Paolo Maroma is currently in his third and final year of a Bachelor of Biomedical Science, majoring in Immunology and Biochemistry. Paolo took part in the Seoul Changing Biotechnology study tour in Mid-Semester Break of Semester 1, 2018. He is now working as a laboratory technician for agricultural company Viterra.


Paolo was born in the Philippines and moved to Australia when he was three years old. He has frequently visited his home country as well as a few others, but never independently.

Paolo currently works for agricultural company Viterra as a laboratory technician, and has previous lab experience doing a research project during his first year of university with Dr. Simon Baxter, where he focused on the Diamondback Moth, Plutella ylostella and the toxins produced by the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis. Paolo was ecstatic about being accepted to take on the research project, as he had no prior experience and had only just completed his first year of university. The research project was his first experience in science, and he loved every moment of it. The research project was what drove Paolo to pursue science, continue his degree, and, as he says, “maybe someday end up in a similar position as Dr. Baxter”.


Paolo was driven to apply for his study tour by the unique experience he imagined gaining. He was also interested in learning more about Korean culture and what his international postgraduate study options were. He was always interested in the idea of studying overseas, but never knew how to pursue it. When a professor mentioned it in a lecture, Paolo decided to enquire further and apply for the study tour.

After his study tour, Paolo realised that he had achieved a new level of independence through booking his own flights, navigating airports, and making his way to hotels. What was once daunting is now a breeze, sparking a love of travel for Paolo.


From his study tour, Paolo most enjoyed visiting Changdeokgung Palace secret gardens and the central area of Myeong-dong, where the accommodation for his study tour was. He loved the food, bright lights, and lively atmosphere, as the district served as a gateway to other attractions around Seoul. Paolo also particularly enjoyed site visits to well established universities and laboratories. He liked seeing what researching is like, as he wishes to pursue it further after he finishes his bachelor’s degree. Having seen and worked in laboratories in Australia, Paolo found it a great experience to see not only the similarities, but the slight differences between labs in both countries. Paolo was also happy to become friends with others in his degree who he had often seen around campus, but never gotten to know or speak to until they took part in the study tour together.

While studying in Seoul, Paolo learnt a few Korean phrases and immediately fell in love with the language. He could already speak one of the many dialects in the Philippines, but he would love to learn more Korean. In fact, it’s one of his goals before his visits Seoul
again in the future, so he doesn’t need to rely on Google translate like he did on his study tour.


Paolo was encouraged to take up the opportunities presented to him throughout the study tour. At networking nights, Paolo was able to meet with University of Adelaide Alumni who were working in Seoul, as well as alumni from other Australian universities. During one of these networking nights, Paolo learnt what he feels is everything he needs to know about transitioning from working in Australia to working in Seoul. He now has contact details from several alumni that he can get in touch with if he does end up pursuing either further study or work in Korea.


After his study tour, Paolo has found that the overseas study experience has given him an advantage in finding other opportunities. In fact, a few weeks after the conclusion of the study tour, Paolo landed a job interview at a medical diagnostics company in Adelaide. He tells us “I have learnt so much about finding a job, editing my resume, cover letter advice, how to answer almost any question in any interview, and so much more while we had a careers workshop on the first day of the tour!” This careers workshop was tailored specifically for science students taking part in the study tour.


Paolo says “Without the overseas study experience, I would never have been introduced to all of the lovely and amazing people I know now, and I love them all for making the study trip a bright, bubbly, and fun new adventure.” Paolo hopes to finish his degree and try to visit Seoul again before applying for his Honours. He would like to stay a lab technician, but also loves the idea of becoming a researcher and someday a lecturer to pass on his knowledge to others.

In the next six months, Paolo hopes to finish his degree, complete another harvest season in his lab with Viterra, and apply for Honours. He would like to visit Japan next, having already visited Malaysia and Korea. Since returning, Paolo has used his newfound skills to completely re-write his resume, alter three cover letters for future positions opening in Australia, and mention his overseas experience in a job interview.

Paolo says, “It definitely is a life changing journey, and now I’m a more confident person with a different outlook on life, in terms of giving everything a try not being so hesitant! To quote Woojin, one of the alumni, “If you don’t do it, someone else will” – I’m so glad I applied to go on this trip!”

