Student profile

Jimi Ashford

"I completed my exchange semester at Swinburne University of Technology in the Melbourne suburb of Hawthorn which is a short distance east of the city centre. I stayed on campus in a University-owned apartment with three Australian students who were all first years."

Study abroad location

Melbourne, Australia

The style of teaching in Australia is similar to that at Surrey with lectures being supplemented with a tutorial each week. I did however find that there’s more of an emphasis on group work and team presentations than in my first year, which was great for improving my confidence when public speaking as well as developing my team working skills.

However most of the benefits of an exchange semester are less to do with the academic side of things and are instead more social and cultural. I have done so many things over the past months that would never have been possible without this opportunity. Experiences include spending the AFL grand final weekend in a holiday cabin in the Australian country with my flatmate and his friends where we did some deer hunting and off road driving; also snowboarding at Mount Hotham, an activity that I never knew was possible in this notoriously hot country.

Despite England and Australia being similar culturally, I enjoyed witnessing first-hand the differences between the two. This was apparent not only when going to bars and experiencing the nightlife and going to things like comedy shows, but also in day to day events like watching the news and interacting with others.

Studying abroad lends itself seamlessly to the possibility of travelling after exams as there’s a lot of time between the conclusion of the semester and starting up again at Surrey. This was the most enjoyable part of my exchange and it’s something I would recommend anyone on the exchange programme to do. In total we visited seven destinations within Australia as well as Fiji and campervanning in New Zealand.

These travels, as well as the semester at Swinburne, have no doubt developed me as an individual. I have found that my communication and time management skills as well as my ability to act independently have improved immensely. Thus, I would strongly recommend the exchange programme to all those eligible and am very grateful for being accepted onto the programme. 

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