UTS was highly recommended to me by Arcadia’s OIA, as UTS had courses which would fulfill my Visual Cultures requirement. I made a very last-minute decision to attend UTS rather than study in London for a second semester. I chose UTS to challenge myself in a new destination and to fulfill my goal of studying at four universities in three years’ time.
First, I was really fortunate to have experienced study abroad previously in London; that semester really helped me understand the academic rigor and difference in learning environment and structure of assignments. Still, the most challenging part of my transition was balancing time spent on assignments versus on travel. If I wasn’t traveling as much as other students, I felt like I was failing to take advantage of my time abroad. On the flip side, if I was neglecting my studies in order to travel, I was failing as a student. This became more complicated when I compared myself to what and how other students were using their time. I had to constantly remind myself that I love what I’m studying. In times when I was especially stressed, I had to remain grateful for this experience because it allowed me to travel to Australia in the first place.
During the week, a normal day starts with me waking up around 8 or 9am. I like having slow, productive mornings at home: drinking tea, checking emails, and reading for class. Between classes I usually come home to make lunch, relax, and prepare for tutorial activities as needed. Once classes have finished for the day, I either meet up with friends or head home for dinner. Following food, I usually work for a couple hours before watching a movie with my flatmates and retiring to bed around 11pm. Since I only had 3 days of classes each week, I saved heavy assignment work for the 2 open days which I spent at the library or at home. My degree required lots of weekly research and short assignments so I had to save any travel for the weekends or just take little day trips here and there.
My favorite Arcadia excursion was the trip to Canberra, Australia’s capital territory. I really enjoyed the road trip experience and bonding with other Arcadia students. This was a great way and time to see Canberra - accelerated and just in time for Enlighten Festival. We covered a lot of ground and learned a bit of the history and layout of Canberra, which was nice given that it often gets overlooked when compared to Sydney and Melbourne. My favorite activities included climbing Mount Ainslie, touring the Australian Institute of Sport, and having little picnics everywhere we went.
My favorite classroom experience by far was during my Global Cinema tutorial. Having the most enjoyable class at 4pm on a Friday made my transition into the weekend so easy. The tutor made every effort to make the students feel comfortable and essentially feel like a 22-person family. It was so comforting and led to great discussion and debate for each week.
I would highly encourage every study abroad student to keep a journal or planner to record events, assignments, excursions, and thoughts of each day. This tool is so adaptable, and it can be a nice way to relax and take a break from digital documentation.
More than anything, I will miss the people I’ve met along my adventure abroad. My flatmates and I have gotten incredibly close and have shared friends which has created a wonderful network of personalities ever-rotating through our apartment. In addition, I’ve been mixed into various groups including Arcadia students, campus societies, tutorial groups, and other international students. The few independent travelers, backpackers, I’ve come across as well have greatly enhanced my perspective on what is possible for travel. So, the combination of people and stories we’ve shared are, of course, invaluable and will be greatly missed.
This question is always difficult to answer, especially this semester because the Arcadia staff did an incredible job laying out tons of useful information for us. One thing I wish I knew though, was that Australian winter actually gets cold. While it’s not quite like northeast US winters, I wish I was more prepared and didn’t assume Australian winter was nothing to worry about. Also, I wish I knew about the level of construction going on in Sydney and Melbourne at the moment.
After graduation, my general plan is to apply for jobs within Media & Communications or Tourism & Events sectors - most preferably in Seattle or London. I’ve also been considering seeking a Postgraduate degree abroad in Visual Cultures or Tourism Studies. These plans are all flexible as I hope to continue traveling when possible and take opportunities as they present themselves.
The sheer convenience of UTS campus is incredible. UTS really leaves everything at your doorstep - food, friends, Central station, Darling Harbour, everything. Also, the networking and workshop opportunities on campus are incredible. Lecturers are constantly offering highly relevant extracurricular sessions or internships to their students which is really encouraging. I would most recommend UTS to students in business or science degree programs. Students who are social, academically inquisitive, and local travelers would really make the best of what Sydney and UTS have to offer.
Arcadia Australia staff felt like a little support network every step of the way throughout my time abroad. Personal catch-ups were especially encouraging for me as someone who enjoys reflecting on experience and keeping in touch along the way. I’ve also never experienced such generosity from Arcadia in this way. The level of connection between students and the Australia Arcadia staff was completely wonderful.