Deakin UniversityStudent Experience - Australia
Exchange Student, Anniken Volckmar
Deakin University, Australia - Fall 2008
“Warrnambool, where Deakin is located, is a small place about 3 hours from the city of Melbourne. There are other Deakin campuses, one in Geelong and another in Melbourne, and the people are just as nice everywhere. To anyone considering a study abroad, it’s a positive experience.”
To get my Australian visa, I had to apply online. There is no Australian embassy in Norway; therefore I did not need an interview. The closest embassy was in Berlin. There was a fee to pay, and a copy of my passport was needed as well as a health check. I had to go to a doctor to get blood tests, heart check, and also had to go through an x-ray of my upper body. When you apply for an Australian visa, you enter the amount of years you are going to stay. If you want to stay longer, you have to apply again.
I usually book my tickets through a Norwegian website, www.restplass.no. It is supposed to be cheaper compared to other companies. The ticket cost from Norway to Australia was about $3000. I had two stops coming from Norway, before landing in Australia, first London and the next Hong Kong. When I came to Melbourne where I landed, I had to take a train to Warrnambool (3hours). Upon arrival I only knew the name of the town I would be staying and my college; I found the way myself. I met some American girls on the train between Melbourne and Warrnambool, who helped me out a little bit.
As for my housing situation, I stayed on campus in Warrnambool. Five people shared one house in which we had one bedroom each, a living room and kitchen to share and 2 bathrooms. The house was reserved online using the Deakin University webpage.
To make calls internationally, I bought an Australian cell phone with an international card. Expensive, but it works. The local currency is the Australian dollar. For access to money I used the ATM. It is possible to get a local bankcard then there will not be any fees to pay e.g. exchange rates. Keep in mind that on average an exchange student would spend about $330 per month maybe more depending how often you eat out, if you go shopping, or visit other cities, etc.
Deakin compared to HPU in terms of quality of teaching, academic content and other matters it depends on each person what you will experience and expect. The system in Australia is more independent compared to HPU. We only had a few classes each day, and not too many tests or assignments like we have here. But on the other hand, our exams and final lab papers were worth a lot.
Overall, I would do it again. Deakin has nice people and good teachers. I think it is a positive experience to take part in an exchange program; you become more independent, learn more about other cultures and see other places.