Westpac Future Leaders Summit in Shanghai, will also provide him with the networking opportunities he needs for his up and coming career.

“I was born in Adelaide but moved to Port Lincoln when I was quite young. I had a country upbringing, and I think that influences me a little bit in that I was coming to Adelaide and didn’t know anybody. I’m okay with being dropped in the deep end, so to speak. In terms of me as a person, I really do love studying. I enjoy learning. I’ve really enjoyed the university experience. Beyond that, I play basketball and do a lot of reading and writing. I’m more into non-fiction than fiction, especially things surrounding conservation and politics. At the end of reading all my weekly readings, I don’t mind doing my own recreational reading as well. I like multi-disciplinary academics and find it easy to read and gain interest in things.”

“There’s two things that made me want to go on exchange. I do definitely have an interest in Asia and in building that relationship between Australia and Asia. Coming from a background of international relations, I have an understanding of the increasing importance of the Asian region. Most of the world lives in Asia, and it’s a great area for looking at how we tackle global change. The other thing I’m interested in is transferring my classroom knowledge into real-world experience.”

“I’m nervous about a few things. Even though I have gone overseas before, it can sometimes be such an overwhelming experience when you’re in these big, global cities with so many people and so much happening. I want to try and get involved in extra-curricular activities while I’m over there. Hong Kong is also a very international university as well, so I’m not only interested in meeting people from Asia, but people from all around the world.”

“I’d say I’m most excited to check out the urban and political geography. Urban geography is the study of space within an urban area. To relate it to a real-world concept: when I went to Thailand last year, one of my favourite things was just experiencing the city of Bangkok. I’d been to Melbourne and Sydney, but having not been out of Australia I hadn’t really experienced those huge cities before. One of my favourite things was just being on the buses and driving around the city, looking around. Political geography a good crossroads between international studies and geography. It’s the idea of how a space is governed and how things are governed within a space.”

“Throughout the whole process of applying for the Westpac Scholarship, I stayed in close contact with the Study Overseas team. Last year I applied for the NCP Scholarship but I wasn’t successful, but I developed a good relationship with some of the staff and they encouraged and guided me through the process of applying for Westpac. It was a little surreal when I’d found out that I’d actually gotten it. Not only having the financial support of being able to go overseas but having access to the 100 Scholars network – that was something I was really interested in. A network of young intelligent people who have similar interests in trying to build those Asia-Australia ties – I was very excited to be a part of that. I do remember the day I found out, it was quite overwhelming at first but then it slowly sunk in. I realised ‘this is actually going to happen’.

Sam hopes to take courses in politics, geography, and sociology while in Hong Kong, but is open to try other classes as well.
“I have thought about learning a language. I started Japanese when I first started university but found it too difficult, then I did a bit of French to fulfil the language requirement of my degree. I’d certainly revisit it if I get a lot of connections and networking opportunities in Hong Kong – I can see how a language would be beneficial there. I’d say I’m not naturally good at learning a language, but I’d like to reconsider it down the track. Hong Kong teaches classes in English, which as someone who doesn’t have a flair for languages, was a good thing to still have the same opportunities as students who do find picking up languages easier.”

“I’ve had different ideas about where I want to go with my degree. At the moment I’m looking more into the research kind of things, whether it be academic research or policy research. Like I said earlier, I love learning and the university experience. I’d love to convert those skills into a job. I’m doing an internship this semester with Dr Minerva Nasser-Eddine in the Department of Politics & International Relations department. She runs her own business in international migration. I’m doing a research project with her, which is really the first thing I’ve done outside of the University within the research area. I’m really looking forward to working with her. I’ll take all the experience I can get to get that real world experience before pursuing the career path I want.”

In ten years, Sam would like to be working somewhere in research, and has considered being behind-the-scenes in the government or the private sector. He is also open to teaching at University and becoming a tutor. He can see himself as someone who will “jump around the field a bit” and is excited to see where life takes him.

“I know a lot of people who don’t study overseas who are doing quite well, but turning that classroom knowledge into real world experience gives you that international edge over everyone else. It makes it easier when you graduate and apply for graduate programs and things like that. Having those international experiences is more personally fulfilling as well. It shows you’re willing to take the challenge and make the uncomfortable more comfortable.”

Posted in Asia, China, Exchange, Faculty of Arts, Hong Kong
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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
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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
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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 […]

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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
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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
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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
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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
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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 […]

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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 […]

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