My 3rd blog post

By Moses Chun (The University of Sydney, Australia)

My semester break was amazing as I travelled to the Gold Coast and it was a fabulous and relaxing trip! As I touched down at the Gold Coast airport after a short, one hour flight, I instantly felt in holiday mood as everything there suggested nothing but a great holiday. The weather was perfect and since it is already late summer, the temperature was not too hot and the sky was clear.

The Gold Coast was amazing but it was time to go back to University. It has been two weeks since the semester break and it’s getting busy as my timetable is filled with assessments. Having just finished two midterm exams, there are still three essays and one tutorial presentation to come. Course assessments in Sydney are quite different from what we have in Manchester as there are more components to them. All of my four courses include at least four assessments, each spread throughout the semester so there will be at least one assessment per week in the second half of my semester.

As I read my earlier blog posts, I find the way I wrote about my time abroad isn’t the most interesting, a bit like James May driving a Ferrari. Therefore I think the best way to tell you about my experience abroad and especially, how amazing it was at the Gold Coast, is to post some pictures and I hope you won’t be too jealous 😛
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It is 6:30am on the 25th of April while I am writing this blog post, after attending the ANZAC Day dawn service at the Garden of Remembrance nearby. It was a special experience and good reason to wake up before dawn.  Hopefully I can update the blog soon. It is time to get back to work.

It’s Easter…good time to have a break

By Moses Chun (The University of Sydney, Australia)

It has been around a month since I arrived and I am totally enjoying my time here!  The first few weeks of the semester went past really quickly and just as I get used to studying in this new environment, we are now on holiday!  It is a week-long break which includes the Easter and study vacation (similar to reading week I guess) and it feels like a good time to take a break, organise things and get ready for the busy part of the semester.

The first few weeks went very well as I got to familiarise myself with the campus and the mode of learning here.  The campus of the University of Sydney is huge and less compact than the Manchester campus.  Walking from one class to another can be quite far, similar to going from the North campus to the Learning Commons in our Manchester campus.  Therefore students may have to consider the walking time as well when they are planning their timetable as even classes of the same subject can be very far away.  Walking around the campus is always a pleasant experience as the weather is usually nice.  There is plenty of grass and benches for you to enjoy the sun and the perfect weather, and these are also good places to have a quick lunch in between classes, do some work or just sit down and relax.  The university consists of different kinds of buildings, from the old lecture theatres which have no air conditioning with wooden chairs carved with students’ graffiti back in the 1910’s, to modern buildings with bright and spacious classrooms; of course a campus isn’t complete without the boring engineering buildings from the ’70’s with dull concrete walls.

There is not much on-campus student accommodation here so students usually live off-campus in areas nearby, while local students from Sydney tend to live with their families.  Some of my coursemates live very far away from the university and it may take up to two hours to commute from home to campus.  I guess this is quite different from the situation in Manchester as there are lots of on-campus halls and even for students who live in Fallowfield, it only takes less than half an hour to get to university.  I also feel a better sense of community back in Manchester, probably because I lived in university halls so I was always around a group of friends and students even after school.  As for my experience in Sydney, students tend to go home after classes and it feels more like attending classes on an individual basis rather than learning together as a class.  Although I feel that the bonding between students may not be as strong as I have experienced in Manchester, I experienced a slightly different kind of student life here which is more independent and it is a new experience for me.  I think it has helped me to improve my self-management and I can focus on doing things according to my own plan, which includes studying, traveling, having fun with friends and doing exercise.
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The Quadrangle – the landmark of the University.
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Going to the University by train… (and yea!! I get to cross the Sydney Harbour Bridge whenever I go to uni and the view is spectacular).

As for my plan for this one week break, I can’t wait to travel to the Gold Coast and have a good time in this famous holiday destination.  I will be staying there for three days and I shall tell you more about my journey when I am back.  I hope all of you are having a great Easter holiday back home with your families or staying in Manchester (I wish I’d get to have a three-week holiday as well) and I will be updating soon.  See you guys soon! 🙂

First Week In Sydney!

By Moses Chun (The University of Sydney, Australia)

Hello!

It is the 7th of March and I am now in Sydney!  The semester has just started and it has been around one year since I was accepted to go on this exchange programme.  Having only been in Sydney for a few days and feeling excited while I am settling down, I think it may be good to look back and write about the preparation for my semester abroad.

It all began in 2013, back in the first semester of my first year in Manchester.  I was filling in the application form and it was a long one despite having only a few pages.  Students will have to plan carefully which courses they will be taking and seek approval from respective exchange advisers.  For me, I had to get my courses approved by both the Economics and Politics advisers to make sure the courses I am taking in Sydney will fulfill the requirements of my degree programme so I will not miss any prerequisites for my third year.  There are a few things that I had to consider when I was planning my courses, such as my interest in the unit of study, the timetable, whether the unit would fit into my degree programme well and the difficulty of that unit.  It meant that I had to do some detailed research and often sent emails to the partner university to ask for more information.  It also meant I had to compromise a little bit as it is hard to find a perfect fit.  Sometimes I couldn’t take the course which interested me the most and I am having to take some more difficult courses.  However, I still get to study what I find interesting and it is always good to challenge yourself with something a bit more difficult.  The reason I am talking about the application is that it may be more complicated than you thought but it ensures an enjoyable time abroad as you have done all the research and work beforehand.

After submitting the application, you may want to apply for accommodation if you wish to live in university halls.  Since the result of the exchange application will only come out around late February and the deadline for second year students to apply university halls is in mid-February (14th February last year… you will probably have more important things to care about on that day), it will be very hard to get a place in university halls if you apply after the deadline.  If you are confident about your exchange application, you may choose a one semester contract and it would be very convenient since you do not have to look for flatmates who will be going abroad as well to share a house.

Once my application was accepted, I had to attend meetings to get up-to-date information about studying abroad.  These meetings were very useful in preparing for the exchange programme.  You will get a lot of information from different people such as returning exchange students, and their experience can be very helpful as a starting point.

You cannot just submit the application and then be all good to go; constant work is needed as you will need to consider all aspects of studying abroad.  It will surely increase your workload, but don’t get me wrong, I found the process rewarding as it gave me the chance to seriously think and plan my own study, both in Manchester and Sydney, so that I have better understanding about what I want to learn and how I am going to learn it.  It was also a great opportunity to work on this ‘project’ which lasts for one and a half years, having to keep everything on track throughout the process.  I hope this blog post can help you to find out more about the work required for the application and to understand it is a long term commitment which you will find rewarding at the end.  Feel free to contact me if you have any questions and good luck with your application!

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<–Some photos taken on the USyd campus 🙂