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Bradley Thompson has completed three programs with us – an exchange to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Semester 1, 2015, and again for a Full Year across 2016-2017, as well as an engineering placement with Fire and Risk Alliance in Chicago for Semester 2, 2017. We asked Bradley some questions about his overseas study experiences and how they’ve helped him to develop not only his employability, but his independence, confidence, and personality.



What degree are you studying at the University of Adelaide?
I’m currently in my fifth and final year of a double degree with a Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical and Electronic) (Honours) and a Bachelor of Finance.

What are you specialising in?
My honours thesis is on efficient path planning in autonomous robotics and my final year project team is on the way to competing in the 2018 National Instruments Robotics Competition in Sydney this September.


What drove you to apply for your first overseas program?
Wanderlust, and the desire to have the typical ‘American college’ experience. The main goal that I had was to join a fraternity and take in as much of the American way of life as I could.

Had you travelled before (prior to the first program)?
I had travelled to the USA on holiday with family, as well as New Zealand and Japan for short cultural tours throughout my schooling.


Which of your multiple programs did you find to be the most rewarding?
Difficult to say. My first exchange program promoted self-discovery, providing the opportunities to gain more confidence, independence, and maturity. Whereas the second program allowed me to start building a professional presence overseas and begin my international career in engineering.

Tell us some highlights from your overseas experiences.
Spring break to Louisiana with a group of 20+ international students in 2015, spring break to Mexico with my fraternity brothers and other international students in 2017, Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day apartment crawls, finding other Australians and curious Americans to celebrate Australia Day with, frat parties and football tailgates, ski trips to Montana and Colorado, two 5000 mile road trips looping through a majority of the interior and coastal regions of the USA on both the east and west coasts, 4th of July celebrations all over Chicago, hiking through the Arizona desert or the Appalachian mountains … the list is endless.

What did you learn about yourself from your experiences?
I learnt to embrace the unknown while trusting in my own instincts to provide direction and safety; to chase after opportunities I want and to make sure I don’t take a back seat in my own life; to not stress or worry about aspects of my life or situation beyond my control; to take every day as it comes without overeager expectations; and a positive outlook.

What opportunities did the experiences give you?
Studying overseas allowed me to meet a wide array of people from all walks of life and countries around the world and create lifelong friendships. These people became my roommates, study groups, travel buddies and more, and made the time spent overseas worth every second. I was also lucky enough to meet my former employer at an industry night on campus and organise an internship for after the conclusion of my exchange program. I was able to work full time in Chicago as a fire protection engineer after my exchange. This experience allowed me to secure part time engineering work in Adelaide while I’m still studying.

Has studying overseas given you an advantage in finding other opportunities once you finish your degree?
From my experience in the USA I was able to find engineering work in Adelaide with good employment prospects going forward after graduation, and there is also good potential for me to return to my previous employer in Chicago as a qualified engineer after graduation.

Did you talk about your overseas study in any interviews for opportunities (internships, job interviews, university applications, etc.)?
It’s difficult not to have your overseas experience creep into every conversation you have, not just when it comes to job interviews. An exchange program forces you to confront yourself and learn who you are in a way that staying home and going to your home university every day can’t. The stories, anecdotes, and life experience gained through overseas study are invaluable to an employer and allow you to answer interview questions confidently with examples from your own life.

How would you sell yourself using your international experience?
My international experience made me a more independent, mature, critically-thinking, ambitious person. I have developed a deeper understanding of global cultural diversity through first-hand experience in international travel and have had to relate to people using newly learned languages and idioms. Professionally, these traits have allowed me to communicate effectively with a host of international clients on complex projects with varying local customs and design specifications.


Do you think that completing the experiences helped you to stand out from other candidates?
Many employers will reject a candidate on the basis of ‘lack of life experience’. Overseas study will certainly provide this desired experience and is a lot of fun too! The personal and professional skills that can be picked up along the way will also bolster your candidacy immensely.

Are you still friends with/do you still keep in contact with anyone from your overseas study?
The second time around you are more prepared in terms of independently organising accommodation, coordinating with university staff over email and dealing with any unusual local customs. I’m still great friends with many people I’ve met while overseas. Some have already visited me in Australia, others are planning to visit soon, and some I’m planning on visiting when I graduate at the end of this year.

