Reseberättelser Monash University
I studied one semester in Monash University in Melbourne from July – November 2018. With that out of the way let’s begin. First things first, Australian Winter is real, it might be hot as hell in northern Australia but Melbourne in winter can be quite cold (not to mention rainy). Especially if you pack nearly only summer clothes and shorts. So at least a few warm clothes for the first colder months (the heating isolation in most apartments was abhorrible by our standards so expect a cold apartment temperature in the morning).
As most of you reading this are probably already aware, in Australia you’ll read all the units/courses at the same time to then have an amazingly intense two weeks of multiple exams at the end. Not much to add here except it’s pretty straightforward. If you are used to doing 1-2 assignments per week the only real difference will be the strange feeling of jumping between subjects. Other than that, give it 2-3 weeks and you’ll be used to it. In terms of literature, course literature was for me non-existent, everything was available online and that seemed to be the case for the majority of courses offered. So, while living costs may be albeit more expensive (more on that in a bit) at least you’ll save a solid few hundred dollars on not buying books. Speaking of digital things, most units offers online lectures and recordings, with several courses allow online participation in case you feel like watching the lecture from bed or find yourself missing the train. A small tidbit of information is that Units starting with 1 are year one subjects and so forth. I accidently got stuck with a year on philosophy course that spent a majority of the time discussing how to use references and with the teacher treating students as if we were in kindergarten. The good news is that you are not fixed with your choices if units coming in. You’ll most likely have a selection of units you intend to take and have got pre-approved but in the case that you don’t like the unit for whatever reason, it is possible to (within two weeks of the start) change units. In case it aids anyone else looking for courses here are the course I took and my impressions.
- ATS-3405: Critical philosophy
I cannot recommend this course more. If you are interested in or curious of poststructural critical philosophy this course is amazing. It goes through works ranging from Deleuze and Guattari, Ranciere, Lyotard and more while never making it overbearing. The teacher Gene Flannedy is one of the most passionate, fun and engaged teacher I’ve ever had. The feedback provided is the most extensive I’ve ever seen, with constructive criticism ranging the whole gamut of academic writing.
- ATS-2560: Gender Theory and Society
Excellent course with a meticulously planned reading curriculum. The readings are fantastic and are coupled with great lectures and equally excellent teachers. If you are at all interested in gender theory of feminism, I’d strongly recommend this course.
- ATS-1835: Time mind and self
Hated every second of this course. Admittedly some of it is partly my fault for ending stuck in a first-year philosophy course. The teacher acted like the students were kids with the most obvious of answers getting wide applause and the level of discussion never reaching anything beyond repetition of what was read. The assignments are short and easy, but the readings were painstakingly slow and painful as soon as you discover that any discussion of them will simply revolve around you repeating the right phrase of the article at the seminar.
- ATS-2875: The Moral Psychology of Evil Truly
interesting course with an excellent teacher that although possibly holds the record for the slowest grading process ever makes up for it with incredible feedback and fantastic open and relaxed seminars. The assignments are all relevant and truthfully rather easy as well as the exam. If you are looking for a course that has a good teacher, interesting literature both won’t bombard you with hard assignments or exams this is a great pick. The course itself essentially lives up to its name as it traverses various thoughts and theories of what constitutes evil, how can we define evil etc.
Monash does organize a welcome orientation for incoming exchange students which takes place several days before both the general university wide orientation and earlier than most other Universities. Since several people travelled (me included) with friends who were also going to study in the city although in a different university most arrived the day before and were jetlagged out of minds. If you can I’d advise arriving two days before the orientation starts, it gives time to reduce most of the jetlag as well as figure out the city transports and getting the myki card (the equivalent of a SL card) in advance. Monash orientation begins rather early compared to other Universities with a specific one for incoming students. Now, almost all were jetlagged out of their minds, me included and so the social aspects were a bit on the tired side. Nevertheless, try to find some mates to hang out with, Australians generally pick various subjects than following a strict program plan and it is significantly harder to get to know and make friends in the classroom. Following the orientation week there are several events that are organized for exchange students to get to know each other and while the party/clubbing events were so bad it became entertaining, the bar hopping events and bar nights is worthier of your time. The staff handling the incoming students are extremely friendly and provide a plethora of useful tips and tricks for finding housing and what to keep in mind (too much for me to add here). Lastly, any questions are quickly answered, and support services are plentiful.
