Living the student life in London, partying in Tokyo, travelling through Europe for a weekend, and sharing all these unforgettable memories with friends from around the world … Studying overseas can seem like a far off fantasy for some. But it is actually much easier than you think. Below, we debunk some of the myths about studying overseas to explain how you can live the international life of an exchange student.
#1. I’m a poor student. I can’t afford to go on exchange
WRONG! We actually have a saying here at UON Global – No money, no worries. You can pretty much guarantee you will be eligible to receive some form of funding for your overseas experience – whether it be a scholarship, travel grant or government loan – there are a range of funding options available, all designed to help you get on that plane to go overseas! At any given time, we generally have $5000 – $8000 government scholarships for Australian students to go on exchange to certain locations. If you are receiving credit for a full study load, completed at least 80 units of study and have 10 units remaining upon your return, you will also be eligible to apply for the OS-HELP Loan of up to $7,764. That’s already $15,000 for a semester overseas!
Additionally, some universities offer scholarships to incoming students and there’s also our travel grant scheme that is available to eligible students part of the iLEAD Plus Program where you can claim up to $1200 for semester exchanges and $750 for short-term experiences (yes, that’s free money!)
You should also remember that Australia is one of the most expensive places to live in the world. So most of our overseas partners would have comparable living costs to Newcastle, if not, cheaper!
#2. But, like, international student fees are heaps expensive, right?
Umm no. Our exchange agreements with our overseas partner institutions means you pay NO tuition fees to them. None. Zilch. Zero. Nothing. What happens is that you will continue to pay tuition fees to the University of Newcastle for the courses that you receive credit for and this payment is still deferrable via the HECS-HELP scheme. This means it costs NO MORE to study overseas.
#3. But won’t studying overseas delay my degree?
Doesn’t have to! You may be able to receive credit for the courses you study overseas and we encourage you to seek approval for a full-time study load. This means that when you return to Newcastle, you can continue your degree as you normally would and still graduate on time. The easiest way to plan for exchange is to keep your electives free. This makes the credit negotiation process much easier and means you can take advantage of the full course offering of our overseas partners.
#4. Isn’t studying abroad just about partying and having a good time?
Studying abroad is whatever experience you make it. A lot of students like to go overseas for the adventure, to try something new, for freedom and travel. But there’s also a whole range of life skills you will develop that will help you in your future career including improved confidence, greater independence, enhance international awareness, cultural communication skills, improved employment prospects, greater organisational and time management skills, more open-minded, greater initiative, problem solving skills, ability to set and achieve goals, ability to adapt to new environments, resilience, leadership skills, appreciation of diversity, greater flexibility, *takes breath* patience and perseverance, intercultural competency, stronger communication skills, improved motivation, strategic thinking and negotiation skills.
To name just a few.
All while having the time of your life overseas!
The future is in your hands.
#5. But can’t I do that here? I just want to graduate and get a job
Well put it this way: Imagine someone applying for a job who has studied overseas and has the above skills compared to someone who hasn’t. Can you make yourself stand out from the crowd?
#6. My degree doesn’t allow me to go overseas
Nonsense! While some degrees may be more difficult than others to go on exchange, almost anyone can take advantage of the short-term experiences we have available such as short courses, internships and placements, study tours, volunteering and special opportunities. These experiences typically range from 2 – 8 weeks in length and run during the Summer and Winter holidays, so they won’t interfere with your degree. This is a great way to add an international element to your degree without the long-term commitment of exchange.
#7. I’m just not sure if this is really what I want to do
This almost doesn’t deserve a response so we’re just going to post a meme below.
#8. But I’m scared of leaving my friends and family to go live in a foreign country
The initial decision to move overseas can be a daunting and an overwhelming one. But it’s totally worth it and you’ll thank yourself later for it. The travel experiences, the unforgettable memories you’ll forever cherish, the amazing friends you will make from all over the world… It all makes for a pretty awesome and life-changing experience. But don’t just take our word for it; hear from what our students have to say:
“I was excited but extremely nervous before I left. It is a huge learning curve but I guarantee it will be the best time of your life!” – Morgan Lee, Trier University, Germany
“A semester exchange may seem incredibly daunting, but it is the most rewarding and cherished opportunity I have ever had the chance to partake in” – Dominic Lacey, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong
“I don’t even know why you would um and ah about it, just get the paperwork done and get on that plane!!” – Jesse Cunningham, University of South Carolina, USA
“I think everyone should go on exchange, it was the best decision I’ve ever made! I had the time of my life and I grew in more ways than I could ever imagine” – Amie Murray, City University of Hong Kong
“It is the best experience that you will ever have. Everyone deserves to travel, study and live overseas. Don’t be scared or worried because it is just as good as everyone tells you it will be” – Gretel Carruthers, University of Leeds, United Kingdom
#9. Can I speak to someone who has been overseas before?
Absolutely! We have a database of previous exchange students who are happy to be contacted by students who are interested in studying overseas. There’s also our UON Global Traveller Blog you can check out to see what students have been up to overseas and you can also have a look at some of our video testimonials on our website and photos on our Facebook page.
We also run drop-in times 1:30 – 3:30 on Wednesdays and Fridays in the UON Global Office (located in the Hunter Building opposite Bar on the Hill) and 1:30 – 3:30 on Thursdays during semester at the Ourimbah Campus in the Student Support Services Building. Our friendly advisors have travelled extensively and have visited many of our partner universities and can advise you of the best study options suited to your degree.
#10. So how do I sign up?
Go forth! – www.newcastle.edu.au/studyoverseas