After much deliberation, I decided to do my semester abroad in Australia. My brother, who had already spent six months in Australia before me, advised me to go to Melbourne because he thinks it is the most beautiful city. Coincidentally, my course director had already gained experience with a university, Deakin University. Since no mediation or support was offered by my home university, my sister, who had already completed a semester abroad, advised me to contact MicroEDU.
Shortly after I contacted MicroEDU , I got a response. After some exchange of information, I received the necessary documents for Deakin University. In my case, I was lucky that I got my Abitur with a good grade in English LK, otherwise a document from a third party is required (such as a TOEFL test) to prove good language skills.
At Deakin you can choose between 3 or 4 courses, each worth 1 Australian credit. After international conversion, 1 Australian credit corresponds to 7. 5 German credit points. Since I also wanted to have a lot of free time in my semester abroad to get to know the country and the city, I decided on 3 courses instead of 4. Shortly afterwards, I discussed with my course director which courses at Deakin would be suitable to be recognized here in Cologne. Unfortunately, only three 6-credit courses could be recognized and so, even if I passed all exams, I only got 18 credits. Anyone planning a semester abroad should be aware that they may have to spend a semester at home or complete courses for more than 30 credits per semester in the future.
The lecture period at Deakin is divided into three trimesters, which are significantly shorter than the two semesters per year that are common here in Germany. It is important to mention that I attended the lecture in the third trimester (November – February). The third trimester is considered a voluntary extra semester where most local students do not attend lectures and leave campus to go on vacation or live with their families. During this time, the lecture is almost only attended by international students (mostly of Chinese and Indian origin), which means that the large campus area often seems deserted.
Each lecture consists of two modules, the classic lecture and an exercise. The lecture (“class”) takes place weekly on a fixed date of 120 minutes. There is usually no interaction with the students here, it is all about listening and taking notes. There is also the weekly 60-minute exercise (“seminar”). It is only visited by a maximum of 20 people in small rooms. So you can decide at the beginning of the semester which one you want to attend, because at least one exercise is offered every weekday. In one hour you only work on tasks on the topic of the last lecture with the help of a lecturer. The tasks are very similar to exams and in my opinion the seminars are much more useful than the often very bland lectures.
The exam per lecture consists of 2 tests and a written exam. The two tests take place depending on the first and second third of the lecture period and each make up 20% of the final grade. Most of the time, they consist of a mini term paper, which in Word has to be around four pages long. Extra cases were lectures or editing ready-made Excel documents. The exam takes place about 1-2 weeks after the end of the lecture and accounts for 60% of the final grade.
The fact that Deakin has its own huge language school on campus suggests that it specializes in international students. In my opinion, the level of the lecture suffers from that. The lecture is linguistically very simple, the tasks are simpler in terms of content compared to my home university.
Deakin University offers its own residential units that are just a few minutes’ walk from the university. But I can only strongly recommend that you decide to live off campus for the following reasons: The Burwood district has nothing to offer the young students apart from a super market and a few shops, especially on Friday and Saturday evenings. You should also be aware that from the heart of Melbourne (Flinders Street) it takes 40 to 50 minutes by public transport to get to Deakin University or the other way around. In addition, the rents for Deakin apartments are very high. For just over half the rent, you can live with private landlords right next to the university or, like me, in the center of the city for the same price. My apartment could also have free access to a fitness studio (the one on campus costs extra) and had barrier-free WiFi. Because the WLAN of the Deakin University is anything but slow, but it blocks various Internet services, such as my personal favorite “Netflix”. All of this meant that I only moved out of the university campus after a few weeks.
Melbourne has a lot to offer in terms of leisure time, but Burwood does not. You should be aware of this beforehand. Melbourne is the southernmost metropolis in Australia and therefore also the coolest. In contrast to the other regions, you should expect below 10 degrees Celsius here. Having visited all the big cities on the east coast, I can also confirm that Melbourne is the most beautiful city, ahead of Sydney and Brisbane. Nowhere else is there so much to experience, whether during the day or at night. In addition, there is the immense number of completely different city districts. Although Melbourne was the best city for me, it is still far from the most beautiful place (for me the Whitsundays, a group of islands in the north). For this very reason, I can only recommend taking time to travel before and after the lectures. Even if I enjoyed the semester abroad, one of my best memories is traveling before and after.
I can recommend a semester abroad at Deakin to everyone if you make important decisions in advance and avoid certain mistakes. The most important thing is to definitely take the time to travel. Australia offers so much and with my 1. 5 months travel time I was already under time pressure and skipped places or visited them for a shorter time than I would have liked. In addition, I can only recommend living off campus from the start. It is also important to plan the semester abroad in such a way that you attend the lecture in trimester 1 or 2, where the university is much more frequented and livelier. If you consider all of this, nothing stands in the way of an unforgettable time.