There are a lot of tips in terms of accommodations and most of them will be presented during the orientation week if you decide to make your way down-under. However, the main points to be aware of in regard to housing in Australia is: Its rather expensive. Living costs are probably the biggest difference, student accommodations being no exception. Apply as early as you can for student accommodation that you can imagine living in for the duration of your studies and then proceed to search for other apartments or rooms as you arrive. If you know other people going for exchange in Melbourne get together to increase the chances of finding a decent spot. Never sign anything before you’ve seen the apartment itself. In other words, don’t fix your living accommodations before arriving o Australia unless you really trust or know the person, you’re renting it from. Personally, I teamed up with two friends from Uppsala and rented an apartment in the middle of the city. The two-bedroom apartment cost me about 7000 SEK. On the upside the Monash campuses are a bit out of town and living in the city allows for an amazing exploration of its nightlife and various bars all over the place. Even though it was a bit pricey I would definitely have done it again.
Expect prices to be similar to Swedish prices with the exception of housing prices which will unavoidable be a lot higher. There was never an issue of not affording a decent living and student CSN money is definitely sufficient. I opted to not take a part-time job and I managed just fine. Just try to save some up for travelling after the semester as it is without a doubt one of the highlights.
There is a ton of things to do, visit and see in Melbourne alone. The city is amazing and there are always some event or festivity taking place. If you find yourself with a free weekend or more travelling is easy and there are several locations reachable by renting a car and having a jolly good road trip with mates (great Ocean road). A tip is to explore the multitude of interesting secret bars and cafes.
Had an amazing time, 10/10 would do again.
I studied one semester at Monash University, from July to November 2016, and I would definitely say that I had a great time there and around Melbourne. But be prepared the weather in Melbourne is quite cold, windy, rainy and very unpredictable at this time – I was really surprised! The university has several campuses spread over Melbourne, however the two main campuses are located in Caulfield and Clayton.
Units / Exams
I had to choose 4 courses (called units), which were equivalent to 30 ECTS. I chose:
- Brand Management
- Digital Marketing
- Organizational Behavior
- A world of sports.
The structure and examinations vary across all units. For example, two of my units were assessed 100% during the semester and the two others had a final exam. My units often provided online lectures first and then we held tutorials to discuss the topics. There are some units offered that take part 100% online so that no physical attendance is required. Therefore, everyone should be able to find courses which fit their individual needs. While choosing units, students are required to choose between either only undergraduate or postgraduate courses. I chose only undergraduate courses and would say that the level is quite fair, probably a bit easier than in Sweden. But to be honest, no one cares about the grades, since us students from Uppsala university just need to pass the units.
There are plenty of different groups and societies all over the university. Some are topic oriented such as Marketing, Law or Engineering, others are sports oriented as Football, Netball, Tennis etc. But the best part is that those clubs often serve free food on campus, which is especially perfect for short on budget running students who don’t mind to eat the same kind of BBQ sausages several times. Unfortunately, and which differs from the Uppsala study life, there are not too many student parties on campus or in the city. The parties I went to were mainly private organized or at pubs. However, Melbourne is a great place to go out and enjoy nightlife!
Accommodation / Living
When going to Monash university students have to choose, if they want to live on campus, which is only possible at the Clayton campus, or private. I lived on campus at Clayton and my experience is twofold. On the one hand, it is beneficial to stay on campus, since it allows short ways to classes, the campus or the university gym. Further, you meet a lot of new people in the dorms and can become a part of a very nice dorm community. There are also many dorm activities, like free food evenings, cinema, sport competitions or being able to participate in informative events. On the other hand, Clayton is about one hour with public transport far from the city. If you are an outgoing person, want to party a lot or spend much time at the city center, then you need to spend a lot of hours inside those lovely busses, trains or trams. Most of my international friends stayed in the city as well. So, I travelled a lot. However, I don’t regret my decisions to stay on campus, since I really enjoyed the dorm community experience and to participate at so many different activities with them. At the dorm, I had a small single room with a bed, desk, wardrobe and a sink for about 7,000 SEK per month, which is very pricy in my eyes. But the price level in Melbourne or Australia is in general quite high.
Location / Travel
Melbourne is a very entertaining city, with many nice pubs, clubs, culture or street art for those who are interested. The city is very liveable and with the Great Ocean Road, the Grampians National Park or Tasmania close by it also a nice area to travel. I explored those areas within my study and after my semester I travelled for about one month the whole way up to the North to Cairns. Exploring the East Coast of Australia is a must do and probably one of the most beautiful places on this globe!