In winter of 2013, I participated in the Global Best Program in Hawaii to have a new experience. Throughout the 3 weeks of the program, I used my English skills in the real world, and I had a wonderful time experiencing a new culture. It was a short time but I learned and experienced many things. Also, it gave me strong determination to participate in an exchange program. I had to withdraw from school temporarily to match the dispatching semester. My preparation to be an exchange student as well as my one semester at Deakin University in Australia enabled me to mature.
Australia: the Country where Cultures vary and Races live in Harmony
Deakin University is located in Melbourne, which is the largest city after Sydney in Australia and the capital of Victoria State. Since Australia is a country that was made by immigration, I saw various people living together inside the big city. Especially, Melbourne, where Deakin University is located, is a city of arts and the best city on Earth to live. Melbourne is a city of old architecture and new buildings, and it was neither too loud nor too quiet. Also, various festivals and sports games are held each week. Deakin University is the 9th largest university in Australia with 43,000 students, and 1 in 5 are foreign students from hundreds of countries. Deakin University offers convenience and various programs to international students as well as foreign students in terms of registration.
The Purpose of Australian Post-secondary Education
Deakin University had two big differences from Korean universities. First, Australia emphasized interaction. Although the teaching differed according to the characteristic of each subject, most subjects had 2 hours of lectures, which the professor gave, and 1 hour of tutoring, where a tutor gave a review and an example from the real world. In Korea, classes are based on professors’ lectures, but in Australia, classes encourage students to participate during the tutoring session. During the tutoring session, I could learn the opinions of students in the same lecture and extend my knowledge more from examples of theory learned in class. Because of the peculiarity of emphasizing interaction, Australia’s library allowed conversation anywhere except in the “Study Zone.” At first, it was hard for me to adjust since it was too noisy, but I eventually understood Australia’s educational thought about exchanging opinions.
Second, the school had a flexible learning system that made use of the Internet. Deakin University provides a modern technological learning system to students, so they can create a flexible time schedule. Deakin University has a good cloud system. On the school’s public computers, once logged in with their student ID number, students can use them like their personal desktop computer. Also there is Cloud Deakin, which is simiar to SMU’s Snowboard. Cloud Deakin introduces lectures and lecture materials and has an assignment submission page and debate page. Bigger lectures are recorded and can be heard on Cloud Deakin later that day. Therefore, off-campus students, who study and work, can study by listening to the recorded lecture.
The most memorable Australian phrase was “no worries,” which is similar in meaning to “Thank you, You’re welcome, and No problem.” It shows Australian’s positive and calm characteristic. There was a time when everything was strange and even handling easy stuff was hard, but Australians always said to me, “no worries.” At first I was impatient when everything was done slowly. However, upon reflection, fast is not always good. I became patient and thought positively. Also, once I threw away all worries and burdens, I learned independence by doing things slowly. Second, thanks to my kind and friendly dormitory roommate and friends, I made many good memories. With these warm-hearted friends, I challenged many new experiences and learned Australia’s traditions. Although they were firstyears and younger than I, I observed their time management and independence. Also, they treated me like a friend, so I broke my prejudice that it is hard to make foreign friends. We became good friends. Lastly, friendly and calm Australia is a great place to reflect on oneself. Especially, Melbourne has many parks. By exercising in the park in front of the school, I pondered myself calmly. Also, Australia is famous for its exotic and large nature. After finishing the semester, I decided to spend most of my time at Uluru, which is located at the center of the continent, and Sydney, which is the country’s largest city. During my trip, I met many people from many countries and spent most of my time thinking of myself and my life.
Everything Comes To Those Who Wait
My time in Australia lasted 5 months, including one semester as an exchange student and travel. Although it was short, I set my goals as an exchange student, and had a wonderful experience. There are many pre-readings for class, and essays comprise most of one’s mark, so I recommend you have sufficient English skills before going to the dispatched country. If you take English-only classes and read the original English textbook used in class or reading English textbooks related to your major, you will have already had a big help. Second, personally, I was upset that I didn’t manage my time well because the school schedule was different from my expectation and I was unfamiliar with life in a foreign country. I think friendship is as important as study. If you manage your time well, you can achieve a good grade and make lasting friendships. Third, don’t hesitate to experience something new and accept that the foreign culture is different; you’ll see and learn more. There is a phrase that states how much you can see equates to how much you know. If you read a newspaper or a book about the country before leaving, you will widen your sight. Lastly, you will make mistakes since you are new, but realize that “I am certain to make mistakes or have trouble. By these, I can learn more and I can handle them well.” Then, you will have a more pleasant time as an exchange student.