In this report, I share my experience of my study abroad on the Gold Coast, Australia. In Germany, I study Economics and Engineering and I decided to attend the third trimester in 2015 at Bond University.
In my first week in Australia, I experienced a culture shock because everything in Australia seemed to be the other way round. People are driving on the left, the driving seat is on the right, sun is in the north, you lock your door the other way round and it is warm outside and cold inside a building. Australians are likely unpunctual and very friendly. It is common to greet somebody with ‘Hi, how are you?’ or ‘Hi, how has your day been?’ It does not matter whether you know that person or not. Thus don’t be surprised if somebody at the cash register in the supermarket asks you about your day and answer a short ‘Very good and you?’ Again, it does not really matter how you feel but it is a nice way to start a conversation.
During my stay in Australia, I couldn’t find a real traditional food (except BBQ). On the beach and its surroundings, several public BBQ places could be used. If you like Asian food, you will enjoy restaurants at Market Square and other places because Indian, Chinese and Thai cooking are common in Australia.
Food at Bond University is a matter of taste. Personally, I didn’t like the food from Brasserie and meals from the library are very expensive. However, I can recommend going to dons for dinner because it is very delicious. Free BBQ at Bond means 1-2 slices toast, hamburger or sausage, onions, lettuce, tomato and mustard or tomato sauce. It is a science to eat the sandwich without making a mess. At least you have one trimester to train your BBQ building skills.
There are two options to live during your study abroad. If you live on campus, you will pay more than for off-campus accommodations and you are obliged to spend a certain amount of money for food on campus. Further, you don’t have an opportunity to cook in the accommodation buildings. The other option is living off-campus. As a consequence, you are independent and responsible for negotiations, check-in and check-out. I don’t regret that I lived off-campus. I felt as if it is easier to get in contact with indigenous people. Most Australians are not complicated and sometimes they don’t even need a rental contract for your stay. If you decide to live outside Bond, I can really recommend Varsity Shores and Varsity Tower, but almost every accommodation you can find on www.flatmates.com.au or www.gumtree.com is fine!
One week before trimester start at Bond University, every student was invited to several events, informational activities and parties. For example, you explore Bond University in a campus tour and the friendly staff of the library shows you where you can find DVDs, books and video games. Further, you get in touch with ANZ, public transport information center, currency exchange, sport clubs, student learning support and career center in the Multi Media Center. These are important contacts and they are happy to see you. In addition, there are parties and events just for fun. Bond University set value on cohesion and support activities with free food and parties on campus.
I really recommend everyone to attend as many activities as possible during Orientation Week that is more known as O-Week. Firstly, you get to know contacts and places of Bond University. Secondly, you fix problems with your enrollment, e-student, i-learn and further IT issues. Finally, what is most important, you mingle with people. Within these days, I met many people who became friends. I am still in contact with them, even though we didn’t have any class together. O-Week is the best opportunity to make friends.
In general, studying at Bond University is very challenging. I attended four classes and there was no week without any exams or tests. In most classes, participation is a component of the lecture and also of your mark in the end of the trimester. As a consequence, you need to be prepared for every lecture. Be aware of a high workload during the trimester before you book your adventures around Australia at ‘student flights’, the travel agency on campus.
Every student at Bond University can book appointments with student learning support. You can come and visit this organization when you need help in your lecture or language. For me, student learning support is a kind of private lesson and they helped me regularly by proofreading my essays and reflections.
In addition to an excellent education system, Bond University offers a wide variety of sports. For Example tennis, basketball, squash, boxing, aqua sports, swimming, circuits, gym and many more. My favorites are TRX and yoga. Every sport is included in your student fee. After sports you can enjoy SPA and massages. In summer 2015, Bond started to enlarge its sports center in a new building next to the swimming pool. I am sure that Bond will further increase the sport program.
During my trimester, I broaden my horizon because I met people from all over the world. I learned a lot about their cultures and values. That is amazing because you learn to see life in a new way. Further, the Australian education system is completely different and encourages critical thinking. Through my study abroad, I loved and lived the Australian lifestyle. People in Australia are the friendliest I have ever met. I love their positive easygoing attitude and how they live with the nature. Moreover my English improved substantially. When I arrived in Australia, my English was in the lower level. I was glad that I passed the required test. After one month, I started to think and dream in English because it was the only language I used in this time. Thus, I expand my knowledge of vocabulary and grammar quickly. Finally, I really recommend a study abroad because you can find friends for lifetime. I really enjoyed my trimester at Bond University because I love the beautiful campus, friendly staff, pleasant lecturer and a lot of international students.