Building sustainable futures: Agnese shares her experience abroad
Hailing from Italy, Agnese spoke with us about her experience as a Spring 2022 (July – November 2022) Study Abroad and Exchange Program Ambassador, and how UTS supported her in making the most of her time in Sydney!
Q: What were you studying during your study abroad program?
A: I chose to study 3 subjects from the Sustainable Futures program: Sustainability in Context, Nature and Evolution, and Environmental Remediation.
Q: How long was your study abroad experience?
A: 4 months.
Q: Which university are you from and how does studying at UTS differ from there?
A: My home university is Ca’ Foscari University of Venice in Italy. I definitely experienced a different teaching and learning approach at UTS! The range of assessments I submitted throughout the semester allowed me to progressively build on my skill set, and final exams didn’t weigh as much on the final subject mark unlike in Italy. The assessments helped me to apply my knowledge to practical case studies and scenarios, and lessons were interactive rather than designed as frontal lectures.
Q: Why did you choose to study abroad at UTS?
A: I wanted to experience new teaching methods, amazing facilities and career-oriented classes at a multicultural, young and technologically minded university.
Q: How has your experience studying in UTS and living in Sydney been?
A: My study load allowed me to experience my exchange to the fullest. I was able to balance study, exploring the city, traveling around Australia, and working a casual job!
Q: If you could choose one thing that you like the most about studying at UTS, what would that be?
A: Definitely the availability of great studying facilities, such as the UTS library! I enjoyed being able to decide whether to study individually in a quiet space, in a collaborative space with classmates, or to book a room for a group study session! I think UTS provides great spaces that allow students to achieve what is uniquely required of the assignment.
Q: Did you enjoy studying that course/those subjects? What in particular did you enjoy about them?
A: I enjoyed the subjects I studied and would recommend them to anyone who might be interested. The subjects were well structured and I got to meet people from very different backgrounds, brought together by our shared passion for sustainability. One assessment was dedicated to researching Aboriginal Australian sustainability practices, which gave me the opportunity to learn about Indigenous knowledge of the land. Laboratory classes were fun and interactive, and we even got to set up a microecosystem in a bottle in week one which we then observed and monitored throughout the semester! I also had the opportunity to conduct an independent research project where I identified a polluted site in Sydney, identified the sources of degradation and proposed a remediation plan. This was a very formative project and allowed me another chance to explore the city!
Q: Do you have any tips for any students who are planning to study the same thing?
A: I recommend keeping up with the readings and assignments, so that you don’t have to catch up much before a deadline. I also recommend carefully reading the marking criteria for each assessment as you are strictly evaluated on how well you can meet those criteria.
Q: Why would you recommend others choose to study abroad at UTS?
A: It’s great university for developing your soft skills and professional identity, and for creating internship and work opportunities. At the same time, you can enjoy a great variety of extracurricular programs, societies and social activities (including free food!).
Q: Have you been involved in any student community or extracurricular activities around campus? How was your experience with these?
A: I joined Activate UTS events, such as Trivia Nights, Meet and Eat, and Discover Sydney! They were always very fun and well organised, and a great opportunity to meet new people.
Q: What do you wish you had known before coming to UTS and Sydney?
A: I wish I had known how life changing this experience was going to be! There’s no way to describe how enriching it is to be an exchange student on the other side of the world – you can only experience it firsthand. The people I shared this experience with can tell how much I’ve changed. Needless to say, the relationships I formed throughout this semester will be everlasting bonds.
Q: What advice would you give to future study abroad students?
A: Be ready to be challenged. Be open to new ideas and opinions, and don’t waste any opportunity!
Ca’ Foscari University of Venice