As part of Study Australia's #InThisTogether campaign, we're talking to international students to get their perspectives on study and life in Australia, and what their journey has been (before, during and post-COVID19).
My name is Elena. I'm 21 years old, I'm from Germany, and I currently study at the International College of Management in Sydney. I'm studying International Hospitality Management, but I'm actually doing a dual degree, which means that at the end of the studies I'll receive one degree in Germany and one degree in Australia. So it's kind of a combined study program.
My time in Australia has certainly had its unforeseen challenges - I arrived in September 2019, so we had the bushfires, the floods, and now the virus. However, overall it was a really good experience for me. I believe that facing and navigating challenges really develops your personality.
"I believe that facing and navigating challenges really develops your personality."
When you study in another country, especially for European students, because we're very far from home (about 17,000 kilometres!) you discover a lot about yourself. You can't just take a flight for two hours and see your family anytime. You have to manage on your own. This is a real life experience for me - I have my friends here, I study here, I had a job and everything. So it's different from just 'travelling' to a country - you're living and experiencing a country, when you study there.
Improving English and other skills
Despite how hard it can be, I would recommend it to everyone to do this. Australia is a really great country. You have a lot of opportunities. First of all, the opportunity to work and gain experience for your future. Also, travelling is a unique experience, especially for us Europeans, because you have such an incredible natural landscape.
Elena with some other students at a Studiosity meetup in January 2020
Getting to know a different university or college system is beneficial as well, as you learn to be more flexible and able to adapt to different situations and standards.
Because I study hospitality management, it doesn't matter where I'll work in future, I will always need good English skills. So developing my spoken and written skills was particularly important for me. Early on in my time here I had difficulty sometimes when writing reports in English, or when preparing presentations.
More confidence, with free study support
Some of my friends told me about Studiosity, because ICMS has a partnership and we can use it for free. When I had to hand in my first assignments, I submitted them first through Studiosity for feedback, and I was quite happy with it, I found it to be a big help for me. The feedback from Studiosity helps me to be more confident, especially regarding my reports, because I never know whether what I'm writing is good or going in the right direction. So using Studiosity just makes me feel a bit more secure and confident for handing in my reports.
When the lockdown started, our university reacted quickly in terms of moving the classes online. And I have to say, the format of the online classes actually worked really well, so that that was totally fine. I had lots of assignments to do this term, so it was great knowing that we would have 24/7 online support with our writing as well, since I don't always have time to ask my lecturer a question or about my assignments, especially when it comes to smaller details. So using Studiosity I'm able to get more feedback and I can make sure that when I hand in my reports, that they're really good.
"I never know whether what I'm writing is good or going in the right direction. So using Studiosity just makes me feel a bit more secure and confident for handing in my reports."
The lecturers at ICMS were really understanding during that period too. If you needed a bit more time or anything - since a lot of people had to leave the country or move out out of our university building and stuff like that. It was really tough for a few weeks for us. The hotel I worked at closed, so I did not get any shifts anymore.
Catching up over Zoom
Learning through great management
In hotels, the Manager is one of the most important people. They know everyone and everything that's going on - my Manager talked to me personally at the time and offered me help, so I knew that if I needed something, I could always write an email or go there. That made an otherwise difficult time much easier, and less stressful. The regular communication was great, because we always knew what was going on or could talk to our department managers and they were updating us about the situation, that was really helpful for me.
Ultimately, everyone I've encountered in Australia has helped to make this experience (despite all of the expected and unexpected bumps in the road!) really valuable for me, academically, professionally and personally. It has not always been easy, but it depends on how you manage it. You can either try to be positive or you can be sad all the time - it really depends on you.
Thank you so much again Elena, and from everyone at Studiosity we wish you the very best for the rest of your time in Australia (we hope you get some more travelling in!) and in your future.