Why come to the University of Queensland to study?
The University of Queensland (UQ) is ranked in the top 3 universities in Australia and as such presents a very high standard of education. Lecturers are very approachable here and most subjects have tutorial groups to assist you in areas that you may have difficulty in. Aside from the high level of education that you will receive here UQ is a very social place. There are many clubs and societies that you can join which hold regular events. UQ also has many programs that help international students socialise with other international and Australian students. There are over 30,000 students studying at the St Lucia campus so you are bound to find some people who will become your friends during your stay (and after you leave). Australians love to travel so the friends you will make here will undoubtably hit you up for a couch to sleep on in the future.
Why Come to Australia?
Australia is a very large place and thus offers a range of environments for you to explore and enjoy on your stay. Skiing in perisher, drinking a beer on one of our 10,685 beaches, trekking through the Daintree rainforest, exploring the alien worlds of the Great Barrier reef or experiencing the vast nothingness of the Aussie outback are just some of the unique environments that are available for your exploration. Australia is also home to many unique animals that are not found anywhere else on earth. Even the cities are teeming with wildlife and you will see many exotic birds, reptiles and mammals on your stay. There are many rumours about dangerous animals in Australia, however most animals keep to themselves. The most dangerous animals, such as drop bears ( http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/journal/drop-bears-prefer-travellers-says-study.htm ) do not inhabit densely populated areas. Another reason to come to Australia is to experience the friendly people and laid back attitude of « she’ll be right » that prevails here. From my discussions with international students, studying in Australia is VERY relaxing compared to other countries.
How to make the most of your stay in Australia
The most important aspect of studying in Australia is meeting Australians and experiencing the local way of life. The easiest way to achieve this is to find a room to rent in a local share-house. This will be much cheaper than renting in house set up for international students (which are run for profit and often have strict rules and are generally shit and boring) and will allow you immerse yourself in the culture. When looking for a house to rent make sure to meet all the tenants to ensure that you will get along with them. Living in a student house means that you will be living a similar lifestyle to the other tenants, this is very handy in exam periods (and also fun in non-exam periods). Australian share-houses function like ‘mini-families’ and as such you will be able invited to experience what Australians do on a day to day life. A good share-house means that you will meet your flatmates friends and be invited to local parties and events that you may otherwise not heard about. Be aware that not all rental prices include electricity and internet so be sure to ask (water is generally free and in Queensland heating is not a thing). Rent is advertised per week and sometimes a bond is asked to be paid.
When semester finishes you will most likely have time to explore Australia. Remember it is a BIG place and to get anywhere you will need to travel. Make a plan of what you want to see ahead of time and you will save a lot of money on plane tickets. Alternatively you can rent a van with friends and go on a road trip, but be aware that you will be driving a LOT. Also, some areas need special preparations (such as the desert and aboriginal commuinties) so make sure to do research. Also, do not let the movie Wolf Creek dissaude you from visiting exotic locations, serial killers targeting foreigners hardly ever happens.
All in all your stay in Australia will be a very rewarding and enriching experience. So start organising your exchange now, I’ve got a frosty coopers red with your name on it.