What is your aspiring career path?
I currently have a few ideas on the table, but my main paths of exploration are with the Australian Defence Force, engineering work both locally or back in the United States, and failing all that I’ll probably get a job at a ski resort in Canada for a while.

What have you discovered about yourself since taking part in your first two overseas study experiences?
I’ve learned to embrace new or unusual experiences without passing prior judgement on it, whether that’s a culture, food, extreme sport, social event, etc.

What do you want to accomplish in the next six months?
Complete the autonomous robot in time for the competition, submit my thesis, and graduate with good grades. All while maintaining current levels of activity in Uni sport, work, volunteering with CFS, and pursuing future employment after graduation.

Where would you like to visit next?
I’d love to backpack around Europe and South America. I’d also like to organise a road trip throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

How has the overseas study you took part in through the University of Adelaide helped you get to where you are now?
It has boosted my personal confidence and professional communication skills beyond what I thought I was capable of as a first year when first deciding to pursue my first exchange program.

What is your favourite destination you have ever visited?
This is probably the most difficult question! I’m having a hard time deciding between the picturesque hikes of Zion NP, the parties and beaches of Cancun, the mind-blowing expansiveness of Grand Canyon NP, the serenity and natural beauty of Shenandoah NP, and the snow pow-days and hot tub snowball fights at Big Sky Resort.

How many countries have you visited throughout your overseas experiences?
5 – New Zealand, Japan, USA, Canada, Mexico

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jonty dearJonty Dear has completed two programs with us, and is about to start his third. In Semester 2, 2015, Jonty studied at McGill University in Canada. In Winter School of 2016, he took part in the Cambodia Humanitarian Design Summit run by Engineers Without Borders, and for the duration of Semester 2, 2018, he will be undertaking an internship with Jeumont Electric in France.


Jonty is currently studying a Bachelor of Mechatronic Engineering with a Bachelor of Mathematical and Computer Sciences, specialising in Applied Mathematics. For his Honours project, he’s researching conditional monitoring, which is examining electric motors and analysing the signals that they put out to determine when they are going to become faulty. Jonty will be completing his Honours project while undertaking the Jeumont Electric internship in France.



Mount Royal, Montreal, Canada

Mount Royal, Montreal, Canada

When we asked Jonty what drove him to apply for his overseas programs, he recalled his first application experience for his exchange to McGill University in 2015. He was watching the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, and was awestruck by the large amount of snow surrounding the athletes, which made him want to experience it himself. The next logical step for him to take was to apply for an exchange, particularly to Canada, which is famous for its snow.

Regarding his internship, Jonty told us that he had been working towards starting his career overseas since he returned from his exchange. He found that he had plenty of support from his professors regarding studying overseas. While it took him two minutes to complete the application, he knew if he got the internship place that his life would be changed for the six month duration of the internship.


Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Having previously travelled with his family to Bali and Europe, Jonty already felt like he could manage himself overseas. However, he wanted to step out of his comfort zone, and prepared for his exchange by backpacking around Europe by himself for two months prior to his exchange. He told us that this put him in the mentality of making friends before he started his semester at McGill University – he felt that he could walk into a room and start a conversation with anyone after his backpacking adventure.

One of the highlight’s of his time at McGill was the orientation week, where the entire first year student body is split into their faculties to take part in activities run by the whole university. Jonty told us it was incredible to see an orientation with such a high level of student involvement and enthusiasm.


While on his exchange, Jonty learnt that he became more open, friendly, and willing to meet other people. He also took more opportunities as they came to him, and has found that he doesn’t ‘play it safe’ with social activities anymore – he steps out of his comfort zone consistently and gets involved with activities that he previously would have avoided before his overseas programs. As Jonty told us, “You really have no reason to say no”.


Regarding his internship with Jeumont Electric, Jonty believes that his previous exchange experience gave him an advantage over other applicants. He already had the international experience, and was not daunted by the requirement of having to live overseas for six months. Additionally, when he returned from his exchange, Jonty joined the Exchange Student Network (ESN), and was President to a Network of over 300 students for a while. He acknowledges that this would not have been possible without his positive attitude towards his exchange. His involvement with the ESN has consistently given him an advantage in student involvement requirements for internship and job applications.


