Taylor Middlemiss - Exchange Student

I am here for a year on exchange from the University of Leeds. I've had the best time over the past year and met some great people along the way.

UQ has so many opportunities for exchange students, for example field trips to the Great Barrier Reef within specific 'international student modules', and then there is a whole society (Quest) dedicated to exchange/international students so they were great for socialising and going on more trips! 

The lifestyle here is just the best. Everyone is so friendly and really chilled out, so making friends is easy wherever you go. I think it goes without saying the weather is amazing, but it also it brings out so many opportunities that are simply not available back home. Meeting up with a group of friends to play sport or have a BBQ in the park becomes a part of everyday life, which is just incredible.  

Brisbane is a really great city, I loved taking the CityCat from my apartment to the CBD or to the mini beach at South Bank. The city offers many places to eat and drink, museums to visit, sports clubs, cinema... whatever you like doing Brisbane will most likely be able to cater for it. 

I joined Quest and UQ Surfers which were both great for socialising and having fun. I didn't go on any Quest trips unfortunately but I did go surfing and that was the best fun! Would definitely recommend that to anyone here on exchange, and again the people are fab. Also I did a lot of socialising with people from my accommodation who were mostly international/exchange students too, so that was great for going to other places that the university didn't offer trips to. 

My degree allows a more in depth view into the natural landscapes and wildlife of Australia, as well as looking at the things we are doing to affect it. I have to say studying in this field has allowed me to go on some incredible field trips, mainly through the MARS2005 and BIOL2001 modules, but even the lectures have been fascinating! There are not many places in the world you get whole lectures dedicated to crocodiles or kangaroos!

Academically I now have a much broader knowledge of ecology which I will go on to use in my final year of study back home, and no doubt after I graduate. 

Personally I am now much more independent than I was when I arrived - you can't take your washing home to your mum when she's the other side of the world! Furthermore having to continually mix with new people and get used to new styles of studying, there is no room to hide, and because of this UQ has allowed me to become far more confident both in myself and in my studies. 

UQ is a fantastic place to study, campus is beautiful and don't worry about the size of it because they have their own navigation app to help you get around! There are so many societies you will have no problem finding something you love, and even if you decide not to join one there are tons of other ways to meet people. The university has a great network of support staff so if you ever have any trouble they can  help you out, and the lecturers are always happy to answer questions or clarify things for you. Overall I found UQ to be a fantastic place to study and I'm sure many others will agree. 

Tulley Shofner - Study Abroad Student

I have wished to study abroad in Australia since my freshman year at Dickinson, so when the opportunity arose and with a university that is extremely well known for their research and strenth in the sciences, I had no hesitations.

Australia offers a uiquely different perspective on the english-speaking culture and from my experince, melds the British and American styles of living in a young and new fashion.

