1) Preparation / planning
At the beginning of my planning for a semester abroad, I, like everyone else, had many questions that had to be clarified in advance.
Where to study
I really wanted to spend my semester abroad in an English-speaking country outside of Europe. Since I’ve always been fascinated by Australia and really wanted to go there, I finally decided to spend a semester here.
After reading dozens of testimonials on the Internet and the JCU was consistently rated as good, I selected it for my semester abroad.
How to apply
After I received little help from the student advisory service / international office at my German university, only the information that I could only be helped with a semester abroad within Europe and the ERASMUS program, I took matters into my own hands and looked for organizations on the Internet who support students with stays abroad. I came across MicroEDU who were really helpful and able to answer all of my numerous questions.
In addition, the entire application process ran through MicroEDU (including sending and forwarding documents, communicating with the JCU). MicroEDU has always helped me with other bureaucratic hurdles (e. g. visa applications).
In most Australian universities one is language proficiency necessary to study there, including in the JCU. Mostly you have to take the TOEFL or IELTS test for this. At the JCU, however, it was sufficient to submit a DAAD language certificate.
I financed my stay abroad with an Auslandsbafög. Since I also receive Inlandsbafög, it was also certain that I would get Auslandsbafög, provided that the semester abroad was worthy of funding. In other words: the courses you take should roughly correspond to the subject of your studies. (If you only spend one three-semester abroad, you will not receive a foreign student loan; at least 1 semester (for a two-semester structure) or 2 trimesters (for a three-semester structure)). In addition to the standard rate for the Inlandsbafög, you also receive a foreign allowance (for Australia 85 € as a pure allowance). In addition, you receive a grant for the flight of 1000 € as well as tuition fees up to 4600 € (everything above that you have to pay yourself).
You have to choose the courses when you apply. If you want to have courses credited, it is best to go to the respective professors at your university with the lecture handouts before choosing the courses and inquire about possible crediting or contact the professor by email.
I am studying industrial engineering and have therefore taken both engineering courses (” Thermofluid Mechanics “) and business courses (” Management, People and Organization “, ” Marketing Fundamentals “). When I applied, I registered for 4 courses (plus “Electric Circuits”), but after the first few weeks I noticed that the effort for the courses was too great and so I decided to deselect a course. In the first few weeks it is possible to change, choose or deselect courses without any problems, you just have to go to the respective Faculty Office and apply for the change.
4) Semester schedule
In the first week, the so-called “Orientation Week”, there are numerous information events in which you can explore the city as well as the university campus. In addition, you get a lot of information about the JCU online portals, health insurance, timetables, enrollment in the tutorials, sports and leisure activities at the university, etc. It was a bit disappointing that the sports activities are not free and you pay an additional 300 AUD for football, for example got to. According to abbreviationfinder, JCU stands for James Cook University.
Unlike at my German university, I already had numerous exams during the semester (mostly only multiple choice) as well as essays, presentations and internship reports. Overall, the level of the exams was somewhat easier than at my German university.
During the semester we had a week off, which I (like most internationals I have met) used to travel, more precisely for a short trip to New Zealand. Otherwise there was no time for larger excursions during the semester.
5) Study conditions
The support at the university was really excellent. If you had any questions, you could always contact the tutors or the professors, who were always ready to help. There was also the International Student Center. Here you could really go to the nice and extremely helpful employees with whatever concern, whether looking for an apartment, an Australian mobile phone contract or health insurance.
I really enjoyed my stay at JCU. In addition to what I learned professionally and linguistically, I also developed personally during the time, experienced a lot and made many new friends. I do not regret having chosen the JCU and would spend a semester abroad there again.