I’m studying industrial engineering as a master’s at the TU Braunschweig and already organized a semester abroad with MicroEDU as part of my bachelor’s degree. Since I already had a great time back then (at UC Santa Barbara), I decided to do a semester abroad as well as part of my master’s degree. As there is no semester abroad in my course of study, I started looking for universities as a free mover and ultimately decided to go to Bond University on the Gold Coast in Australia. The university is located about an hour south of Brisbane, in about 10 minutes you are in the next larger city, Surfers Paradise.
Unlike most universities in Australia, the year at Bond University is divided into 3 semesters. These start in January, May and September and last 14 weeks. It is therefore possible to do your Bachelor in just 2 years. Since I was still writing exams at my home university in Germany until August, the start of my studies in September came in very handy.
With the preparations for the semester abroad I have about nine months launched before the semester begins (I had there already opted for the university and even the TOEFL test stored). You should allow some time to gather all the necessary documents and to apply for the visa. The latter in particular turned out to be very easy for Australia, you fill out an online application and receive the visa confirmation by email a few hours later.
The application documents should then be sent to the university about 6 months before the start of the semester, the acceptance came relatively quickly. At the end of August we finally went to Australia, the semester started a few days later with Orientation Week.
The university itself
Bond is a rather small, private university and, unlike many other universities, has a very high proportion of international students. I myself took two courses there from the field of marketing and one course from the field of human resources. All three courses were interesting and will be credited towards my studies at home. Converted, the courses count 7.5 ECTS, there are courses at both Bachelor and Master level. There were never more than 20 students in my courses, the lecturers always knew you by name. You had a very good relationship with both other students and the lecturers.
Unlike in Germany, at Bond Uni, a grade is not only determined by the final exam, but also by the course achievements during the entire semester. The final then usually only counts to around 30%. On the one hand, that’s pretty good, because not everything depends on an exam. On the other hand, there was really a lot to do, in my opinion a bit too much for a semester abroad.
The campus of Bond University has a lot to offer, the equipment of the university was really good. There were lots of workstations, both group and individual workstations, which were equipped with PCs, Macs and monitors (and in some cases even with PlayStations and Xboxes). There is also a travel agency on campus and a bar that was used for most of the university parties. Access to the university’s sports complex, which was recently completely rebuilt, was included in the tuition fees. In addition to a fitness studio and various sports halls, there are tennis courts, squash courts, volleyball fields, rugby fields, a 50m pool and other sports facilities. Students are strongly encouraged to join a sports club. You don’t need any great previous knowledge, you can try out many sports.
At Bond Uni there is either the option of living on campus or off campus. I would rather advise against the former; the on-campus accommodation is more for younger students. Usually you share a room there, you don’t have your own kitchen and at the beginning of the semester you pay the so-called “Meal Plan”, which covers meals on campus.
Alternatively, you can look for accommodation in one of the many apartment complexes away from the campus. Popular are the Varsity Shores, the Reserve, the Retreat and the Cape. All are within walking distance of the university, you should try to get a place there as early as possible. I myself lived in the Varsity Shores and shared a house there with a Chinese woman and a Malaysian. The houses are referred to online as villas – don’t be misled by that, it has nothing to do with a villa.
The size and equipment of the houses was sufficient, there were two pools, a small fitness studio and a sauna on the premises. Unfortunately, almost all foreign students have had bad experiences with the management of the facility. Above all at the end of the semester, deficiencies such as defective air conditioning systems were no longer remedied, the management clearly had the attitude that the tenants “will be gone soon anyway”. For one semester I would recommend the Varsity Shores, the price-performance ratio was right. However, those who study longer at Bond should look for other accommodation. Unfortunately, the Varsity Shores did not give the full bail back for almost anyone; money was withheld for dubious purposes; For example, I was billed for a carpet cleaning, although there is no carpet in the apartment. Management no longer replies to emails, the money will probably be gone. Measured against the total costs of the semester abroad, that doesn’t matter – but it shows what a proverbial rip-off is being carried out there. So be careful!
It was my first time in Australia, the country offers a lot of opportunities for trips and excursions. Since I flew home pretty quickly after the end of the semester, I made most of the trips during the semester on the weekends (mostly long weekends). The Gold Coast has its own airport, from which you can reach most destinations in Australia. Alternatively, Brisbane Airport is just an hour’s drive away.
- Australia is a major country in Oceania continent. For information about Oceania, please visit naturegnosis.
I definitely recommend trips to the Outback, the Whitsunday Islands, the Great Barrier Reef (Cairns), Fraser Island and Sydney. There are also many excursion destinations in the immediate vicinity of the Gold Coast, such as Byron Bay, Springbrook National Park or various wildlife sanctuaries.
The tuition fees at Bond University in particular are rather high compared to other universities. Also the life in Australia is more expensive than in Germany. I don’t want to name a sum that is comfortable to live with – that depends on everyone. Even if it’s expensive, it’s definitely worth the money. The Bond is a great university with good reputation and Australia offers an amazing number of options.
I had a great time at Bond University and can recommend Bond to anyone looking for a suitable university abroad. Even if the workload should not be underestimated, studying there is worthwhile. Australia offers countless opportunities for travel, and studying there is a good chance to get to know both a university and the country. I recommend the last semester of the year (semester 3) for a semester abroad. On the one hand, most international students are there at this time, and on the other hand, it is spring or summer in Australia at this time, and the weather is better than in the other semesters.