Faculty of Social & Historical Sciences


Study abroad: Australia

Adwoa, 3rd year BA Geography student, share her experience of study abroad at the University of Sydney.

27 hours and 10 time zones later, after my final goodbyes to family, reacquaintance with Dutyfree and some surprisingly nice aeroplane food…I’d arrived in Sydney. I was finally in the country that took months or even years of preparation to get to. I would be living here, in a hemisphere I’d never visited before, beginning my study in the middle of Australia’s academic calendar, meeting entirely new friends and experiencing a different cultural lifestyle here, for the next 11 months minimum – sounds quite daunting!

However, it was one of the best experiences of my life, let alone for my academic journey and future career. Although I ended up staying in Australia for 8 months, shorter than anticipated, due to COVID-19, the experience, life lessons, global connections and memories I gained throughout my journey opened my mind to the opportunities you benefit from during your Study Abroad. There were, of course, ups and downs and some days I felt as though there were more downs than ups, but this was all part of the journey and is completely normal.

I’ve always found difficulty being accepted onto elective modules I’d applied to in previous years at UCL. Therefore, one of the most important aspects for me, whilst studying abroad, was the opportunity to study in areas of personal interest and curiosity that weren’t available to me at UCL. Learning about Aboriginal Australia – a part of black history rarely taught elsewhere in the world, entrepreneurship, smart consumerism with EY as well as undertaking an Internship were only some of the modules I chose to enrich my wider knowledge whilst equipping me with the skills and exposure for my future career. The module choice Study Abroad students have is immense, and even if you have to study modules within your Department, you are still benefitting from the engagement of learning in a different context or by top academics. Your academic pathway will be enhanced.

The slightly strange start to my University of Sydney learning, being their ‘Semester’ 2, actually paid off because this meant I could continue being academically motivated and it enabled me to have some 3-4 months of summer holidays from November, taking advantage of Australia’s opposite seasons and giving me an extra summer. During this period, I surprised my family on a visit home and travelled around Australia. Students can also undertake internships, training courses or work during this period. The opportunities are countless…

Overall, I feel I needn’t explain again but the benefits, exposure and enjoyment I experienced in Sydney outweigh any of the scares I had prior to leaving the comfort of London and any homesick feelings whilst out there. Not many students would be able to say that about their third year without taking a Year Abroad…