ANU is a world-leading university in Australia’s capital city, Canberra. Our location points to our unique history, ties to the Australian Government and special standing as a resource for the Australian people.
Our focus on research as an asset, and an approach to education, ensures our graduates are in demand the world-over for their abilities to understand, and apply vision and creativity to addressing complex contemporary challenges.
Admission: Multifaculty Exchange
Additional requirements (such as the TOEFL test): Yes, TOEFL and your average grade must be higher than a 7.
Where did you spend your semester abroad?
The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.
How did you find where to spend your semester abroad?
In 2012 I visited Australia. I was so fascinated by the country that I definitely wanted to go back. The study abroad was the perfect opportunity. As I visited Sydney before, I wanted to explore a city that I would normally not visit. Additionally, the ANU collaborates closely with the government. While visiting the university you could also gain a deep inside into the work of the government. Furthermore, the ANU is the best Australian and 19 th best university in the world in the QF Ranking. Canberra and the ANU are therefore perfect for exploring a capital city and one of the best universities.
What were the requirements for you to go to this place?
The requirements to study at the ANU were firstly to apply for the Multifaculty Exchange. Your grade average needs to be higher than 7 and the propaedeutic certificate must have been obtained at the moment of application. In addition to a certified list of grades, you need to hand in a motivation letter, an English test (TOEFL- be careful Cambridge is not sufficient) and a recommendation letter. When you get accepted by the University of Groningen, you have to complete a second application form from the ANU.
What was your favourite sightseeing there?
While I was staying in Canberra I organised myself a whole day of sightseeing. The streets are perfect for cycling and there is a lot to see. Next to events planned all over the months my favourite sightseeing was the Australian Parliament. You can attend the “Question Hour” every day. During these times it is possible to watch the politicians debate. Even though you would think that a parliament debates formally, the parliament is rather the opposite and definitely worth a visit. In the whole of Australia, I cannot decide which is my favourite sight. Australia is diverse and there are so many different places to visit. You should really take the time and save the money for travelling the most of the country. It is just beautiful and you should not miss it.
What was your favourite local food there?
In Australia you can find restaurants of all kinds and you can eat food from all over the world. Personally I have not tried kangaroo, but I heard it is supposed to be delicious. My favourite restaurants in Canberra were Grill’d, which is a delicious burger place and the Food Trucks, where food from all over the world is sold. There are also a lot of sweets you should try in Australia. Most importantly: Caramello Koalas and Freddo Frogs!
Was there many green spaces to relax?
The whole campus is green in spring and summer. The ANU has a really big campus which on one side has access to a huge lake. The campus itself is park-like and all the buildings are surrounded by a park-like environment! It’s beautiful!
Did you practice any sports there?
During my time at the ANU I took a course called “Summer Fit”, which offered 14 fitness sessions to prepare you for the summer! It cost 65$ and was definitely worth it. Other than that I went jogging. There a lot of jogging routes for all types of runners. The ANU also has a gym, but the membership is relatively expensive.
Did you go out a lot? Where?
The normal “go-out night” is the Thursday, as on this day students have free entry to most of the clubs. There are a lot of possibilities to go out. In Canberra you also do not have to dress up too much (even though some people do). If you go out in Sydney or Melbourne it is advisable to pack some chic clothes. Next to the normal clubs you can go out at, there are also a lot of parties organised by university organisations or the residences. It is possible to go out a lot. However, you should not go out too much, as the university is quite demanding and the deadlines are strict.
What did you think of the university? The location? The buildings? The teachers? The study programme?
The ANU is amazing. It is the best university in Australia and the 19 th best university in the world. It is an honour to study at this institution. It is located at the northern end of the city centre, which means you can walk almost everywhere. Possibilities for grocery or normal shopping are a short walk away. Museums are located on right at the edge of the campus and the parliament can be reached by a 15 minute bike ride.
The campus is beautiful. While you walk to your classes or to the city, you feel like you are walking through a park. There is a little river running through it and there are a lot of trees and flowers. Additionally it borders to a lake and black mountains. At both locations you can take beautiful strolls or go jogging.
The buildings are located in walking distance. You mostly only have about 5 minutes to change the buildings between your classes, but that is definitely possible. All rooms and buildings are really modern and most of them have white boards and the newest equipment. The teachers at the ANU are mostly teaching relatively small classes. Students are therefore, more than just numbers. It is really easy to get in contact with your teachers. They are really helpful and keen to help you with your problems. If you have an overlap in classes they record them for you and if there are problems with papers or exams there is always a possibility to talk to them. While the relationship between the teachers and students can in some cases be rather informal, all teachers are still strict and insist on the correct submission of your assignments.
During my study abroad I could chose my courses almost freely. Since I am interested in “International Security” I chose courses such as “Peace and Conflict”, “Conflict Management and Resolution in the Asia Pacific”, “Violence and Terror” and “ Security communities.” Due to its location Australia offers a lot of courses about Asia. If you are interested in Asia or not, it is really interesting to experience a different perspective on events in world politics.
How did it go financially? The accommodation? Food? Public transports?
It is important to know that Australia is one of the most expensive countries to spend you exchange semester in. Firstly, there is the flight which you will probably not get under 1200€. Furthermore, the accommodation is only relatively affordable. The university offers student housing, however, the two cheapest halls are far above the Groningen prices. This year the prices are going to be even higher.
