I’ve previously lived in Australia for 3 months doing a short course and lived in a shared dorm room on campus. Moving back again, this time for a Study Abroad year, I suspected that this would be a similar experience, just you know...a little longer. However, I was greeted with a variety of new challenges and realizations of how significantly different and exciting this year might be.
For the first time I had to quickly find a place to live and adjust myself entirely to sharing a house with four complete strangers. Paying rent by myself for the first time meant applying for jobs; translating my resume into English, putting myself out into a job market I had no idea about and being limited by legal working allowances. There was little to no room for me to be lazy. Simply forgetting to buy groceries would mean there was nothing to eat, considering Mama was quite far away. Forgetting to pay rent would have dire consequences I do not want to elaborate on. I had no safety net to fall back on and for the first time of my life I really felt the fullness of life's responsibilities gripping on me.
However, with all these new added responsibilities came a huge deal of independence and freedom that has taught me a lot about myself. Realizing that I wouldn't feel comfortable living in the city centre, I chose to live a bit down south by the beautiful Maroubra beach. This decision, however, came with some public transport concerns. Feeling frustrated and really small in this big city, I decided to go to the next shop and buy myself a scooter (it was of course far more complicated) and I enjoyed that new sense of freedom.
Starting at UTS was challenging as my subjects included; Medical Science and Bionano-technology. These subjects have provided me with further background knowledge in great detail that I believe will be helpful when I return to Switzerland and complete my studies in Medicine. I am more familiar with exams as opposed to assignments, literature reviews, presentations or reports so completing the hurdle of my first assignment was beyond rewarding and an achievement I am very proud of. I believe that my assignments being as interactive and research based as they were taught me a greater deal of information and gave me a wider understanding of the content I was being taught.
I made some great new friends at UTS through joining one of the Activate UTS societies, the UTS Outdoor Activity Club. Through the OAC, I got to explore both the landmarks and hidden treasures around Sydney away from the busy city centre, the relaxed beaches and the wild national parks and mountains areas.
My motivation to come to Australia was inspired by my desire to travel and challenge myself in an environment outside of my comfort zone. Looking back at this experience, it has been a crazy run full of great moments.
Raphaël from University of Bern, Switzerland
University: University of Bern, Switzerland
UTS Year and Session: Spring 2018