Timothy - Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Bachelor of Commerce
Semester 1, 2018
Best experience of my life.

Academic experience

While studying abroad I studied Corporate Finance, Investment Analysis, American Government and American Foreign Policy. I found that the academic system was quite different to that of UQ. The classes were all held in more of a tutorial form rather than as a lecture. These classes were also much smaller than classes at UQ. The main challenge that I faced was subject enrolment. Rutgers allocated the classes for exchange students last, meaning that we had very little choice of classes that we could take and many classes I had selected were already full. This meant that I had to select courses that I would not be able to get credit for under my degree. However, since returning to UQ I have modified my degree to allow me to claim credit for some of these subjects. 

After arriving at the uni, I had an individual meeting with a study abroad course advisor to go through my subject selections and to select replacement courses to cover for courses that were already full. Having the advisor go through this process with me was very helpful as it would have been very confusing to do alone. The process for paying any fees and paying for the on campus accommodation was quite difficult at first, however after learning their different system it was relatively straight forward.

Personal experience

The experience of going on exchange is something that I am so glad to have taken. I have returned home with friends from all over the world and with relationships that will hopefully last a lifetime. Traveling around the US once the semester had ended was easily the best thing I've ever done, and it was amazing to experience the different array of places, from New York to LA. The location of the Uni made it amazingly easy to access most of North America. This allowed me to explore not only the US, but Canada and Mexico as well.

The best part of the exchange program was that it gave me the opportunity to go outside of my comfort zone.

Accommodation

I lived on campus during my exchange. I found this to be a surprisingly fun experience. I found that it made uni life very convenient as you were already on campus and travel costs were minimal. Along with this, it was also really fun to be living in the same building as all of my friends. Everyone was very welcoming in the dorm, and my roommate became a close friend throughout the exchange.

The university allocated all of the exchange students to the one building. This made it very easy to maintain friendships with the other exchange students, as well as making it easy for us to organize and plan all the travel we wanted to do.

Costs

It cost about $4000 for the semester's accommodation, $2500 for the meal plan for the semester (there were different options that were cheaper or more expensive), transport costs were minimal around campus as the uni offered free bus services between the different parts of campus. 

Transport into New York City from the Uni cost $11 on the bus and $14 on the train, and the trip was 40 minutes to an hour for both forms of transport. This made New York very accessible. Living expenses and entertainment were much cheaper than in Australia. 

Travel costs varied depending on how you wanted to travel. Flights were similar prices to Australia, however, bus services such as Greyhound meant that you could travel from NYC to Boston or Washington DC for around $20. Accommodation in hotels could be a little expensive depending on the locations, but hostels were cheap when traveling with a small group or alone. Airbnbs were very good when traveling with a larger group. 

The budget needed really depends on the amount of travel undertaken. For me personally, the semester and the travel cost around $20,000.

Professional Development

This exchange really improved my ability to communicate with people who I had never met, didn't speak the same language or people that I didn't have much in common with. It also provided me with an increased level of independence.

Highlight

The highlight of the trip would either be spending Australia Day in an Australian Bar in NYC with all of the other Australian exchange students, or sitting above the Hollywood sign looking out at LA with two of my close friends from the exchange.

Top tips

Book travel early. Don't leave the plans you make while you're over there until the last minute. Travel costs became quite expensive when we made plans at the last minute. Also, do quite a bit of research. The first page you find for flights and accommodation is never the cheapest.