22 October 2013

Hundreds of University of Queensland students pack their bags every semester and head overseas with UQ Abroad, the University’s student exchange program.

Many students delve deeper into their country of choice by involving themselves in volunteer programs, research placements, internships and local culture.

Applications to study abroad for Semester 2 next year are open until 31 October 2013.

UQ Arts/Law student Samantha Garbutt did an exchange at the University of Richmond, USA, in Semester 1, 2013.

Samantha said she took an intriguing selection of law electives and took part in a range of volunteering experiences.

“I volunteered at a sexual health clinic where I had the opportunity to see the facilities the United States offers to those who can’t afford much health care,” she said.

“I also volunteered at a Middle School which educated students from a lower socio-economic class.

“I was assigned to help one particular student who had a low reading level, and I would sit with her during classes and help her sound words out.

“These experiences gave me a first-hand view of the ethnic and economic diversity within the wider community.”

Samantha said that the opportunity to volunteer and to study subjects not offered at UQ was rewarding, but it was the social aspect of her exchange experience that lingered.

“I soaked up American culture by attending football games, taking university bus trips to New York and Washington DC, and joining the ultimate Frisbee team and wind ensemble,” she said.

UQ Science student James Cleland spent 2012 at the University of California, Berkeley.

As a part of his studies he worked on his own research project at the University of California, San Francisco Cardiovascular Research Institute.

He said he investigated the formation of blood vessels and networked with leaders in the field.

“Words cannot describe just how rewarding my experience was. Every day I was pushed to ask questions, work hard, and reflect,” he said.

“Each day in the lab I had the chance to talk to and learn from some of the world’s best and brightest researchers.”

He said his exchange experience had given him unparalleled preparation for Honours and his career beyond university.

“I highly encourage everyone going on exchange to take part in extra-curricular activities of some kind.

“It’s a brilliant way to network, enrich your degree and make your CV stand out.”

Further information about the program and how to apply is available at: www.uq.edu.au/uqabroad/

Media: Jan McCreary (07 3365 2852 or jan.mccreary@uq.edu.au)