McGill University, Montreal, Canada

McGill University, Montreal, Canada

Every time Jonty has had an interview for an internship, a job opportunity, or volunteer work, his overseas experience has always been a strong talking point. When we asked Jonty about this, he told us that he believes it’s more common for students to have undertaken an overseas experience in the past few years than ever before, and it’s important to use your overseas study experience to your advantage when you’re a potential candidate for a job position. When he’s in these situations himself, Jonty focuses mostly on how he has become more adaptable in certain situations. When starting at a new company, Jonty says you should show that you can find a way to fit in and be confident in asking questions. In his interviews, Jonty explains that he’s already done this several time, and that he’s used to being in situations where he doesn’t know anyone, or where he feels like his surroundings aren’t familiar. Talking about these challenges has given him an advantage in applying for internships and paid positions for various companies.


Hvar Island, Croatia

Hvar Island, Croatia

We asked Jonty, as a former ESN president, if he had seen a difference in students who have been overseas than to students who haven’t. While selling tickets for an ESN event, a student approached the table, saying he had just returned from an exchange to Singapore. Jonty found the student to appear quiet, however once he started talking to him he was amazed to hear of the stories the student had from exchange. It turned out, the student he was speaking to was one of our past feature students, Alex Adamson, who travelled from Singapore to Norway overland (you can read about Alex’s story here). Jonty was so happy to hear that students who may look quiet may have experienced some of the most incredible things because of an overseas study experience. Jonty believes that frequently talking about your overseas experiences sets your personality apart from others, and shows that you have interesting stories that can make you a better person than who you were before you took part in overseas study.


Sziget Festival, Budapest, Hungary

Sziget Festival, Budapest, Hungary

At this stage, Jonty is hoping to undertake a PhD and further his knowledge while overseas. He hopes to specialise in an area that will give him an advantage and make him irreplaceable in the field. He is excited that his internship with Jeumont Electric will give him the independent research skills he needs to undertake a PhD overseas. In the next six months, Jonty hopes to study harder, save money for his internship, and most of all, have an enjoyable six months in France where he can leave a good impression of University of Adelaide students.


As a final question, we asked Jonty if he had any bucket list destinations, to which he answered that he wants to see everything. But specifically, he wants to see the Northern Lights, backpack around South America, and revisit South East Asia.

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  Harry Lucas has completed four programs through Study Overseas, and is on track to complete another. His first program was a Civil Engineering Study Tour to China in 2014, followed by a placement in 2015, an internship at the start of 2018, and an exchange for a Full Calendar Year in 2018. Harry is on […]

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Elana Bartholomeusz completed an exchange at Sciences Po, Paris, in Semester 2 2017.  My experience at Sciences Po University in Paris was, to put it simply, like nothing else I had ever done in my life! This exchange was so rewarding for countless reasons, and I really enjoyed so many aspects of the student and […]

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On the 1st of May, 2018, we announced the winners of our Picture This… Photo Competition. We received over 200 entries in this year’s competition, and were absolutely blown away by the entries we received. The winners of the 2018 Picture This… Photo Competition are:                     […]

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Gianraffaele Moffa went on exchange to Dalhousie University in Semester 1 of 2017 as part of his Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical). This blog post is taken from Dalhousie’s website here. What is the best piece of advice you have for living in Halifax? The number one tip I can give is to bring half as […]

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Grace Williams attended Aalto University for a short program during Adelaide’s Summer School period in 2018. This blog post was submitted as part of the Aalto Ambassadors Grant, awarded by the Faculty of the Professions.    Finland? Why Finland?   The question “Why Finland?” asked by friends and family was also echoed by students I […]

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Lucy Pittman completed an exchange to Lund University, Sweden, in Semester 1, 2017.   While overseas, it can be overwhelming to suddenly find yourself away from family. There are many ways of coping with this, and a great resource for finding help is The Global Society.   The Global Society recommends that students take care […]

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Chiqui Manalastas graduated from the University of Adelaide in 2017 with a Bachelor of Nursing. Chiqui took part in our Nusing Japan study tour while at the University of Adelaide, which lead her to focus on a more globally-focused career, starting with the Walt Disney Company Australia and New Zealand Cultural Exchange Program. Chiqui comes […]

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