Reasons people went to this university /place
- I knew that I wanted to spend my exchange semester in an English speaking country and in a place that I had never been before. As I had already been to England, America and Canada, Australia was the perfect choice. A friend had recommended Melbourne, and when looking at the handbooks of the universities, Monash University happened to be the one offering the most interesting courses.
Recommended semester to go there
- I would recommend choosing the winter semester, as it is the Australian summer semester. Despite it being quite cold upon the arrival, the weather gets better quickly and potential travels during or after the semester are nicer for sure when it is warm.
Before going there
- I lived on campus in the South East Flats. These are apartment buildings where 2-5 students share a flat with their private bathroom and showers. Other options on campus would be the slightly cheaper halls, where shower and bathroom are shared with the whole floor. Due to living in a flat with a few other people, one has contact instantly to locals, international students or exchange students. In my case, I lived with three Asian international students, and one of them became a really good friend during my stay. “The Flats” have a great community, they RA (residential advisers) are students who live in the Flats as well and organize many things: snack and chats (where I met other exchange students who remain to be very good friends up to today), dine-ins, a ball, nights out, bowling, cinema, BBQ, Paintball, … the list is endless! Also, some of the students living in the flats have a car and grocery shopping is often done together.
Special items to pack
- Definitely pack warm clothing! Do not underestimate the weather in Victoria in their winter. I had days where the temperature was just above 0 degrees, so you definitely want to have a warm jacket!
Also, an outlet adapter is needed and I would bring or buy at least a three-way-distributor to make sure you can charge several things at a time.
How people who went there handled their finances
- I opened up a bank account at Commonwealth Bank, which was very handy as there was a store on campus and the staff was extremely helpful.
I calculated beforehand how much money I was expecting to spend (rent, food, trips etc.) and transferred this amount to the new bank account. I did it this way as there is a fixed fee you have to pay every time you transfer money. So I tried to keep this as rare as possible. Obviously, this was only possible because of the financial support of my parents.
Rough semester schedule
- The semester started on the 27th June, 2015 and ended at the end of October. One has to bear in mind though, that there are two Orientation Weeks, a general one and one especially for exchange students, which take place before the official semester starts. Also, some courses have final exams that take place after the SWOTVAC (Study WithOut Teaching VACation). This means that after the teaching period ends, students have one week off to study and then take their exams in the three weeks after the SWOTVAC.
Holidays during the semester
- There is a mid-semester-break lasts a week. In my case, this break was very late in the semester, namely at the end of September. I used the free time to spend a week at the east coast in Byron Bay.
The mid-semester-break is the only official break that Monash students have, however, due to my schedule I had several long weekends that I used for trips to Tasmania, the Grampians National Park or Sorrento.
Number of ECTS the university expected former exchange students to do
- The university expects you to do 24 credits. In case of the Arts Faculty that usually means 4 courses, as most courses have 6 credits.
However, I took only three classes, as one of my classes was an Honors Class, worth 12 credit points.
Course restrictions and when the university informed students about those
- The only restriction I encountered was that, as a student in a diploma study, I was merely allowed to take undergraduate courses. The university reasoned with the fact that I did not have a Bachelor’s degree, despite me being in the second section of my studies. However, the teacher of the Honors Class personally enrolled me in his class and I could therefore still take the class.
Did the university actually offer the classes students originally planned to do?
- All classes that I planned to do according to my study plan were offered. However, I only took one of the courses that I initially planned to do and changed the other two.
- I can definitely recommend “Exploring Contemporary Australia”, which is a class designed for exchange students. The class concerns with political, environmental and cultural aspects of Australia and is a great possibility to learn more about the country.
Also, “Culture, Power and Difference” is an amazing class about Indigenous Australia. I would recommend every student to take this class as it was one of the most interesting classes I have ever taken!
- As mentioned before, there is an exam period that takes place after the SWOTVAC. It lasts three weeks and takes place in November.
How exams look like
- I only took classes that had “within-semester-assessment”, which I can heartily recommend to any exchange student. This means that I had several deadlines during the semester but no final exams during the exam period. However, I did have one final exam in the class “Culture, Power and Difference”, which took place in the last week of the teaching period. I passed this exam with an HD (High Distinction = A) despite not studying at all, as all the knowledge needed for the exam was passed onto us in discussions in the class and the tutorials.
- The most important deadlines are the assignment deadlines from the classes.
Recommended restaurants, cafes, bars, shopping centers ect.
1) Shopping center:
– Brandon Park Shopping Centre (relatively close to campus for grocery shopping)
– Chadstone (a 30 min bus ride away and full of all possible shops)
– ABC (Asian Beer Café) in Melbourne Central – nice Halloween special
– European Bier Café in Melbourne Central – many specials, e.g. half price beer, lunch deal etc.
– Smith & Daughters (vegan place, really nice)
– Indian Place on lower Swanston Street (can’t recall the name)
– Tip: Melbourne is very international – make sure you try as many different
cuisines as you can
Recommended secret spots in the city/town
- Especially in Fitzroy there are a lot of spots to explore, just as well as in St. Kilda. Also, the University of Melbourne is definitely worth a visit with the beautiful buildings and the gardens. A nice place to hang out is the Royal Botanic Gardens or Brighton Beach with its iconic beach boxes.
Recommended day trips
- I can definitely recommend trips to Healesville Sanctuary and Phillip Island, which are offered by the university during the Orientation week.
Recommended places or events to meet new people / make new friends
- The place I made most of my friends was my accommodation on campus, the South East Flats. Also, the events organized by MOVE (Monash Overseas & Exchange Club) are great opportunities to meet new people.
In my eyes, the Golden Rule is to get involved and take part in as many activities as you can.
Public transport offered in the city / area of the University
- The public transport system in Melbourne cannot be compared to the system we are used to in Vienna. Everything is further spread out and the trains run not as frequently. There is no semester ticket but a so called “Myki”-Card that has to be topped up. Stepping on and off any means of public transport, the card has to be swiped and the fee is deducted. The only free tram zone is in the CBD.
- Join the Buddy program of the university, I had a really nice buddy that I met up with once in a while for coffee or dinner. Due to having local friends anyhow that I went on some trips with, I did not spend that much time outside of Melbourne with my buddy. But having a local (maybe with a car) that is willing to show you around is always a good call! Travel as much as you can and make the most of your stay in Down Under!
Is this University the right place for me?
You should spend your semester/year abroad at this university or place
You should not spend your semester/year abroad at this university or place
(all information provided is based on 1 filled out questionnaire)