Samuel - University of Texas at Austin

Bachelor of Engineering(Hons)/Commerce
Semester 1, 2019

Academic experience

I studied Transportation Systems, Properties and Behaviors of Engineering Materials, Introduction to Econometrics, Basketball and Weight Training. Dissimilar to UQ, there were no lectures and tutorials. Instead there are just classes for each course similar to lectures, or to what you would have in High School. This was really enjoyable as it made the learning environment really intimate by providing opportunities to interact with professors and classmates. None of the classes were recorded and attendance is recorded so make sure you don’t skip class!

The online course registration was not as modern as UQ’s, and as a result it was hard to navigate at times. Domestic students have preferential enrolment over international and new students, so make sure that the list of courses you can study at UT is extensive. Additionally, most courses have multiple professors, so make sure that you look up who is teaching your class. You don’t want to end up with the only professor that gives an assignment.

Personal experience

I made a heap of both domestic and international friends on my exchange. This, paired with friends I already knew in America, meant that there was always an opportunity to go away for a weekend trip and check somewhere new out. That being said, Austin and UT was so much fun that most weekends it was hard to leave as there was always something going on.


I lived off-campus in West Campus. It’s the suburb that has all of the university accommodation, is close to shops on Guadeloupe St., and only a 5 minute walk to UT. I lived at Pearl Street Co-op which housed about 120 (50/50 international and domestic) students. It was one of the cheapest places to live as you had to do weekly labor. Rent was around US$3000 for the semester and this included food. I would definitely recommend one of the co-ops, or even sub-leasing from some UT students going on exchange themselves, as they both provide a means to meet heaps of interesting people. I wouldn’t recommend living in the on-campus dorms unless you’re underage. It’s really expensive, most of the student are freshmen, and all the fun stuff is happening in West Campus anyway.


My rent was around US$3000 for the semester for a single room (by myself) and included meals. Public transport around Austin comes free with your UT student ID which is pretty handy. Travelling around the US was relatively cheap with airlines like Frontier, especially if you book long in-advance whenever possible. I would recommend budgeting around AU$12,000 of your own money (or more if you really want to live it up and do lots of travel).


The biggest challenge I faced was probably balancing my academics with my social life. There’s always something going on or someone to distract you, especially when you live with 120 people, so it was important to have a lot of self control.

Professional Development

I think the exchange definitely helped me to develop my communication skills. You’re really thrown into the deep-end by being alone in a foreign country, so it was important to communicate well with professors, international and domestic students, and other people I met over there.


Picking just one highlight is hard as every week there was always something to look forward to. Some of my favourite times included: Spring Break in Mexico, Mardi Gras in New Orleans, road tripping around National Parks, any given night in West Campus or on Sixth Street.

Top tips

Make sure you save up, that way you can do it right and say yes to every opportunity.