First of all, coming to Australia is a very good decision. As you may know, while Australia is hot, dry and full of dangerous animals, the beautiful country also has beautiful beaches, koalas and the warm sun, so you will have the time of your life during your semester abroad in Sydney!
Even though we haven’t met Crocodile Dundee, we surfed Bondi Beach, ate outside the opera house and got sunburned – ouch. Aside from the many deadly animals we didn’t see (knock on wood), Australia is a very safe and welcoming country. The five million Sydneysiders are extremely friendly and always help you to take a picture for Instagram. Remember that Australia is huge, so weekend trips tend not to Melbourne, but to the many beautiful national parks or beaches in the area. Luckily, there are the middle of the semester a week-long break that allows you to travel to your desired destination. Popular holiday resorts are Fiji, Bali and Tasmania. What you should be aware of when you arrive in Sydney in July is that it is winter in Australia at this time, so be sure to bring a WARM jacket and a thick sweater. It can get pretty cold (we’ve even seen snow in the Blue Mountains).
The University of Technology Sydney (UTS), as number one among Australia’s young universities, offers a unique exchange experience. Located in the heart of Sydney, right next to Central Station, UTS enables exchange students to take the courses they want most while enjoying the Australian sun on Bondi Beach. UTS offers a wide range of courses so that you can have coffee with all sorts of people studying everything from fashion to medicine. In addition, the 46,000 students at UTS, of which 15,000 are international students, supported by a fitness studio, a medical center, a counseling service, a clinic for Chinese medicine, a psychology clinic, a free shuttle bus service, support with training by HELPS, cafes and bars directly on campus and entertained so that you can keep your schedule busy at any time of the day. Even if the campus is huge, every building and facility can be accessed using a special “Lost at Campus” app or digital assistance easy to find. Although it has over 20 buildings, there is definitely a campus feeling, as the buildings are well connected and there are many common areas. What sets the UTS apart is the modern and futuristic architecture and design of the campus, which makes you feel more like a student from the future than the traditional gray walls that you so often find yourself in at other universities. See more student reviews of universities in Oceania on mcat-test-centers.
Before going abroad
An uncomplicated and above all free service to organize your exchange at UTS is through MicroEDU. MicroEDU is an official German representative of almost 130 universities worldwide who helps students plan their exchange semester. With a short email you can register for the free service and MicroEDU will take care of all organizational tasks associated with the semester abroad. The very nice and helpful staff at MicroEDU will give you a contact person who will accompany you through every step of the exchange. The contact person organizes all documents relating to application, registration, visa, accommodation and studies so that you will not forget any bureaucratic tasks on your checklist. If you have any organizational questions, you can also contact the UTS Student Center at any time.
An Australian student visa you can request quickly through a website of the Australian government and it will tell you within a few hours reported by the application. Before you apply for a visa, you need to purchase an Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) to apply for your student visa. The OSHC is an Australian insurance that is compulsory for international students. MicroEDU provides a guide on how to get this insurance and the different options available, making it easy to choose and purchase.
The UTS and the Australian Government do not require medical reports or vaccinations.
Tips and Tricks
A common rumor among students is that the UTS only accepts students with an average rating of at least 4. 5 / 6. 0. This is not true, we know several people who have a cut below 4. 5 and have been accepted.
We recommend booking a flexible return flight because Australia is so incredibly beautiful that you will most likely postpone your flight anyway, as we both did (we’re still working on our nonexistent tan lines).
As far as finances are concerned, the easiest way to order a REVOLUT credit card is when you are still in Switzerland / Germany / Austria. The card offers free change transfers and is accepted in all establishments. A good telephone provider is Optus. At Optus you get a SIM card straight away, the connection is good and relatively cheap. Our MOST IMPORTANT TIP: Do n’t take classes on Friday morning because all students go out on Thursday. Every Thursday evening there are parties on the roof of the Yura Mudang Housings with a DJ.
Overall, contrary to how complicated it may seem, moving to the other side of the world, the organizational process is pretty straightforward, especially when compared to other countries.
One of the many benefits, and probably the main reason you’re reading this review, is the famous “easy” grades you can get at UTS. Don’t get it wrong: even though you can get good grades and improve your average, you still have to make an effort. The UTS is not a free ticket for a 6. 0, as you have to spend time on assignments and exam preparation at all universities. What distinguishes the UTS from the University of St. Gallen, for example, is that the final grade is made up of tasks, attendance and the final examso that the “risk” is better diversified compared to St. Gallen. But most importantly, if you study and make a decent effort on the task, you can get a 5. 5 or 6. 0 much easier than in St. Gallen.
A good way to gain an advantage is by applying for Non-English Speaking Background (NESB) in the first week of the semester, as you get 10 additional minutes per exam hour, you can bring a monolingual English dictionary and the exam rooms are better located and are smaller. To register, simply go to the student center in the main building of the UTS and put your name on a list.
To choose a course, you enroll in courses and tutorials online. When a course is full, you can apply for a so-called e-request and ask to take the course, which means you don’t have to worry if a desired course is full. Creating an e-request is very easy and worked well for both of us as we all got our courses with the help of the e-request.
Australian credits are worth more than ECTS credits, so a 6 credit course in Australia equals 7. 5 ECTS. Most courses at UTS give six Australian credits, and most students take three or four courses per semester. If you want to go on day trips during the semester, we recommend that you take three courses, as in our experience it is better to take three courses and take an easier exam such as “Organizing and leading” when you return to St. Gallen. If you want to take four courses, you will have enough time to travel during the semester break and after the end of the semester, because the semester at UTS ends in early November.
If a course at UTS is worth more credits than in St. Gallen, the additional credits are counted as an elective area.
In general, we advise you to form groups with students from the University of St. Gallen, as many of the other students have a fail-or-pass system for the semester abroad and the work motivation is therefore not as high as yours (trust us).
Social life and housing
As far as living is concerned, there is the option of living off campus or living in one of the four student residences. We both lived on campus, but if you are interested in living off campus you can find many other reviews for more information. We recommend that you live on campus because it is very close to the university, there are no problems with the organization and you have the opportunity to meet a lot of cool people. The best choice is the Yura Mudang dormitory as it is the social hotspot for UTS students and also those largest and most modern facility. At Yura Mudang you can choose between single studios, 2- or 6-part apartments. We both opted for a 6 piece apartment and would recommend that they do the same as it is cheaper and more fun than the other options. We were both very lucky with our roommates who became our best friends, especially considering that you can’t choose who to live with. Other friends weren’t so lucky, but the chance that you will get along with at least one of your roommates is high.
The experience of living with people from different countries is not only very rewarding but also helps you improve your English and become more tolerant when it comes to life. The cool thing about Yura is that there are designated resident networkers on each of the 21 floors to help you integrate with your roommates and organize lots of social events. The Yura Mudang Housing Team also organizes many social events such as day trips to markets or beaches. There are over 700 students in the Yura you don’t have to look for many friends outside of the accommodation. People meet in the common rooms to drink or eat and we have almost become a small family. The Yura also has a fantastic roof, theater, terrace and communal area with games like ping-pong to enjoy with friends.
We had the absolute best time in Australia and would recommend it to any student considering taking a semester abroad because you can get the most out of everything, like grades, travel and most importantly, friends. But don’t forget: your exchange will only be as good as you make it. So, be open minded and make an effort to meet new people and like the Aussies say: Cheers to that!