For our first #TBT we had a chat with Pred Karunakaran, a former UTS exchange student from the UK, now living in Australia!
Q. How did you select Australia and UTS for your exchange experience?
A. When selecting my university for exchange, I wanted to get far as away as possible from the UK and be independent and what better place than Australia on the other side of the world. When selecting my university I wanted to find a university that was located in the city so I could explore around, make new friends and have a good social life. Furthermore being from London, city living was something I was comfortable with. Out of the Australian university choices I had, UTS had the best fit in term of location. I then looked at what subjects and courses UTS offered and it seemed like a good match to what I wanted to do. An added bonus was that UTS housing offered a good housing program.
Q. What was it like living in UTS Student Housing?
A. Student housing was perfect, and I would recommend everyone to live in university housing if possible. It’s was a great way for me to make new friends who helped me to adapt to living away from home. UTS housing offered many activities which always meant I was busy and never bored or alone. There are numerous benefits to living in student housing from opportunities to develop strong friendships to have an environment to foster educational and personal growth.
Q. How did you manage the balance between studying and having fun?
A. It was always hard to keep a good balance because there was so much to do at UTS, almost every weekend there was an activity. however, when it came to studying I believe that it was a personal choice and it was just something that was important to me as much as having fun. I knew I wanted to do good in my studies so I could have the opportunity to come back and work in Australia. Furthermore, It was also helpful having Australian friends and classmates, as for them it wasn’t an exchange year but another university year and they wanted to do well and study, so this was good motivation to study hard while on exchange. 1 good tip is to really plan out your week and leave some time for studying as well as fun.
Q. Where was the best place in Australia you visited?
A. There were so many great places in Australia, but a highlight of my trip was doing the Great Ocean Road drive near Melbourne with my fellow exchange friends. I would say if its possible to visit all around Australia as each state is unique. Now that I have been in Australian for a while I would say go visit Queensland and all around the Great Barrier Reef, its truly is a magical place that is not found anywhere else in the world.
Q. Do you still keep in touch with your friends from the exchange?
A. Yes, I do still keep in touch with my exchange friends, we have been lucky enough to have built a strong bond. We try to meet up at least once a year in each others country. Last year we meet up in China, and the year before in Singapore for a friends wedding. Even if we cant meet up we still keep a chat group going and keeping everyone updated with our lives.
Thanks Pred for sharing your experience with us!