I am having the best year ever. Studying abroad is definitely a great way to enhance your degree and see an awesome country. I would recommend it to anyone who gets the opportunity.
I am half way through the year and have settled in really well. I have really enjoyed the socialising, travelling as well as the studying and how can I forget the surfing and the beach! Australia is such an amazing country and the people are really friendly.
Newcastle is in New South Wales about 3 hours north of Sydney and is a beach town drenched in surf culture, there are loads of great beaches to go to and have great 'Aussie' BBQs. The night life is different to Leeds with more pubs and bars rather than clubs, but they still have the good old fancy dress theme nights at college!
I stay in Evatt House which is a college on campus, it has a great community atmosphere and organises many social and sporting events which they encourage everyone to take part in. I would recommend staying in Evatt House to anyone hoping to study here. It is much better than the other colleges and much more social than living off campus. Living in Evatt House allows you to make the most of your stay, and you get the chance to meet both international and Australian students.
The semester is arranged in to a 14 week block with a 2 week holiday in the middle which is a great chance to do some travelling. I managed to do a road trip from Cairns to Sydney in a campervan which was quite an adventure. There is also a great summer break which allows you to see a lot of the country and New Zealand too!
The workload is mostly concentrated on coursework, I had quite a few lab reports and presentations; although you still have exams at the end of the semester. There are loads of clubs to join such as a mountaineering club that goes on trips every weekend, hiking, kayaking and various other outdoor activities. There is also a surf and scuba diving club which are all good value for money and loads of fun!
I would recommend Newcastle as a place to study abroad, as it is close to Sydney and offers plenty of other places to visit. Also, the University has a great community spirit and the chance to participate in a wide range of both sporting and academic activities. Although the campus is not in the city centre, there are regular trains and buses which take you into town and it is easy to get anywhere. I have had a great year so far and am looking forward to another great semester!"