Three years ago, I was finishing my pre-university education; it was at that time I decided to study at a university which enabled me to be an exchange student at Griffith University. After doing my research, there was one clear reason why I wanted to study at Griffith and the Queensland College of Art, it was the course structure. My degree is in fine art and back in England you are taught the theoretical side to art and expected to learn skills in your own time. I have benefited massively from the accessibility to practical learning resources and how it’s standard policy to have lectures online so you don’t miss a thing. In terms of engagement, Griffith offers so much and really stands out!
In February 2015 I left everything I was comfortable with, this included my university, all my art equipment and my social life. I came to Australia knowing I’d have to start from a blank canvas; it’s almost five months later and I regret nothing.
So why is studying in Australia so good? I have so many stories and things I could write about, but they’re my experiences and most of them have some sort of sentiment or esoteric context; so they’re difficult to explain. However there are some significant aspects of studying here in Australia that really stand out…
To put it simply I have made awesome friends. What you get out of studying in Australia may be just one thing, it may be a multitude of things or it may just be a prominent thing; however if there’s one thing you can be sure of, it’s making friends and meeting new people. I feel I have gained a lot from this exchange, but a key part of that has been my social life and being able to explore this great land with new people. One of my beliefs is that to succeed at university, it’s important to get the balance right between study and social aspects; being in a new environment and meeting completely new people helps take pressure away from studying and enables you to enjoy the wonderful surroundings. I personally found myself being part of a group of many international students; as such I was able to learn about all their cultures and also share their desire to embrace Australian culture. One of my favourite memories from this exchange will be when we saw The Maroons beat New South Wales 52-6 in the State of Origin final.
There’s just too much to do here! I don’t think there was ever a time where I was bored due to a lack of something to do, even if you’re short of cash there’s plenty of picturesque locations to travel to via the bus. I remember going to the Gold Coast for free because of the fantastic Translink system which via a go-card enables you free travel for the rest of a given week, provided you’ve already made nine journeys. My friends and I went on the weekend at which point we had already made nine journeys, we relaxed in the sun on the endless beach.
I was studying in the city at South Bank, and most of the time spent there was spent by the riverside and enjoying the sun, taking walks by the river and enjoying a harmonious atmosphere. I traveled to Moreton Island, spent my Easter break in Melbourne and enjoyed my studying on the campus. But I also think about the things I will have to do next time; I didn’t get to go to Fraser Island, I didn’t abseil the cliffs at Kangaroo Point and I didn’t take a bike ride through the city. For all that I didn’t get to do first time I will certainly do next time.