Dessier - Technical University of Munich

B Engineering (Honours) / M Engineering
Semester 2, 2022
The academics were all involved in cutting-edge research, such as nuclear fusion reactors, and many of these research fields are unique to Europe.

Motivation

I've wanted to live in Germany long before I started university or knew what I wanted to study. Due to my family history and previous visits German language and culture have always attracted me. From a educational perspective TUM is highly regarded in the field of aerospace engineering, so I knew there would be plenty of unique and valuable learning opportunities.

Personal Development

In all I spent 10 months overseas including 6 months on exchange so the experiences have bountiful. I couldn't count the amount of people I've met and friends I've made. Being on exchange was my first time living away from home so that in and of itself was full of valuable lessons. Travelling around Europe is always an amazing experience but doing it for such a long time and at this age, it was an unforgettable couple of months. It's even better to travel when you can speak the language so I was always practicing some other language.

Academic Development

Going into this exchange I was aware that TUM and most European universities are completely different in a lot of aspects. Learning methods, learning resources, exams, study materials, past exams. The complete lack of assignments, quizzes, mid-sem exams and contact sessions means students must rely entirely on a final exam. The exams are very short and are made so it is not possible to finish. Past exams are scarce and usually without solutions. Tutorial sessions are simply worksheets, no interactive learning exercise that UQ students are fortunate to have. This is a dramatic change for someone used to the comforts of UQ. I didn't like their system but I had to adapt. My results were not nearly as good as my results have been in the past but that is the challenge. This has made me much more appreciative of what we have at UQ because while their system forces students to be much more independent I have retained very little from those courses. The systems at UQ provide a better learning experience and at the end of the day students are here to learn not just to get a degree. The best aspect of TUM was the breadth of courses available. Due to a much larger aerospace and more broadly engineering industry they are able to offer a wide range of courses that cover all kinds of niche areas within engineering. For example, I believe there are about a dozen propulsion related courses.

Professional Development

I think having studied overseas, adapting to a completely new education system are attractive in regards to employability. It has given me a global perspective on not only my studies but the industry in general. I know what students are going through on the other side of the world and what resources and challenges they have. Working in Europe as an engineer has always been in my sights so now I am in a much better position to do that in the future.

Costs

I kept an excel document for all my transactions during my exchange. Overall expenditure was $16804.76 not including flights to Europe.

  • Groceries $1840.6
  • Eating out $952.35
  • Bills $5007.12
  • Events $2267.49
  • Transport $330.98
  • Expenditures $2903.14
  • Travel $2152.65
  • Other $125.14.

I could write a long document of financial tips regarding exchange so ill note the most important ones. This is the experience of a lifetime so don't pass up opportunities if you can afford it. to achieve this:

  •  Delay moving out from home prior to leaving if possible.
  •  Learn to cook because most European cities are expensive.
  • Keep track of expenses in an excel or app.
  • Sign up for a travel card likewise or revolut.
  • Avoid making expensive purchases for your room like nice seating, fancy lighting or new cookware. Buy what you can find used. Everyone ends up leaving things behind that they couldn't sell or find a new owner for.
  • Hope that you are given student accommodation because the public market at least in Munich would have been 3x as expensive.
  • If necessary be frugal in the months leading up to exchange. A couple extra thousand dollars while on exchange is worth sacrificing some eating out and drinking in the lead up to your trip.

Funding

I received: $7k from the OS-HELP loan. $2k from UQ $3k from a religious grant + a little more from family. I mentally attributed that to the expected cost of accommodation and bills so that took most of the burden off my shoulders. I was able to travel and go snowboarding, to events and parties without missing out due to financial concerns. I wouldn't have been able to have the same experience without the funding. Without the funding I would not have been able to travel very much before/after my exchange so I am very grateful.

Accommodation

I believe the TUM representative gave us a quick rundown of the housing situation. Once everything is approved on the UQ side and we started applying at TUM there was an option to express interest in housing. I believe they have a certain amount of housing which they prioritise exchange students but I know many that were not as fortunate.

Highlight

Snowboarding in Austria every other weekend. Hiking in Bavaria in Autumn. Oktoberfest. Waking up to snow all over the city over December/January. Weekend trips to Prague or Napoli. Meeting likeminded people from all over the world.

Advice/Top Tips

This takes a lot of planning, time and money. Be prepared to spend hours and hours on host university websites as well as UQ, sending emails, making excel sheets, searching for flights and visas, it all adds up. It is the best experience I have ever had so it's all worth it. If you've never travelled before even better, you won’t regret it.