Who: Jessie Woldt
Studying: Government and Public Management
Where: University of Miami, USA
When: S2 2012
What was your orientation like?
We all met in a hall and there were several speakers that spoke about the formal requirements, the social life, health insurance, university facilities, events, and all the fun to be had. It made students interact and was very welcoming and made everyone excited!
What was the academic workload like vs. Flinders?
There was the same amount of reading required for each topic, attendance was taken so one had to go to all classes for max marks, there was a lot more work to do that was worth less marks, however I found the work to be easier (just more of it due weekly!). I had 3 take home exams, as opposed to normally having formal exams which was interesting.
What facilitates was available for exchange students?
Many resources and facilities for students- I went to the resume clinic and they helped me fix my resume up and help me market my exchange experience which was helpful!
Did you live on or off campus?
Would you recommend this kind of accommodation?
THIS IS A MUST! Living in the ERC was the most amazing experience and makes it so much easier to make friends. People that I met that weren’t living on campus regretted it, and wish they lived on campus!
How much did you pay per month for accommodation (approx.)?
AU$2000+ expensive- but worth every cent! Meals included
How much did you need for general living expenses?
All up I would estimate $10,000+
Did you receive financial assistance?
Yes. Centrelink payments for first 13 weeks. Flinders Exchange Scholarship ($5000). Social events, different terms and slang, food a little different!
Did you have any fears? How did you overcome these?
Was worried I wasn’t going to blend in and adapt, but turns out it was the best thing I’ve ever done in my life and I made so many friends for life!
Was it easy to make friends with the local community?
It was easier making friends with other international students (e.g. UK and other Australians) as these were the people located on my floor. This was common I was told (floors generally tend to group together). Americans are VERY serious about their schooling, so most of the people in my classes kept to themselves.
Did you encounter any difficulties (e.g. homesickness, problems with finances)?
I didn’t suffer from either of these. I wasn’t homesick because I made the most amazing friends, I was cautious with my money; however in terms of communication- it was a little hard because of the time difference, but Facebook was very useful to keep in touch with friends and family.
Describe a typical day at Miami:
Me and my roommate would have breakfast dates every morning at 8:30am at the dining hall (omelette and bagel), then I would go to classes from 9:30am-12:15pm. I would meet up with my other friend and have lunch at 12:30pm. I would then go back to my room, get my study books and go down to the study lab until about 5:30pm (do all my study). I would go and socialise for an hour and then a large group of us would go for dinner around 6 and stay for 2 hours talking and making plans for the upcoming weekend! I would then study late and go to bed around 12:30am!
What was your highlight?
Making friends! My topics were so interesting and my professors were so helpful!
What advice would you give to prospective exchange students?
- Don’t have classes on a Friday
- Live on campus
- Pack little (much cheaper in US)
- Don’t be scared to meet other people on exchange whether they are from Australia, US or UK!
- Save your money and work as much as you can before going away because there’s so much to do!