After a really exhausting Bachelor’s degree, I felt that the time had come to see something other than your own four walls. Since the master’s degree was directly attached, I thought that I could at least partially spend it in another country.
After scouring the internet for various options for a semester abroad, I noticed MicroEDU. Here it seemed relatively uncomplicated and safe to get a place at the university. Due to the new BaFöG regulations, a large part of my tuition fees was covered, so that my only task was to find the right destination country. Since this would probably be my only semester abroad, my goal should offer as much as possible. So I decided to go to Australia. Although I’m not someone who has always wanted to go there or has always been interested in nature and the wild side, I thought that would be interesting. But I still had no idea how right I was in this choice.
As a university, I chose the RMIT in Melbourne. It seemed to me to have an interesting range of lectures and a good reputation.
Application and preparation
Applying through MicroEDU went smoothly. I had already done the only non-trivial one, the TOEFL, by chance a few months earlier, so that collecting the documents and writing the application only took about a day. The documents were accepted without any problems and quickly forwarded to the RMIT. In the middle of May 09 I sent everything off and waited for confirmation. See more student reviews of universities in Oceania on act-test-centers.
Unfortunately, it took another 6 months before I received the approval of the RMIT at the beginning of November, 3 months before my flight. Unfortunately, this was very nerve-wracking and cost me a lot of money, as the euro exchange rate had sunk a few weeks earlier and the tuition fees and flights were noticeably more expensive than previously calculated.
Well, February came, I packed my things and the journey began. However, I did not go directly to Melbourne but first to Bangkok for 3 days. It turned out that a flight via Bangkok and a 3-day hotel stay for a stopover were cheaper than a direct flight to Australia. So I was able to take a little vacation and shorten the time difference before I finally went down under.
Once in Melbourne, I was put in a free taxi by RMIT staff and driven to my hostel.
I spent the first 2 weeks at Greenhouse Backpackers. I can recommend this hostel unreservedly because it is absolutely central, relatively new, offers a lot of promotions (pasta Tuesdays and panncake Sundays are heavenly) and simply has a great atmosphere. And it was the only hostel with free wifi, which I agreed in Australia. So if you don’t mind sharing a room with several people (and if you want to travel to Australia, you will have this experience countless times), this backpacker is warmly recommended. However, you should secure a bed relatively early, as a lot of students arrive at the beginning of the semester and it can quickly happen that the next free bed in a hostel is 10 km away from the city. However, if you have secured a bed,
Especially at the beginning of the semester it is incredibly difficult to find an apartment near the city. So either secure a room from Germany (although most of the people I spoke to were not happy with it) or just wait for the first few weeks of the university and look when the rush has flattened out. I also got to know some students at the Greenhouse who initially looked for an apartment, but then gave up and stayed at Backpackers for six months. In retrospect, I would prefer that too. You will never again be able to live so cheaply in the city in Melbourne.
Well, enough about looking for an apartment, let’s come to the university.
The mandatory introductory days are in the first week. These were also urgently needed, as you here the opportunity gets first socialize. In retrospect, you get to know 90% of all people with whom you later spend time in these first 3 days. You also get to know the university, which is very helpful because it has no campus and the buildings are very randomly distributed in Melbourne. Also, try not to mix courses from Bundoora and the City Campus, as there is a 1.5 hour tram ride between the two locations and you spend half the day on the road.
Regarding the lecture level of the RMIT, I can only say that I never felt particularly under pressure. However, that was largely due to the fact that I had already completed my bachelor’s degree at RWTH and the computer science lectures were rather lengthy than difficult. In general, it can be said that you do a lot more during the semester than in Germany, since every lecture has compulsory exercises that are proportionately included in the final grade. You are obliged to hand in exercises during the entire semester, but the exam is no longer the only decisive factor and good grades are easier to get. Due to the 12 SWS per lecture, I was unfortunately only able to attend 4 lectures, but all of them are recognized and I lose almost no time during the semester abroad.Recognition is possible.
Although the university requires regular practice submissions, I was able to travel a lot and experience a lot. Australia is a great country with so many contrasts that you had to compromise because you couldn’t possibly see everything in 6 months. So in March I was on the Great Ocean Road and the Grampians near Melbourne, in April I went to Tasmania, in May, when it got colder in Melbourne, I flew to Alice Springs and Uluru, visited Sydney and ended up spending a few days in Darwin. Even only partially writing down the experiences would stretch this report to three times the length, so I’ll leave it to your imagination. But it was really unique and every single trip was amazing. The only thing I really miss on the list is the Gold Coast, but this one will be explored next time.
Although I had few expectations of Australia in the beginning, it has become one of the best experiences of my life. It wasn’t all easy to organize, sometimes very costly and sometimes a bit frustrating, but all negative moments were balanced a thousand times over by the many experiences, people and places that one encountered. It was an extraordinary time and I will remember it for a long time. If you have the opportunity, then use it. Australia, Melbourne, RMIT, best decision of my life.
And finally, a few tips that I would like to give you on your way:
- Australia is expensive. Really expensive. For a room (Unilodge, approx. 10m²) in the city you don’t pay less than $ 1200. Usually a lot more. Going out is also not without, as a beer with $ 8 and a shot (2cl) with up to $ 16 do not allow big jumps. And as a smoker, Australia should also be quite heavy.
- Melbourne gets cold in winter. Really cold. And since only very few houses have radiators, one likes to freeze. Take this into account when looking for an apartment and planning your vacation.
- Do the driver’s license translation. In Australia, a large part of the way is covered by rental car on excursions and it is always more pleasant to distribute the thousands of kilometers between several drivers. And watch out for animals at night. Especially in Tasmania you really shouldn’t drive after sunset. A dead wallaby every 10 meters is a good warning sign.
- Try to have all the lectures on the RMIT City Campus. If you don’t live in Bundoora, the way is very long and takes a lot of time.
- A must-see while in Melbourne is the Great Ocean Road. However, I would recommend renting a car and driving the road as well as the Grampians in 3-4 days, as this is a completely different experience than a one-day bus trip. With 3-4 people in the car it is also cheaper and a lot funnier.