I made some incredible friends in Australia, who I anticipate will be lifelong. I could not have expected to become as close with my neighbors, friends and classmates as I did during my time in Australia. I came with many friends from my homeschool, so I was not particularly looking for new friends, but as the semester progressed and I spent more time with some people from my courses and my neighbors, I made some friends who were both unexpected and incredibly close. I have been back home for a day and I already miss the friends I made more than anything else about Australia.
On another note, Australia offered an atmosphere of healthy living, active lifestyles and laid back attitudes. It was incredibly easy to make myself feel at home and I did not feel homesick until the very last week of final exams! Australia was like a version of california with larger spiders and British influences.
I really enjoyed being able to take a variety of courses, some of which counted for my major, and others that offered more cultural knowledge and experiences around the various parts of Australia. I enrolled in one Biochemistry course, one economics course, an aboriginal anthropology course and a marine biology course. The two courses for my major offered the curriculum required by my home university to transfer back as credit, while the aboriginal anthropology course enlightened me on cultural problems and oppression of the Aboriginal people of Australia, which I think everyone should know about. The marine biology course offered an incredible way to see the great barrier reef while learning about its marine animals and the reef's ecology. The marine biology course was the most rewarding of the courses I took, as it was strictly for international students and I was able to make some great friends with people from all around the world.
I volunteered in a research laboratory working on behavioral studies of trigger fish. I helped clean the tanks and maintain the fish health, which was a fun extracurricular experience for me. I devoted an hour to this, two days a week and found that this job helped give more purpose to my time abroad, and brought me closer to seeing some of the research that is performed at UQ.
I did not have many interactions with the civilians around me in Brisbane, but from my time traveling around town and the neighborhood, I felt that the Brisbane community was very safe, respectful and friendly. I loved having so much free time in my schedule to explore Brisbane and travel up and down the river to different shows and attractions in Southbank, restaurants in West End, and local farmer's markets. I never grew tired of Brisbane, and on weekends when I was not traveling around different parts of Australia, I enjoyed being able to go to the Saturday farmer's market in West End and see the markets in Southbank near the lagoon for a lazy Sunday afternoon. The people who I interacted with were extremely friendly and more than willing to go out of their way to help. I lived by a small Asian supermarket and the lady who worked there was always asking how school was going, what new travel plans I had, and overall bringing a positive vibe to my home in Australia.
I joined the UQ mountain club, which was an excellent way to see places in Australia for people who love the outdoors and rock climbing. There were always weekend trips to go climbing or hiking in a new location around Brisbane or even further places during the holidays. I went to the weekly rock climbing Tuesday and Thursday nights on a lit natural rock cliff along the Brisbane river, and had fun socializing with the other people in the club. The execs are all so experienced and friendly and willing to teach you, regardless of your skill level. One of my friends went from never having climbed before to being a stellar lead climber and setting up the anchors for top roping. One of my other really close friends joined beach volleyball and she met a lot of amazing people from different countries. Joining clubs is one easy way to make great friends and have fun seeing the amazing places Australia has to offer.
I would say don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. I am most grateful for the friends I made while studying abroad, and although you are only there for a few months, don't let that stop you from getting to know others. Joining clubs is an excellent and easy way to meet people. I definitely noticed a different style of teaching in Australia and it was an adjustment for me, so go with the flow and enjoy the time you have. Go in with no expectations, because nothing can prepare you for the adventure you are about to take.
I have discovered a more independent side of myself, and also a more social side. Living in Australia, I have been the most self-sufficient and this has taught me how to cook, manage my time, and juggle social and independent time. I feel more prepared for life after college, and more confident in my ability to connect with others and make lasting friendships. I was already academically strong when coming to UQ, and my experience abroad has taught me more about how to be strong in other aspects of my life. Studying abroad has been so much more than the "fun" experience I was expecting, and I have learned more about myself than most people will before they graduate. It is not some cliché "I learned about myslef," experince, but when you go abroad and immerse yourself in another culture, you learn small idiosyncrasies or nuances about where you like to live, how people interact, time management, and what gives you satisfaction that can only be learned away from home and familiar friends.


Chi On Lau - Exchange Student
Hong Kong 

Studying in UQ is one of most memorable experience in my life.

Living in a western country for one semester is quite exciting, yet worried for me. Compared with other students, my first language is not English. Therefore, it was not easy for me to communicate with people in English at the first place. However, fellow schoolmates, lectures and tutors were very kind to me. They explained concepts and theories in a proper manner so that I can understand them quickly.

At UQ, I was very pleased that I could enroll in the drama course offered by the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. I have engaged in drama production in Hong Kong. Nevertheless, I did not learn drama in a formal way. That course offered me a valuable chance to explore the history of drama. The course studied four famous plays throughout the 18th century to present day. It emphasized the way of how meaning was constructed with the theatrical concepts in different period of time. I met a lot of friends who were also passionate with drama. I also took part in the secondment project of UQ Drama as a lighting operator. This experience was very fascinating as I have desired to try it for a long time. In Hong Kong, there are very few opportunities for people to perform this post.

I really enjoyed the moment that I spent in UQ. Both physical and social environments are very conducive to learning and the pursuit of goals. I am looking forward to visiting UQ again. 

Wing Tung Lee - Exchange Student
Hong Kong 

In the semester just past, I was granted an opportunity to participate in an exchange program in The University of Queensland (UQ) with the Australian Government Department of Education Endeavour Cheung Kong Student Exchange Program (ECKSEP) Mobility Grant. It would be my pleasure to share my exchange experience which was really fascinating.

First of all, UQ’s campus is so stunning that I enjoyed it much. I love sitting on the grass at the Great Court where I can read books or just relax. When I went to school by crossing the Eleanor Schonell Bridge, the beautiful scenery of Brisbane River was very refreshing and gave me the energy to study. The UQ lake was another marvellous place to stay. Although I haven’t tried yet, it looked nice to have a picnic beside the lake which I saw many people doing so. This lovely campus made me felt like that UQ was not only a place to study, but also a place where you could enjoy life.
In addition to the beautiful campus, the quality of teaching and the learning environment of UQ are excellent. Professors in UQ encouraged students to ask question frequently. And one of my professors even thanked me for going to ask him questions. This was heartwarming and so encouraging that I have never imagined that teacher would thank us for asking him question. I have then taken a more positive attitude in learning and learnt more actively. I enjoyed the tutorials in UQ much too. I seldom have such an opportunity to learn from my classmates through discussion and group activities in my home university. The classmates were so friendly too. Students in UQ welcomed exchange student and international student very much. At first, I worried about how to join the community. Yet, it was indeed not a problem as people in UQ were really nice. We helped each other to do revision before exams and hanged out together. My friends and I are going to meet each other again when she travels to my home country. I have already been missing the people in UQ since I was back from the exchange.
I am glad that I had this opportunity to participate in the exchange program to UQ where I learnt new knowledge, met many lovely people and gained the exposure to new culture. I would like to thank UQ for providing such opportunity and the E ECKSEP Mobility Grant for the financial support. This is a delightful experience that I would miss much and recommend to others.

