First of all, I have to say that I did not do a typical 6-month stay abroad at Deakin University, but completed the entire bachelor’s degree, i. e. a full 3 years, at this university.
Since after two years with more than 120 application letters at German universities I was fed up with the German bureaucracy, I decided without further ado to leave this country behind me as far as possible and study psychology somewhere else. The choice fell on Australia. The application went in comparison to Germany without hours of research a quick, easy and structured. From the beginning it was clear which documents the university needed, where I had to send them and what exactly had to happen so that I could study at the university of my choice. You can also get a student visa- as soon as you have an electronic confirmation of enrollment – quickly and without a lot of frills. However, due to the long mail route, more time and waiting than with a conventional application must be planned for; with me about 9 months.
On the whole, everything went smoothly and without problems and at some point I was actually at the airport in Melbourne. After three years and flying back and forth 12 times, however, the up to 30-hour flight really gets on your nerves. On the way to Australia you should allow for at least 3 days of recovery time or a phase of getting used to the time change. This is not so bad in the other direction (i. e. Australia-Germany). I was picked up from the airport by a taxi driver arranged by the university and taken to my temporary hotel.
Before the actual university starts, you have about 1 week in which all foreign students (90% of them are Indian and Chinese at Deakin University) are shown the university, student life and all the important processes. You also get an older student to show you around a little. This didn’t amount to much for me, other than buying a joint adapter and eating a chicken sandwich.
The Australian teaching method is very different from what was experienced in Germany and Austria. On the one hand, I had a maximum of 12 hours a week at the university itself. Which meant that I felt a lot more free time compared to the typical student life in Germany. On the other hand, you had to spend more time on your own responsibility, since at least as much is expected in Australian exams and seminar papers as in the tests you are used to from Germany. In the end, I had to learn a lot at home. In my opinion, Deakin University scores particularly well here. There are countless ways to learn the material. Either you go to the lectures, each of which you can watch online afterwards, or you attend the exercises (some of which I had individual supervision for) or you read the textbook (there is a highly overpriced textbook in the campus bookstore for each subject, the you can get hold of it mostly for a fraction of the original price) or you can download the podcast of the lecture onto your mobile phone and listen to it while waiting for the tram, or or or. So-called learning objectives always show what is expected of you and what has to be learned for a particular subject. The university itself is just as progressive as this diverse and clear way of conveying the subject matter. Each lecture hall is new, modern, has WiFi, two projectors (which sometimes go on strike) and is well air-conditioned. That goes well with the very motivated lecturers, each of whom seems enthusiastic about his subject, and makes extensive use of the various learning opportunities.
Depending on the course, you have different compulsory subjects and can also take electives. Each completed subject is worth 7. 5 ECTS points, but German universities often refuse or cause unnecessary difficulties with recognition.
For the first two years in Melbourne I lived in the Student Village. As a foreign Studnet, you have a good chance of finding a place to live here, as most of the available rooms are made available for students who have traveled far away. The 200 students (in the meantime there has been another house with space for another 400 students, which is a little joke at a university with more than 15,000 students) live close together, so you can quickly find a connection here. There is space for 10 people in each house. There is a big enough kitchen, a living room (with the TV running non-stop) and enough bathrooms. The cleaning lady comes every few days. There are regular events, both sporting and social, in which you can participate and so don’t have to spend the first few weeks in Melbourne alone and sad
For the third and final year I lived in a shared apartment about 20 minutes’ walk from Deakin. The big advantage was less noise, more freedom and a supermarket that is open until 10pm, only 3 minutes from the front door. The big disadvantage was of course less social activities and a longer walk to the university.
Finally, it is worth mentioning that it is extremely difficult to find an apartment in Australia online from Europe. Many homepages offering apartments block non-Australian IP addresses. Not many get involved in a Skype conversation to get to know each other. You also have to expect to pay up to $ 800 rent a month.
In Melbourne there are terrific culinary, shopping, cultural, sporting and party options. There is a different festival every couple of weeks. From food festivals, tomorrow music festivals to comedy festivals and jazz festivals. The museums, footy games at MCG and horse racing are highly recommended. Melbourne also has a lot to offer in terms of sport. Australian Rules Footy, surfing, rowing and and and. Celebrations, clubs and parties can be found everywhere in Melbourne. Going out for dinner is one of the most important pastimes for Australians.
Now comes the big BUT:
First, Melbourne is incredibly expensive. Eating out costs up to $ 100 per person. If you want to go partying, you have to count on $ 50 for the beginning of the evening alone (a beer at the bar costs from $ 8 and up).
Second: Melbourne is incredibly big. Thanks to the horrible (and that’s an understatement) public transport, it takes hours to get anywhere. It takes at least 1 hour to get to the city. After 12 noon there are no trams at all, so you can only get home with expensive taxis (Melbourne – Deakin: 50 dollars). It takes 1 1/2 hours to get to the beach. As a result, you’ll eventually get stuck in the dead Burwood neighborhood.
The city of Melbourne is really, really great if you can get there and afford it.