As part of my dual studies at the European University of Applied Sciences (EUFH) in Brühl, a semester abroad was an integral part of the course from the beginning of the course (which was also a reason for studying at the EUFH). The choice of university was up to me. I had already chosen Australia as the country, but the university that I was going to was still missing. The MicroEDU. com website helped me a lot with my selection. I created a table for myself using the information on the website in order to select a university based on the factors that are important to me. After evaluating all the information, the choice finally fell on James Cook University (short for JCU according to abbreviationfinder) in Townsville.
After I had made my choice, I first contacted the MicroEDU supervisor by phone to find out how the application process is. You could answer all my questions immediately without having to connect me ten times. After I had all the documents together, I sent them bundled to MicroEDU and the employees there took care of everything. A few days later, the JCU’s confirmation arrived in my mailbox by post. The MicroEDU staff were always very friendly for further questions and I never had to wait long for answers. And all for a service that is free of charge for me. I’m not even used to this service from service providers that I pay for myself. So here a big compliment! So after I was accepted, I chose my four subjects in consultation with the EUFH and submitted them to both universities.
I booked the flight to Townsville without any problems via the Qantas website. The visawas easy to apply online. All you need is confirmation that you will study in Australia (CoE). After all of this had happened, the JCU asked directly where you would like to live. There is the possibility to live on campus or to take care of a place to stay that is not on the premises yourself. Since I was traveling with four other students from the EUFH, we had already decided in advance not to live on campus and to try to rent a house for all of us. We were told that this was possible and that the search for an apartment would then take place during the orientation week. In order to bridge the time of looking for an apartment, we were offered temporary accommodation which later turned out to be a classic backpackers-style motel. As a final preparation, I had the travel vaccinations refreshed by the doctor, organized an international driver’s license and selected travel cancellation insurance. Then everything was organized and the wait for the flight began.
After 27 hours we arrived in Townsville and were met at the airport by a JCU arrival service. Here we were first brought to the motel so that we could unload our luggage and then. . . yes. . . nothing more after that. They had told us to report to the international student office. That’s it. We didn’t know where we were right now or where the campus is. At least we had a map of the campus so that if we should make it to campus, we could orientate ourselves a little. That all sounds worse than it actually was, because after all it is Australia and you know, at least from hearing, the Australian hospitality and helpfulness. In the motel we were quickly told the way to the next bus stop that will take us to the university. Once there, we only waited a few minutes for the bus and the driver even gave us a timely notification that we should get off. But now we were still somewhere on the campus (which is very spacious) and didn’t know exactly where the office is. Then we just went into some building and talked to the best employee of the JCU, hoping he could at least give a rough direction. He didn’t do that. Instead he just drove us in his car from where we were standing right to the door of the international student office. I was very excited about that. When we arrived there, the very friendly staff briefed us and started looking for a house with us. From the start the statement was:
After a week of searching and various appointments with realtors and landlords, our dream came true and there were five of us in the same house. So a whole house to ourselves.
In Townsville you quickly realize that you can get by without a car, but it’s super impractical because everything is very far apart. For comparison: Townsville has about the same area as Bonn but only a little more than a third of the population of Bonn. High-rise buildings and apartment buildings are rarely found. So we bought a car that we could always use to drive to university during the week. There was a lot of choice here for an eight-seater van. You should know in advance that this type of car is very popular with backpackers, but otherwise very difficult to sell. Ultimately, we were only able to sell the car one day before we left.
I arranged the lectures and tutorials so that I only had to go to university on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Accordingly, 5 days a week were available to see something of the country. However, you should definitely not underestimate the workload. Here a good 40 hours of work are planned for the students, so that when traveling and excursions, the whole thing has to be made up later and a lot then accumulates here.
Things to do in Townsville are available but limited. There are three discos and five bars. Anyone who knows and expects the nightlife in Cologne or Hamburg will certainly be disappointed here. In addition, the consumption of alcohol in public is prohibited and associated with high penalties. The common statement that you should simply put it in a brown bag doesn’t help here, because the security guards who patrol the city also look in there if they suspect anything.
But there is a beautiful zoo (Billabong Sanctuary) in the city, where all Australian animals can be seen and most of them can be petted. Here, kangaroos roam free and koalas and wombats can be petted (for a fee).
Townsville is also particularly suitable for divers, as the Great Barrier Reef can be easily reached from here. In addition, the JCU offers so-called field trips, which can be taken part in very cheaply. Here you dive on a research assignment and learn more about the reef than normal tourists can.
In summary, it can be said that the stay in Australia was not only very educational, but also that I was able to admire many scenic beauties. So all in all an experience that I wouldn’t want to miss.