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GO Student AmbassadorsInternational Exchange

Joe Newman

14 December 2020

School of Journalism, Media and Culture

International Exchange Placement

Where did you go?

Sydney, University of Sydney

What motivated you to take up a semester abroad?

The idea of being able to study whilst living in an entirely new and different city to anywhere I’ve lived in before was extremely appealing; Sydney has thousands of beaches and much better weather than the UK. This motivated me because it meant I would be able to make the most out of my day by exploring outdoors, whether it be visiting beaches, going hiking, road trips etc. Personally, I think all of these are worse when the weather is bad. The GO team also highlighted the benefits of studying abroad. Being able to work/study abroad is something that employers look for, so it is a very positive thing to put on your CV. Places like New Zealand are near Sydney as well, and this was somewhere I was motivated to travel around.

What were your top 3 highlights from your time abroad?

  1. Snorkelling with sharks, turtles, sting rays etc.
  2. Going on road trips out of the city with friends.
  3. Flying to Melbourne for a friend’s birthday (return flights from Sydney are just £90)

What was your biggest challenge? How did you overcome it?

When I first arrived in Sydney, there did not seem to be many people in my accommodation (Queen Mary Building) and the weather was awful. I think it was the worst rainfall that Sydney had seen in years, possibly ever. Obviously I did not know anyone, the weather was depressing and I was jet lagged, so it was very difficult to find the motivation to go and socialise. To overcome this, I started to pay attention to the WhatsApp group I was in where people would organise meeting up. I knew everyone was in the same situation as no one knew each other, so it was just like starting uni all over again. If you ever feel nervous/anxious about meeting new people, try to understand that everyone feels the same, and using social media helps find other people like yourself.

How has your placement been beneficial to your studies at Cardiff University or your future career?

My exchange has allowed me to study modules that were not available at Cardiff, so it has given me an understanding of topics that I did not understand before. If needed in the future, I can refer back to them to help me progress. By studying at a different institution, I have demonstrated my ability to study and perform under new and different circumstances, which can prove to be useful later in life.

What would you say to a student that was unsure about spending a period abroad?

That no matter where you go, there will be other people similar to you and once you find them, you will have some of the best experiences of your life.

What are 3 things to do in Sydney?

  1. Visit the 1000s of beaches in and outside of Sydney.
  2. Go hiking in the mountains outside of the city.
  3. Experience Australian culture by attending an Aussie Rules football match, learning to surf etc.

Please sum up your experience abroad in one sentence.

One of the best experiences of my life!