Kaitlyn Hajdarovic - Study Abroad Student

My UQ study experience has been nothing short of extraordinary. I have had amazing, dedicated professors, and taken extremely interesting courses.

I chose UQ for the large university experience that I did not get from my home Uni. I was impressed by the interesting and varied courses offered in the sciences, and knew I would be able to take worthwhile and interesting courses while abroad.

I picked Australia because I was interested in staying in a place that would be difficult to see on my own.

The program I am enrolled in (Dickinson College Study Abroad) arranged for me to stay in one of the colleges on campus.

So far, this has been one of the highlights of my time abroad, and has allowed me to become involved in the social aspects of university life. I got to participate in O Week which was hugely fun, and a really great way to make new friends.

Studying at UQ has helped me make great progress toward my academic goals and helped me discover that I am more independent than I thought. I have also discovered that I am capable of self-directed learning, something I never really learned how to do in the US education system.

I was awarded a Summer Research Scholarship from The Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB). My experience as an undergraduate lab assistant has been absolutely amazing. I am getting personalized hands on training that I would never get in a classroom setting.

This experience makes me a competitive candidate for graduate programs stateside, and is a wonderful addition to my regular coursework. In addition, by working at IMB I am allowed to attend lectures and seminars given throughout the week, keeping me up to date on progress made in the scientific community.

I hope to obtain my PhD and continue doing research. My experience working at IMB is preparing me for a career in research, and makes me a stronger applicant for the competitive graduate degree programs that I hope to apply to. I am already more comfortable in a professional lab setting, and what I am learning can be applied to many areas of research.

I would advise others to meet as many Australians as possible and to branch out and make new friends. I also think it’s a good idea to make the most of your time abroad and learn how to travel on your own.

Leticia Gonçalez Francio - Study Abroad Student

I’ve always wanted to visit Australia because of the amazing pictures and videos I’ve seen throughout my life.

I really enjoy the possibility of joining a club/society at UQ because they’ve been giving me great opportunities of making new friends.

I love the culture and the freedom of Australia. I love the fact that you can express yourself (the way people dress) in any way and not feel judged for it.

One of my goals is to come back to Australia to finish my studies.

Studying in Australia will boost my career because the opportunity to have an experience like this, to improve my English in an academic level, is unique!

Watch the video of Leticia sharing her experiences of life and study at UQ.

Daniel Stasin - Study Exchange Student
South Africa

Training three times a week as well as competing at track meets allowed me to take my athletics performance to another level. That would not have been possible without the UQ facilities and sports staff.

I went on exchange at The University of Queensland in semester 2, 2010. It was the best term of my university career.

As well as taking psychology, economics and poetry courses, I made extensive use of the wonderful athletics track from the first week of my arrival.

My lectures and lecturers were dynamic and I found the lecture content of my courses often stimulated me to study beyond the course requirements.

At UQ I developed on so many levels. I would recommend the experience to anyone contemplating a semester abroad. 

Isaac Freeman - Study Abroad Student

There are so many wonderful things about UQ. But, if I had to pick only three, I would say that the people, the location, and the educational experience are what really make it stand out.

A school is no better than the people that comprise it, and UQ excels in this regard. Almost everyone I have met, students, faculty, and staff, have been incredibly welcoming, helpful, and friendly.

The location is equally fantastic. UQ has a wonderful ‘campus feel', with beautiful green lawns and great facilities. And because it is the educational experience that truly defines a university, it’s worth mentioning that UQ excels here as well. All of my professors are extremely knowledgeable and seem genuinely interested in their fields of study. These things make for a truly fantastic university experience.

Jade Hall - Exchange Student
United Kingdom

My time at The University of Queensland has been amazing and an incredible experience.

Through studying abroad, I have had the chance to make friends with people from all over the world and learn about different cultures and ways of life. The opportunity to travel around Australia has been one which I have embraced, and has made my exchange experience all the more enjoyable. The chance to see Australia’s diverse landscape and the opportunity to go diving in the Great Barrier Reef has been amazing.

Studying at The University of Queensland has also been incredible. It is situated on such a beautiful campus and the different methods of teaching have been really rewarding, and I feel that I have learnt a lot. I also participated in one of the volunteering opportunities promoted by UQ Bridge, and got involved with QPASTT which helps children from a refugee background with their school work. This was really fun, and added a different dimension to my exchange experience.

