6. Brekkie and Breakfast

By Jellaby Lai (Australian National University, Canberra, Australia)

“Where is the sun?”, I screamed inside my head whenwalking out of the plane at Manchester airport. It took me a few minutes before accepting the fact that I was back in Manchester, the driest place on earth. Having lived in few different places, spending a few months in a new country is not new to me. However, each time I was shocked to see how my body and mind unconsciously adapted to the environment without noticing. Since Australia and the UK share the same language and Australian culture has largely been influenced by British settlers arriving in 1788, this hugely minimised the degree of culture shock I experienced. Personally, I wouldn’t say I have suffered from any culture shock, but it took me a while to respond to ‘Good day’ (Australian way of saying hello) naturally and get used to the Aussie accent. On my return to Manchester, I continued using words like ‘heaps’ (a lot) and ‘brekkie’ (breakfast) until having received a fair amount of odd looks.

Compared to Canberra, Manchester is more dynamic. I love them both. I missed the natural beauty of Canberra, Lake Burley Griffin by the side of my campus, the Black Mountain at the back of my hall and its climate. I like the excitement and convenience Manchester has to offer. I was surrounded by people in Canberra most of the time and I have a more independent life in Manchester. I took a few weeks to get used to the quietness in my flat.

Spending time in another prestigious university has given me motivation to work harder and inspired me to try out new things. I have become a more flexible and adaptable person than ever. I have learnt to see and think in different perspective, to challenge my comfort zone and to stay calm in unexpected situations.

This is my final blog about my study abroad experience in Australia. I very much appreciate this opportunity offered by the University and the International Programmes Office. I absolutely understand studying abroad may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I can’t emphasise enough the benefits of doing it. The preparation and application process maybe long and time-consuming, but it definitely worth it!

5. Reflection on my time at Australian National University (ANU)

By Jellaby Lai (Australian National University, Canberra, Australia)

Ummm, I have no idea where to start. It has been a crazy, joyful and adventurous six months. So much has been learnt and so many bonds have been made.

From the moment I landed in this wonderful, sunny land to the time I had to start packing and say farewell to my friends and the animals (spiders not included) around my hall, not even one second did I halt and think. Now, sitting in front of my laptop (equivalent to a smartwatch in this generation), memories start to sink in and I can’t help but giggle. Reflecting on my study abroad journey helps me think critically about what I have done and why, and learn self-evaluation.

Academic:

I studied abroad in the second semester of my second year. Because of the complexity of course matching, I had to take two second year and two third year courses at ANU. The third year courses were demanding and I had underestimated them at the start of semester. I would have put more time in studying to prevent pulling endless all-nighters. It is important to experience life as much as possible. But in the end,  a good work-life balance will lead to success.

Non-academic:

I was fortunate to be allocated in one of the most inclusive, welcoming and fun halls on campus. Sharing a big kitchen with other four hundred something residents gave me opportunities to social with so many different people. We spent day and night in there, laughing and cooking together. There were all kind of activities organised by the hall committee. I had tried out new sports and went to basketball training (no fear being the shortest player in the team). Everyone was very supportive and I had acquired some new skills and explored a different side of myself. More importantly, I have made some life-long friends.

I would definitely study abroad again if there is a chance!

4. End of Semester Trip

By Jellaby Lai (Australian National University, Canberra, Australia)

Together with another five exchange students, we went camping along the Great Ocean Road and the outback. Looking at the photos, I can’t help but  start planning my next camping trip!

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Great Ocean Road

 

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Our camper van (car)

Great Ocean Road and Outback

 

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Koala spotting
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Great Ocean Road. Heaven is opening.
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Big John, our camper van
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West MacDonnell Range
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Manchester ‘On the road’
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West MacDonnell Range
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West Macdonnell Range
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Campsite. About to start a fire

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3. Academic Difference (ANU vs. UoM)

By Jellaby Lai (Australian National University, Canberra, Australia)

Studying abroad is all about LEARNING: new culture, new knowledge, new skills, new people and new stories. Today let’s talk about the academic differences between Australian National University in Canberra and The University of Manchester. Talking from experience, I found it extremely helpful to know the differences before starting my semester abroad. (For those who haven’t read my introduction, I did Actuarial Science and Mathematics so the differences I am about to talk about may vary from other courses.)

Academic Differences The University of Manchester(UoM) Australian National University (ANU)
Course units per semester(Full credit) 6 4
Lecture style In lecture hall or theatre Same
Lecture Recording Some lectures are recorded, some are not. All of them are recorded
Assignment Weekly assignments are not marked after first year The weekly assignments marks make up part of the final grade for many courses
Tutorial Weekly tutorial Same
Exam 2 hours exam 3 hours exam(One of the Statistics exam I had is an open book exam which I have never had in UoM)

Personally I am not a big fan of 3-hour exam, it is very draining and one of the papers I did was worth 180 marks. The pressure was no joke. However it has turned me into a much more flexible and adaptable learner. It is vital that you know the assessment method of your chosen modules. Figure out what learning style best suits you and pick the modules with your preferred assessment method. Like The University of Manchester, Australian National University offers a wide variety of different units and the learning environment and facilities at ANU are excellent.

