Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Past Review

By (Journalism - emphasis in Photography, San Jose State University) for

Queensland University of Technology: Brisbane - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
The experience was definitely worthwhile. Do not be afraid to not only make friends with fellow international students, but your fellow Aussie classmates as well. Meeting people from all over the world has helped my understanding of how similar we really all are and create new lifelong friendships. I thought I would pursue a master's degree in Higher Education, but upon return I was interested in traveling some more. Now I am a flight attendant where I am constantly thirsty for a new experience abroad. When I come across an Australian accent, I get excited and think about my amazing time abroad. I have even had a friend come visit me in the states a few times. Studying abroad is just one of those experiences you can constantly tell how amazing it is, but until someone lives it, one will never understand.

Review Photos

Exchange: Brisbane - Queensland University of Technology Photo Exchange: Brisbane - Queensland University of Technology Photo Exchange: Brisbane - Queensland University of Technology Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I created some lifelong contacts while abroad. One of my favorite courses (Fashion and Style Journalism) I was encouraged to bring my own ideas and ultimately be a part of a family by becoming in charge of layout design and photo editor. The whole culmination of the unit experience occurred when viewing the actual magazine in print. It was a real, actual magazine, produced by us, the students. From attending meetings with the printer, viewing the proofs, to the actual launch of the magazine, it was the perfect start to end of the course, with real physical results. Other courses, it was said that lectures do not give A's to all students, even if the work is worthy of it. Apparently there is some unsaid rule that they are not supposed to give so many out. That was a bit frustrating, but really at the end of the day, it did not matter what number on the rubric scale I received. It was about the experience abroad, lessons learned that were not always inside of the classroom.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

One of the most stressful things was trying to find accommodation. QUT did have a places listed and offered to drive students to a maximum of three places for one time. This did help, but in the end I had to find things myself.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Walking distance to Kelvin Grove campus and nice housemates. I had purchased a mattress and other house items from the help of some locals willing to drive me around. My housemates and I were not best friends, but we got along.

* Food:

Food is much more expensive. Get ready for smaller portions and higher price tags.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Meeting other international students and traveling with them. Go out and explore. Meet others. Do the weekend trips. Cost was a factor for me, so I got a job while there to help aid the cost of activities.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Aussies seem to not give out as much antibiotics as Americans do. I had a typical illness while abroad and they told me I was fine and to just rest.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Exchange

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
* Who did you take classes with?

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  • Local Students

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? If you do your homework before you leave, you can make your study abroad experience work for you. Get your classes pre-approved by your advisors and there will be a whole lot less stress coming home.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Fashion and Style Journalism

Course Department:
Instructor: Kay McMahon
Instruction Language: English
Comments: 19 February 2007 Some people go to university and never quite find their niche, passing through the institution quickly and not making connection with the faculty or the subjects they are taking. For international students, this contact is even shortened as the time abroad is limited and rushed. For me, it was different. My time as an exchange student from San José State University, I had no greater joy than participating in the magazine Frock Paper Scissors and having Kay McMahon as the driving motivation behind my passion for the magazine. Initially, I was interested in taking the course because of the hit television show from the states, Project Runway. I did not know much about fashion, but because of the popularity of the show, I wanted to be around it. Before arriving, I tried to get approval from my adviser at my home institution to get credit for the course, but he did not like the fact that it had fashion in the title of the subject. After a semester abroad already at QUT and the new semester beginning, I pleaded with my adviser to allow me to take the course; after the first lecture with Kay speaking, I knew my pleading was worth it. From the first lecture, Kay got me pumped. I did not know what to expect and was still trying to figure out the Australian curriculum, she used her motivation skills to inspire me to get involved with the magazine and invest my time and creative energy into it. Kay told the class that although it was not a unit objective to publish the magazine, she would help support us as much as we helped support her. I definitely fed off her enthusiasm for the subject and she fed off ours as well. At the same time I was involved with Frock Paper Scissors, I was involved with another QUT publication. Kay did not mind my other commitment and instead, shifted more of my interest with Frock Paper Scissors than the other publication. I think part of the reason for the change of interest was because of her support of hands on learning. She allowed the class to sign up with what topics that interested us and continued to fuel our energy by giving nothing but support, whereas the other publication was more rigid in its process and left most of the elements up to the lecture to decide, not the students. Frock Paper Scissors was very much a student ran process. During the early stages of the magazine, I became interested in the layout design. I was excited looking at examples in various magazines and suggested an idea out to the class. Instead of trying to take command of the magazine and what I was thinking, Kay empowered me to get up and draw what I envisioned on the whiteboard for others to see. She very much allowed the class to formulate their own ideas of who this magazine audience was for and how we would achieve it. Instead of acting as authoritative figure, she helped facilitate the process to achieve our goal of producing a quality magazine. By the end of the unit, I was spending most of my time on the magazine rather than other subjects. The magazine was a class I looked forward to attending and working on; it was not a chore and did not seem as if it were a real class. Kay continued to guide us when it was necessary and knew when to give us space for creative freedom. I never felt constrained to an idea and she encouraged thinking outside the box. The weekly staff meetings with the editors made me feel like I was a part of something special, as if I was privileged to be a part of the magazine. I enjoyed what I was doing and did not mind spending late hours (sometimes as late as when the sun would rise) in Z6 to work on the magazine. I felt something while working on the magazine that I did not feel with any other unit during my time at QUT, I felt as if I belonged to a family. The whole culmination of the unit experience occurred when viewing the actual magazine in print. It was a real, actual magazine, produced by us, the students. From attending meetings with the printer, viewing the proofs, to the actual launch of the magazine, it was the perfect start to end of the course, with real physical results. The rival publication came out during the same time, but with not as much allure. I was actually proud of Frock Paper Scissors, instead of the other publication. I had produced a magazine that could be used as a portfolio for any employer. Kay spearheaded this process by allowing us to grow from performing, instead of reading about it in a textbook. By working with a team, I have learned skills that can be transferable to any job, not just in the journalism field. By the end of the course it became clear to me that the motto of QUT, “A University for the Real World” actually did exist. Not only did Kay help cultivate a class full of different energies and talents, she supported this real world learning experience. Kay’s energy, talent, and passion for education were evident throughout the course. She made learning exciting and gave us the freedom to design a magazine that the class wanted, not what she wanted to see. Because of Kay, I became invested with my learning, making my educational experience abroad way more meaningful than can ever be expressed with words. The world needs more teachers who are committed to education as is Kay McMahon.
Credit Transfer Issues: Yes - this was the course I loved and learned the most from although my advisor did not think it was relevant to my coursework. Ultimately I got it as credit only course (yet this was highest mark I earned year wide).