Exchange report Monash University, Melbourne

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1 Study program: BSc Economics Exchange semester: Fall Academic year: Host University: Monash University Country: Australia Exchange report Monash University, Melbourne I. General information about the school Monash University has two main campuses in Melbourne; Clayton and Caulfield. The Clayton campus, where I took all my classes, is a huge and modern campus which has all the facilities students need. There are nice coffee places, there is lots of choice for lunch and dinner, and there are banks and health services. The campus is located approximately 45 minutes from the city by public transport. Melbourne itself is one of the most vibrant cities in the world, it has an artsy and ultramodern feel to it. There are heaps of events in the CBD and the rest of the city every day, and I especially loved the rooftop bars. The city is expensive, but the way of living there is great. The scale of Monash University and of Melbourne is a lot bigger than Tilburg the campus is large and the city has lots of suburbs. Monash University currently counts over students. II. Practical information Visa and arrival The application procedure in Tilburg starts pretty early, in January, whereas at Monash University this starts around March. The whole process takes quite a bit of time, but everything goes smoothly if you follow the guidelines and deadlines neatly. The visa application is actually very easy, it will take maximally a week for you to get the student visa which costs around 400. Through Monash University you can organise an airport pick-up, so in the bus you already get to meet some fellow exchange students at Monash. I arrived late in the evening, so I started exploring the campus the next day. The reception staff is very friendly and helpful. Furthermore, the first morning I already got to meet many exchange friends during the organised breakfast which was part of the orientation program. Orientation activities In the Residential Village, the university hall where I lived organised two weeks of orientation activities. The breakfast was one of them, but they also organised trips to important stores and fun games. We even went to a trampoline park nearby, that was by far my favourite activity. These two orientation weeks had been organised by the Orientation Week Team, consisting of residents (students) and the College Head of the hall. Housing For the semester abroad, I booked accommodation in advance through the university. The Monash Residential Services offers on-campus rooms in traditional university halls. I lived in Richardson Hall, together with 195 other people. The bathroom was shared with five others on my floor, and we had a huge common kitchen which we shared with all residents. I was

2 very satisfied with not just the accommodation, but also the social sphere of the hall. You would always bump into people hanging out in one of the common rooms, or when you had to cook or do laundry. The hall has a society that furthermore organises weekly social activities for Richardson Hall residents. For more information, you can have a look at Living costs My exchange semester at Monash and the travels afterwards are mostly financed by my DUO student loan. In addition, my parents paid for my food expenses. Overall, Australia is very expensive. My monthly budget on exchange was as follows: Housing: A$1000 per month. Rent is twice as expensive as in Tilburg. Food: around A$50 per week, and between A$200 and A$300 on drinks and eating out alcohol is very expensive. Transport: at most A$10 per week during the semester. While travelling, I made use of public transport in and between Sydney and Newcastle, which has cost A$50-75 per month. Miscellaneous: travelling the east coast of Australia for a month costs around A$3000, and exploring the outback cost me A$1500 including the flights. Especially flights to and from Alice Springs are pricy. I lived on a small budget while travelling. So I spent most of the money on housing and travels. But travels in Australia is definitely worth it! Academic calendar I arrived in Melbourne on 7 July, as the university recommended to arrive at least two weeks prior to the start of the semester, and the introduction weeks took place from 10 until 20 July. The semester started on 23 July and the last classes were on 19 October. We had a midsemester break during the last week of September, and the examination period was from 29 October until 16 November. Social activities During the first weeks in Melbourne, I joined several activities. The residential hall organised tickets for those who wanted to attend an AFL game, and we went to a trampoline park. Furthermore, MOVE (Monash s society for international and exchange students) organised a day trip to Phillip Island where we watched the penguins walking out the ocean. In the residential hall I quickly made lots of new friends, mostly exchange students as we all arrived two weeks prior to the start of the semester. The Australian students arrived later at Richardson Hall, but some of them became good friends too. Eventually we ended up with a group of around ten exchange students, with whom I did a road trip on the Great Ocean Road during the mid-semester break. I also stayed in Ballarat with a friend for a weekend, and I went to Tasmania for a week with three friends. After Tasmania, I stayed in Melbourne for a couple of days before I headed off to Sydney. I travelled the east coast for over three weeks, all the way up to Cairns. For New Year s Eve some friends and I met up in Sydney to watch the fireworks at the Harbour Bridge, and afterwards I flew to Alice Springs. With an organised tour, I explored the outback and the rest of the Northern Territory in ten days. I went to the Devil s Marbles, Kakadu National Park, and Litchfield National Park. On top of that, I visited Darwin before my travels came to an end.

3 Culture and language Generally, Australian culture is pretty similar to The Netherlands when looking at every-day habits and so on. The country does have an American feel sometimes, especially considering the architecture and the fact that without a car you cannot get anywhere that easily. It s also interesting to see that Australian history is quite young, because the country was only founded in the 19 th century. I particularly liked the beachy vibe along the east coast, especially in Byron Bay and Gold Coast. Personal development The semester abroad did not drastically change my personality, but it definitely helped me grow as a person. When building up a life in a completely different environment, you learn to be independent and more confident with the choices you make. Travelling on my own also made me more aware of my environment in a good way, and I got to learn a lot about different people and cultures during the six months spent in Australia. I felt really welcome, both during the semester and while travelling. III. Academic information At Monash University I attended four classes, which are stated below. For these classes, the university scheduled one lecture and one tutorial per week. The main difference with Tilburg University is that we did not have to prepare (big) exercises for the tutorials. We had to hand in some larger assignments over the course of the semester, which allowed me to have more time to study the articles required. The level at Monash is similar to Tilburg, but I think it is safe to say that the pace and workload at Monash is lighter than at Tilburg University. Course Exam ECTS Comments ECC3800: History of Economic Thought Written 7,5 Interesting content, has similarities with philosophy of economics. ECC3640: Economics of Written 7,5 Very technical and abstract course. Climate Change ETC3410: Applied Econometrics Written 7,5 Challenging course, difficult exam. Useful course considering the bachelor thesis as you might need to use ATS3089: Social institutions and power in Asia econometrics. In-class test 7,5 Interesting course where you learn a lot about Asian culture and social life. Tips for future students I would definitely recommend to go on exchange! You get to meet lots of new friends, you learn from them but most importantly: you learn about yourself. Monash University is a very safe and nice environment to spend your exchange period, because the campus offers everything you need and there are lots of events going on. One tip would be to make sure you are financially able to live in Australia for six months, as the country is quite expensive. But every single dollar spent has been very worthwhile!

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