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"Time goes by faster than you think" - advice and wise words from Maria

1. Introduce myself: name, where I’m from, what degree I study, my home university.

Hello everyone! My name is María Villanueva Galán, and I am one of the two Spring 2023 semester UTS Study Abroad and Exchange Ambassadors! I am from Madrid, Spain, and I study a Dual Degree in Business Administration and International Relations at IE University. It has been an amazing experience to study this semester at UTS and I would love to share about this experience with you.

2. What made me pick UTS to undertake a study abroad or exchange experience.

I evaluated a lot of aspects that led me to pick UTS for my exchange semester. Firstly, I had always dreamt of travelling to Australia due to its beauty and great variety of landscapes, fauna, and flora, and Sydney had always been at the top of my travel bucket list. When I found out about the possibility of studying in Sydney in a young and innovative university just like my home university, with an amazing campus located in the heart of Sydney, and with a great offer of clubs, events, and extracurricular activities, I had no doubt that UTS was the perfect fit for me.

3. What has been my favourite aspect of the Study Abroad or Exchange program?

My favourite aspect of my Exchange semester at UTS has been the opportunity to meet people from all ever the world, all sharing the same excitement to meet new people and travel around Australia. A great way to meet other exchange students was the Discover Sydney Program. This series of events organised by UTS were a great opportunity to discover a lot of Sydney and meet great people at the same time.

4. What are the benefits of cultural awareness from a career perspective?

As we live in a globalised world where we are constantly interacting with people from all over the world, it is now more important than ever to be aware and be sensitive of the differences between different cultures and how this can affect daily situations. From a career perspective, it is now more probable than ever that you will be working with people from all over the world, having conversations with clients from different countries, living overseas, or working for a foreign company. For these reasons, it is essential to understand the similarities and differences between cultures to make sure interactions and conversations are correctly interpreted and understood. One of the best ways to develop this cultural awareness is during your exchange semester, as you will be living in a foreign country and constantly meeting people from all over the world.

5. What extra-curricular programs or activities have I been participating in through the Study Abroad or Exchange program?

UTS offers a great variety of extracurricular activities, including programs, clubs, and events. Joining these initiatives are a great opportunity to meet new people and add to your personal and professional development. During my exchange semester, I attended many events, joined several clubs like the photography club, and completed the SOUL Badge, a volunteering program with great opportunities and incredibly interesting workshops.

6. How does studying at UTS compare to my home university’s way of teaching? What makes UTS different?

I believe both my home university and UTS share similar learning methods, with this being one of the reasons that made me pick UTS for my exchange semester. With both being young and innovative universities, they both put great focus on teamwork and learning through applying relevant theories to real, contemporary cases and examples. This approach makes classes more dynamic and interesting. Something that really stood out to me about studying at UTS was how interconnected the subjects are with extracurricular activities, as I got the opportunity to complete the SOUL Badge through one of my subjects.

7. What’s the most interesting thing I’ve learned about Australian culture?

I have found extremely interesting learning more about Indigenous Australia. This semester has been a great opportunity to learn about the oldest continuous civilisation worldwide, their culture, and their history. One of the sources I learnt from the most was Culture Connect. This course on Canvas was a great source of information throughout the semester.

8. What’s my number one piece of advice for students keen to join the Study Abroad or Exchange program?

My number one piece of advice would be to make the most out of your exchange semester at UTS. Meet new people, make a lot of friends, attend events, join UTS clubs and extracurricular programs, choose interesting subjects, discover Sydney, and travel around Australia. Time goes by faster than you think and before you realise you will be flying back home soon so, although it’s normal to miss home, don’t let it prevent you from making the most out of your experience.


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