Student life: planning for a cultural exchange abroad

Nyhaven, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Travelling is an essential part of being an Architecture student. If you don’t investigate previous architectural works around the world, then how will you be inspired to design? Studying abroad was one of my best decisions and experiences throughout university and I would recommend for everyone to give it a go. These are my few personal tips to get yourself ready for your trip of a lifetime.

Where to go?

Planning for an exchange abroad can seem overwhelming but it will be an extremely rewarding  experience. The first thing that needs to be completed is deciding where you want to go. Current programs available for MADA students can be accessed from https://www.monash.edu/study-abroad/partners, this website allows you to choose your study level and faculty which will aid in your decision in selecting the perfect program for you.

When can I go?

Starting this process early is the key to creating a successful time abroad. If you don’t start planning ahead you might just miss out on the opportunity! This link outlines the key deadlines for applications abroad: https://www.monash.edu/study-abroad/outbound/apply. Traditionally a year an advance is the time needed to prepare these applications. For example, if you want to study in semester one for a specific year, you would have to apply around April the year before to ensure you are accepted through Monash and the partner university. It is also important to confirm if the partner university semesters line up with Monash or you just might end up having to extend your course.

How much does it cost?

Through all this early preparation you should be able to pick up a few extra shifts to fund your travels. Studying abroad is expensive, for many students it will be their first time away from friends and family for an extended period. Living and travel costs are all your responsibility so ensure you have approximately $2000 spending money per month on top of accommodation costs. If these costs seem unrealistic for you, consider scholarships and loans such as the OS-HELP loan for Australian students to fund their cultural experience.

Visas / Passports / Flights

One of the worst things you could do is turn up to the airport without the correct visa, passport or flights. Ensure you have checked you have all the necessary requirements to enter your chosen country for study purposes or you might get sent home. Don’t forget the destinations in transit as well! From experience I spent 10 minutes before check in closed stressing about an application for an ESTA (an American Visa) that I didn’t know I needed just because I was stopping over.

I’m still confused, Help?!

Your main points of contact for making your study abroad experience come true are your Monash Abroad officers and course advisors. Set up a meeting with one or both of them to start planning or answer any further questions you have.

Key Takeaways

Once you arrive at your study abroad destination, remember to have fun. Make sure you take on any opportunities that come your way as this is the perfect chance for you to get outside of your comfort zone. I have had the privilege to make friends from all over the world from studying abroad and the ability to live like a local in Copenhagen. Take advantage of the breaks in semester to travel and visit all the significant sites that you have learnt in class as exploring the built form is an important aspect of becoming an architect.

References

Australian Government. 2019. Study Assist. https://www.studyassist.gov.au/help-loans/os-help-and-overseas-study.
Monash University. 2019. Monash Study Abroad Outbound. https://www.monash.edu/study-abroad/outbound/apply.
—. 2019. Monash Study Abroad Partners. https://www.monash.edu/study-abroad/partners.