Hi! I’m Tania and I am graduating from a BSc Mathematics, Operational Research, Statistics, and Economics this July 2016. I went to the University of Sydney as an exchange student last semester.
Here are my tips on studying abroad.
- Living arrangement is really expensive in Sydney. If you find a place near uni that is around 300 AUD/week, I suggest you quickly secure it (as long as it’s not dodgy). I would recommend the student lodging near uni such as Urbanest Cleveland Street, Darlington, or Iglu Central. If you want to live in halls, you have to lodge an application at least five months prior, especially if you are coming in March (I lodged mine 4 months prior and I didn’t get it).
- Don’t feel compelled to just go to universities listed as the exchange partners. If you want to go to a certain university, apply there. It might be a bit of a hassle, but I think it is worth it. I have seen many students that do their semester abroad on a non-partner university, and they said that it was the best choice they ever made.
- Choose your modules wisely. This means consider your options (look for similar module offered by other departments, look at every department), check carefully the prerequisites (I had to study the prerequisites on top of the actual module), check if there are module requirements you have to fulfill in Southampton, and if it is transferable.
- Introduce yourself. This sounds a bit silly at first since I never do this in Southampton, but I actually found this useful in Sydney. What I did is that in the first lecture I introduced myself to the lecturers saying that I was an exchange student. This helps because it helps them to know that there is (or are) exchange student(s) in his/her class that may not be aware of teaching methods and totally familiar with the prerequisites. I was given A LOT of help by all my lecturers that help me throughout the semester.
- Familiarize yourself on how the academics work. Full attention on their grading scale, how you are going to be assessed, your course reps, and the final exams (how to obtain past papers and answers if provided).
I think these are points on what I would do if I were to do my semester abroad again. But most importantly, don’t forget to have fun!