I would really recommend studying abroad to everyone. At times it can be difficult and a challenge, however, it has been the best experience of my life. The challenging aspect of studying abroad makes it all the more rewarding. I feel like I have achieved a lot independently, grown a lot as a person, made so many new friends, and experienced so much. Studying in Australia has been an amazing experience and I will look back at my time here with many fond memories.

Mairead Mackinnon - Exchange Student

I chose UQ because I had heard so many good things about Brisbane! It has a warmer climate than Sydney or Melbourne, and is so close to the Gold and Sunshine Coasts.

UQ has enabled me to take journalism courses, which my host university does not have, and I am hoping to come back for my Masters next year.

I am taking Gothic Literature at the moment, which is unlike any other English class I have ever taken. We are reading everything from Dracula to Twilight. The themes are really dark and mysterious. There is a lot of student participation and discussion in the tutorial, which definitely makes the course more interesting!

I lived at Union College last semester, which was the best decision! I absolutely loved it. I instantly made friends, and there were always social events going on.

I wanted to spend my semester abroad in Australia because I have always been fascinated and impressed with this country.

Covered with deserts, small mountains, salt-water lakes, coastal landscapes, beautiful beaches and coral reefs- there is everything you can imagine.

The St. Lucia Campus is very beautiful with all its lakes, animals and green areas. Furthermore, UQ offers a huge spectrum of different courses from different areas. Especially the course Australia’s Marine Environment (MARS2005) is very interesting for exchange students because you learn a lot about Australian animals. Moreover, the course takes you to beautiful places like Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef.

There was a “Mount Everest Simulation” from the course “Introduction to Management” (MGTS1301). In this simulation students participated in a 3 hour computer simulation, which required them to work in teams to climb to the top of Mount Everest. Each team member had a particular role and had to make a few decisions which were sometimes in conflict to the best team decision. The ability of sophisticated decision-making was improved by this practical simulation.

I would advise study abroad and incoming exchange students to take some interesting courses (even if they are not included in your program), stay as long as you can, travel as much as possible and enjoy the “Aussie Life”!

What were your most memorable experiences at UQ?

During my time studying abroad at The University Of Queensland, I carried out a personal project of filming one second everyday. Please see my video below.

Studying at UQ allowed me to find an internship with a local company, start a blog which went viral (“Brisbane on a Budget“) and of course – travel extensively.

The year included trips to New Zealand, the Australian East Coast and South East Asia. Moving over to Australia with around 15 students from my home university, we made the most of the International Student society (QUEST), with trips to the Girraween National Park and Moreton Island. Brisbane was a brilliant city to live in, which offered so much to do.

I hope you enjoy the video, and have at least half as much fun as we all did!

Steven Oishi - Exchange Student

With my courses at UQ, I got to travel to so many place like Heron Island, Moreton, Straddie, and lots of National Parks. It’s the BEST way to learn about Australia because it was very hands-on.

For our assignments and labs we would actually travel to places where we could do practical learning of the subject. For example in Marine Biology, my class went to a research station in Moreton Island (right on the water!). My group collected crabs from the beach and we tested their aggressiveness in 1vs1 arena battles. Fun and learning all in one.

There’s always something happening on campus… Wednesday markets, live music, parties at Red Room (campus bar), frequent BBQs, club events, sports.

The QUEST club at UQ was the easiest and best way to meet international people, and some locals! I made loads of awesome friends from countries all over the world and we went on heaps of trips to places like Byron Bay, Gold Coast Hinterlands, camping at Giraween. All of my travel buddies are now lifelong friends.

Quest also holds lots of social events (movie nights on campus, lawn bowls, boat party and more). They’re the best club at UQ (really, they have the award to prove it. Not joining QUEST shouldn’t even be an option for international students!!!!

I choose to study in Australia because it has lots of great universities that offer courses I can’t take at my home university like Music, Australia’s Terrestrial Environment, Marine Biology, etc. Brisbane is also great because it’s just a train ride away from the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast.

I would advise other students waiting to come to UQ to stay for two semesters because everyone that has come for one wishes they could have stayed for longer.

Steven was the winner of the 2011 'Discover Your Future Unlimited' video competition organised by Austrade North America. 

Thomas Hering – Study Abroad

When I first came to UQ I was really impressed by the huge variety of small restaurants, shops and other services.

Whether you want to buy a bike, books, taste Asian food or just reheat your precooked meal in one of the free microwaves, you'll find everything you need. Personally, I love having a coffee from one of the many coffee shops on campus every now and then.

UQ offers a broad range of helpful facilities and services. All my courses use the "Blackboard" learning platform, which stores recorded lessons, course profiles and other learning resources. Blackboard is often used by students for discussion purposes too. There is wireless Internet connection in every lecture theatre on campus as well as in the Great Court.

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