2. So My Adventure in Australia Begins!

By Jellaby Lai (Australian National University, Canberra, Australia).

Big apologies for not updating for so long!! My exchange so far has been quite hectic yet wonderful and can’t wait to share all these with you. This blog takes everything right back to when I first arrived ANU. ‘Good Day,’ I arrived on the first day of the orientation week and received a very warm welcome from my hall (Burton & Garran Hall)team.

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Staying at a private hall in Manchester last year, I am so glad I can now experience a student hall life in the other side of the world which is absolutely amazing I’ve to say! During the orientation week, there were all sort of well-organised and fun welcoming parties and events. By the end of the week I was totally knackered. I shut myself in the room and caught up with my sleep during the weekend (Also to avoid getting the ‘Fresher Flu’ haha).

With other lovely exchange kids at B&G hall
With other lovely exchange kids at B&G hall

CIMG5366 (2) Staying at a private hall in Manchester last year, I am so glad I can now experience a student hall life in the other side of the world which is absolutely amazing I’ve to say!   CIMG5472   First two weeks at school was hectic, there were some issues with my course selection and I have spent most of my time speaking and emailing to professors and exchange adviser about it. I suggest you to well-plan your course choices and sort every possible issues out before you leave Manchester and have a back-up plan, trust me you don’t want to run around the campus or sit in front of your laptop waiting for a reply when the sun is out. Everything was sorted soon, then I started to explore around Canberra and I did a basic rogaining in Black Mountain with the mountaineering club. Once again proofed that I have a very bad sense of direction and thanks to my brilliant teammates we found our ways to all the stations and got out. CIMG5373     Bye for now. The next post will be out very soon !

Pre-departure: I am READY?!

By Jellaby Lai (Australian National University, Canberra, Australia).

Hold Up. What? Is it really happening now?

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It has been a hectic few months for me. Writing all these down is exactly what I need to do to record every insignificant (probably for now!) events that had occurred to me during this time. I know I will regret it deeply if I do not do so. After all, these have been the most exhausted, challenging and daunting months to me.

Where should I start? Well, I started to notice ‘time isn’t enough for me’ since in the early December. I was told many times 2nd year is a real deal. Yes, they are all right about it. Few weeks before term broke up; I started to panic not to have enough time for revision. Yes, all of sudden all the lectures seem to so far out of reach of my comprehension. Has my IQ gone worse or what? I do not know. Then Christmas came. Countless nights out with family and friends (my bad) and the aftershock of the big Christmas dinner usually left me needing a good few days to recover to my normal self. I went back to uni earlier and almost camped in the library every day before exams.

I know, I know, I am not the brightest student; in additional with the occasional visit to the doctor appointment and Australian embassy for student visa; and filling forms for my accommodation application in Oz were just driving me nuts. Anyway, exams went okay and I’m still left sound and completed (apart from sleep deprivation) Haha. But, don’t get too happy yet. After the exam, I had only TWO days to evacuate out the room and jump on the next plane to Canberra. (This is because I decided to stop over in Hong Kong for a week before heading to Canberra). So it is the time when I blamed myself for buying too much. I would not want to go into details how I moved (like how I battled with my mind on how many pairs of shoes I have to bring to oz and how many cosmetics  I have to sacrifice because of the luggage allowance, blah blah blah); In the end, I just somehow managed it within 48 hours. Shamefully, I don’t have much time to farewell with my friends, please stay tuned here for my updates and I promise to bring you back lots of SUNSHINE as souvenirs.

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CIMG5370Yeah, en route to Hong Kong, there, I treated myself a pair of sunglasses – hope the Australians aren’t laughing at me, yes, I am THAT craving for the sun and I have geared up to embrace the sun, please do not disappoint me. It was only the time I started to do more research about what I want to do in Australia, what I want to see, what am I expecting, how is the university life there?  

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Thank you UoM of providing the exchange program to broaden my horizons. I am unsure what is yet to come, but I truly believe it will be a very extraordinary adventure for me.

To whoever reading this journal, I strongly recommend to try to participate any kind of exchange. Do not be put off by the paper work, the hassles of settling in new environment etc. Do it when you still have youth and passion. You will be amazed how much the world is yet to offer and how much you will develop yourself in just one trip.

To whoever that is already a student of UoM, you are the lucky ones. UoM offers many exchange programs and have many partnerships with other unis, so start doing your research and you will be the next one writing about how exhausting packing is and how much fun it is to follow after.