Year Abroad: Studying (and travelling) in Australia
This year has been a whirlwind which began when I stepped on a plane in August and flew all the way to the other side of the world. My names Asha Lawson Haynes and I am currently entering my fourth year of a BSc in Educational Psychology after having spent the year studying in Sydney, Australia.
In around May, my application to study at the University of New South Wales was accepted and the whole process started. Initially, I wasn’t too keen on the idea of moving so far away. It sounded ideal but when I had to turn down living with my friends in their final year, reality hit. After considering and debating for weeks I decided it was something I wanted to do and was one of the reasons I chose this course at Manchester. I sorted my visa, health insurance and applied for on-campus accommodation. It was hard because I wasn’t sure which college, I would like without having visited. Unfortunately, I didn’t get accepted into any of the ones I put down, however, the dean of a college called International House, got in-contact with me and said I was the perfect candidate. A zoom interview followed, and I was offered a place, which I took. Before I knew it, I was driving to London after saying my goodbyes friends and family and boarding the plane on my own destined for Australia. I was terrified going into this alone, but I had met up with two girls from Manchester who were also studying at UNSW before I left so knew I had them to contact if needed.
After a couple of nights, I moved into the International House. Everyone there was in the same boat, and all needed to buy bedding and other things. It was a catered college which I struggled with at the start but got used to very quickly. Here I got to go on trips and made friends from all over the world, I leant about their cultures and lives and will stay in contact with them for years to come.
After living here for the first semester a friend, from a nearby college, and I began looking for houses or rooms to rent close to the university. We did this so we could have the experience of living independently as well as in a college. Luckily for us, a house nearby had two rooms to rent and so in December I moved into a bungalow. My flatmates were so welcoming and introduced us to all their friends, who were all of a similar age. We then became close friends with this group of people and ended up spending a lot of time with them. Living independently also gave us the opportunity to cook and get a real idea of what living in Australia is like.
In terms of actual university, there were four semesters containing 4 modules each. They don’t offer a course in Educational Psychology, but they have a module. The remaining modules were psychology or education based. The teaching throughout the year was pretty steady with two assignments per module and maybe an accompanying exam at the end. The teaching methods were similar to those in Manchester however, Australian lecturers tended to prefer working online.
Although I took my studies very seriously, I wanted my year abroad to be more than just university and I wanted to make the most of it. It is for this reason that I went travelling as much as I possibly could. I began with travelling up the East Coast of Australia twice, the first was with friends who I met out there, and the second with a friend who flew out from home for a month. I then later explored the Philippines and Fiji, again with friends I had made out in Australia. I also managed to squeeze in a weekend away to Melbourne and the vineyards in Hunter Valley. During these trips I saw so many incredible things, I saw turtles, kangaroos, koalas, dingoes, wallabies, I dived in shipwrecks, went island hoping, snorkelled in the Great Barrier Reef and I swam alongside manta rays in the wild. These experiences are unforgettable, and I am so grateful for the opportunity I was given.
I’ll finish with a recommendation, if you get the opportunity to do a year aboard anywhere in the world, do it!
Written by Asha, current BSc Educational Psychology student at The University of Manchester