As I inch closer and closer towards the he inevitable departure date, roughly a month away, and with classes wrapping up for the semester, i chose to reflect on my Uni life. The first thing is the general mindset regarding university; back home University or college was the main option. “If you want to succeed go to college.” And maybe this is just my own personal experience, but that’s not how it is here. Working is probably the more preferred option, i mean it’s money in your pocket. I have never realized how non-important a college degree is to some people. It’s actually unbelievably refreshing. Granted stress still sets in come finals week and the night an assignment is due that you are on your third can of Red Bull to finish that essay you chose to leave until the last minute; But Australians aren’t worried about their entire future falling apart if they fail English210. It’s not nearly as stressful as the American university system.
Secondly, is the overall price of university in Australia. Don’t get me wrong, I love Salve Regina University, and i wouldn’t want to go to any other university back home, but when Aussies ask what i pay for uni back home, i can’t move quick enough too catch their jaw from dropping. A student in Australia pays roughly 4,000 $ per semester just enrolling in classes. Housing is a completely different entity, there’s no on campus housing, but rather apartments near by. And books aren’t too expensive, but still no fun to buy. It would probably be more beneficial, financially, for an international student to just book the entire trip, classes and housing independently.
Next, I would like to focus on the actual learning environment. I am enrolled in four classes for the semester. Each class has a one or two hour lecture, and then later in the day or the week a one or two hour tutorial class which is a smaller setting to do assignments and better comprehend the material. So each week, each class has a total of three hours. And with the exception of my EGL210 teacher, i would say American professors and teachers, are better prepared to deliver a class or lecture. Australian classes are easier compared to those i have back home, and grades are a bit more flexible. However, with that being said my English teacher, Naomi, (Another odd thing, teachers prefer to be called by their first name rather than Mr.____ or Professor ______) is eccentric in the best way possible. She has a very unique teaching style, and can easily reach her students. She is hands down my favorite teacher i have here and she has given me a new perspective to look at literature and life as a whole. (Also i haven’t had to take a single test while overseas. Saying i’m relieved would be an understatement).
Finally, college dropouts. In America, with the exception of Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, college dropouts have a negative connotation surrounding them. It’s not that way in Australia. My roommate for example is planning on dropping out of university at the end of the year to begin work at a mine site. He plans to begin work full time and really, has no strong desire to attend university, other than the partying. In fact, he’s just one of a sizable group quitting Uni this year. But what i’m trying to get at here is that America is too busy jumping at the chance to label someone or something they’re forced into doing things that offer no real benefit to their future. Not only that, but Australia has a far more abundant senior contingency than i’ve seen in America. There is at least one person over the age of 40 in everyone of my classes!
Overall Uni life has been relatively stress free, and certainly an interesting change of pace. With that being said, as we move into the “Winter” (Australians say it’s freezing, when it’s no more than chilly at best) months I am really starting to miss home. I can’t wait to reunite with my fellow students, and more importantly, family on American soil. So for now, Cheers!