Renting a room in the city is, however, harder to organize, less fun and even more expensive. You have to plan a lot of money for the accommodation. This situation is the same for food. There are some goods, which are really expensive (for example: Yogurt, Cheese and Meat). In the city there are several supermarkets. Aldi offers most of the goods at student prices. Some halls also get free food delivered every week. However, this food is often already gone when you reach the place of distribution.
You also need to think about the kitchen equipment and bedding (such as sheets and pillows) that you need to buy. There are several other extra expenses. The public transport in Canberra can be used with a special card. It doesn’t cost anything, but you have to charge it with a minimum of 10$. However, I have never really used the public transport. It is easy to buy a second hand bike. A lot of people sell theirs on Facebook and there is a second hand shop. You should, however, still calculate 80$ for the cheapest one. While you also need to save money for a lock and a helmet (it is an obligation to wear a helmet in Australia), the 80$ bikes are pretty small. On the campus and in the city almost everything is in walking distance though.
Try to apply for scholarships and do that in time, as many deadlines are quite early.
What was the most surprising thing about this new culture?
The Australian culture is pretty western. Therefore, you don’t have to prepare for a “culture shock”. I was not really surprised by the culture. My favourite part about it was though that the Australians are the most friendly people in the world. In the whole half year I have not really met any unfriendly people. At the residence they welcome you immediately and are eager to make you feel at home. When you travel it is also easy to find people to travel to and with. It is possible to be invited for a BBQ or to stay over at someone’s house. No worries, mate!
What is the most funny word you learned in the new language?
Australians are just really laid back. While their official language is of course English, there are still quite a lot of words that are different from the good old “British English”. The expressions I liked most were “sweet” and “too easy”. They just use it all the time and it is typically Australian.
What did you think of the workload?
The workload at the ANU is quite intense. It commences relatively easy, but as soon as the assignments start the workload will be intense. Often deadlines are on the same day or in the same week. While teachers are quite cooperative, there is also only so much they can do. During the time of the assignments you should really focus on finishing them.
Did you meet many international students?
The ANU has many international students. While a lot of Asians complete their whole Bachelor or Masters degree in Australia, there are also many exchange students. They come from all over the world (Europe, Brazil, USA, New Zealand, etc.) I met most of them in my hall. Burton and Garran hall hosts the most international students. There are still many Australians though. With this composition you can get the best mix between meeting internationals and Australians.
Gradings are given on a scale from 1-10.
Points of interests
(not so many <-> lots of museums etc.)
Canberra has many points of interest. As the capital of Australia it is especially appealing if you are interested in politics and arts. The city hosts for example the parliament, the high court and the National Museum. These and many other museums as well as institutions you can visit free of charge.
(only local food <-> great variety of restaurants)
There are several different restaurants spread all over the city. These restaurants are mostly all affordable on a student budget. There are two restaurants you absolutely need to go to: Grill’d and the Food Trucks.
(none <-> several natural parks/recreational parks)
Right behind the campus is the “Black Mountain”. You can hike up and visit the TV tower. The campus also has access to the Lake “Burley Griffith”. There are several beautiful National Parks to hike through and visit. The problem is just to reach them: for most of them you need to have a car, as public transport will not go there.
(limited <-> many options/extra courses)
There are wonderful jogging routes around the campus. The ANU offers a gym, but the membership is quite expensive. Courses are also offered. There is for example a course “Summer Fit”, which includes 14 session of fitness for 65$.
(limited <-> many theatres/cinemas/pubs
There are several social activities. In the city there are theatres, cinemas, pubs, clubs and bars. Good opportunities to go out and spend your time. Especially if you live in a hall there numerous social activities. The halls organize meetings, fairs and parties. A lot of events to pass your time next to your study.
Size of the University
(small <-> big)
Since the ANU is the best Australian university there are a lot of students. There are numerous faculties, which offer even more degree programs. While there are a lot of students the university is not overcrowded. Classes are small and it is easy to talk to your professors.
(informal <-> formal)
The relationship between students and professors is the right measure between informal and formal. Since the classes are small teachers are easy to contact and students are more than a number. It is easy to get appointment and these can also sometimes end up in informal conversations.Teachers are really interested in contact to the students.
(English suffices <-> Official Language)
The official teaching language at the ANU is of course English. However, especially for the papers it is necessary to have a really good knowledge of English.
The study programme
(easy <-> difficult/intense)
The study program is more intense than in Groningen. Even though you only follow four courses these are more demanding and ask for more assignments. Exams are mostly scheduled at the end of the semester. Papers have to be written in great density during the semester.
(few international students <-> many int. students)
There are numerous international and domestic students. These international students are, however, not only exchange students (even though there are many from all around the world) but also students, which follow there whole Bachelor or Master degree at the ANU. These are mostly from Asia.
Location of the University
(hard to reach <-> close by)
The university campus is located at the northern end of the city center. Everything is in walking distance (supermarkets, bars, cinemas, etc.).
(expensive <-> cheap)
Living in Australia is expensive. While you have to plan more money for food, it is still affordable. There is a big Aldi in the city center, which offers everything at student prices.
(difficult to find & expensive <-> easy & affordable)
The accommodation is neither difficult nor easy to find. The university contacts you with an e-mail where they are offering places in a residence hall. There are two affordable ones (Burton and Garran Hall, Fenner Hall). Of these Burton and Garran is closer to the campus and also to the city. Accommodation is expensive. This year the costs will be raised. Living of campus is, however, even more expensive.