Spending a semester or year abroad and immersing yourself in another culture is a great way to learn, experience life with a different flavour, and make friends from all over the world.
Explore your options
Choosing a program is an important step, as it will determine how long you study overseas and which institutions will be the right fit for you. Whether you’re looking to study overseas for a whole year or simply want to study one subject, we have a program to suit your needs. These include:
- Semester and year-long exchange programs
- Study abroad through a non-partner university
- Inter campus transfer
- Mid-year and end-of-year break programs
- Faculty led study tours
What our students say
Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences
“Amsterdam is just full of canals, it’s so beautiful. There was a guide who told us all about the history of the city and everything as well. It was great.”
James was following in his father’s footsteps, studying property development and evaluation at Curtin. Then he decided to take a semester abroad to experience the world. He was offered a range of universities before settling on Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences.
“The way of teaching is so good over there. They’re so hands-on and there are a lot of contact hours. The teachers would always go above and beyond; they gave us all their phone numbers so we could call them anytime. One time, I had a test on a Friday and I was studying Thursday night and I rang up a teacher and we met up that same night to talk through the material.”
James stayed in the university’s student housing. He says he knows some people who rented privately but he loved the opportunity to interact with the other students, hanging out and drinking in the common room. While on exchange, James used his electives as a chance to learn more about the country and its language.
“I took a unit called Politics and Economics in the Netherlands, but it covered the country’s history as well. I didn’t know much about the Netherlands, really, just what I had heard from friends. That unit really helped me understand more about Dutch culture and where it comes from. The Dutch language unit came in handy as well. It was good to have a basic understanding, just for things like when I went out, I could order a beer.”
James was also part of the International Student Exchange Network. He says it was a social group provided by the university to help international students meet and experience Amsterdam together, through organised events and parties.
“We had a beer bike ride through the city. There was a canal cruise too, which was great. Amsterdam is just full of canals, it’s so beautiful. I was flabbergasted on that cruise. There was a guide who told us all about the history of the city and everything as well. It was great.”
Coming back from his time abroad, James says he has re-evaluated his life. He’s still planning on finishing his course and graduating, but he no longer thinks he will go straight into his father’s world of property development. Instead, he wants to go back to the Netherlands and spend some time working, or possibly doing a masters, before he comes back.
“I met a lovely Dutch girl named Ilsa when I studying in Amsterdam and we started dating. She speaks Dutch, French, German and English perfectly. We met at one of the parties and I found out she was studying law; she’s in her second year now. She showed me around and introduced me to all of her friends. It was lovely to get that kind of experience in the Netherlands.”
Brock University in Canada
“When I went there it was all new, exciting and different, and being an exchange student – especially one from Australia – was something kind of special.”
Maya is studying exercise science at Curtin. She heard about the study abroad program through her roommate and decided to apply during the start of her second year. She originally wanted to go to Switzerland, but when the opportunity to study kinesiology at Brock University popped up, she jumped head-first into that instead.
“My parents are from Germany and, although I was born in Australia and grew up here, we spent a lot of time travelling to Europe as I was growing up. I have a bit of a travel bug from that and when I started studying, student exchange gave me the opportunity to travel while still completing my degree.”
Maya says talking to the staff at the student exchange office, both at Curtin and Brock, helped her a lot with the application process. They recommended which subjects she should look at and gave her a list of previous students’ study plans in the same course to help her decide what units to take while travelling.
“A couple of the units were quite like Curtin, just straightforward lectures and tutorials, but one of the subjects I was studying was from the physical education department. That was quite different. The unit was called developmental games, it was very interactive. My motor behaviour class was good too. You had to be moving to understand how the theory worked so we did a lot of activities.”
Maya had been studying part-time at Curtin before travelling abroad. She says her first year at Curtin was quite isolating, there was never really enough time spent with the other students to make friends. Once she arrived at Brock, however, and started living in student housing, she met a lot more people.
“One of the girls I lived with was in two of my classes, and there was a big group of us that would go out and see the varsity basketball and hockey games. We did everything together. The classes were smaller than at Curtin, so it was a bit more engaging for the tutorials I had. I met more people and it felt more student-focused. One of my lecturers even made the effort at the beginning of semester to learn every student’s name in the class.”
Maya says one of the best parts of her time in Canada was joining the indoor soccer and volleyball teams. It was the middle of winter when she arrived, so it was too cold to exercise outdoors, but joining those sports helped he adjust to life away from her family and kept her active.
“When I went there it was all new, exciting and different, and being an exchange student – especially one from Australia – was something kind of special. I tried to make the most of the opportunities while I was there. I’m not that into basketball but I went to a few games. I was just blown away by the atmosphere at those games. People go crazy for it.”
Maya says leaving Canada at the end of her time studying was actually more difficult than leaving her family and friends in Australia at the beginning. She had grown attached to the people and the university in Canada and it has encouraged her to travel and work overseas once she’s finished her degree.
“Exercise science isn’t a career pathway written in stone, it allows you to create your own career path. Although, because it’s like that it can be very competitive. I’m not too sure exactly which direction I want my career to take yet.”
University of Guelph in Canada and Copenhagen Business School in Denmark
“I had a lot of quality conversations with other students – how did they get to where they are, what are they doing now – it broadened my perspective of what university is. You don’t have to just follow down one path from start to finish.”
Sean’s mother had studied in Canada, so it was on his mind to follow the same path once he reached university. Looking at engineering, and with the help of Curtin’s study abroad staff, Sean spent a semester at the University of Guelph in Canada. One of the unintended consequences of that trip changed his major and sent him down a totally different life path.
“Guelph has a very small town vibe to it but so many people there are university students. There is this huge focus on university and student life; there was always something on. The other thing was classes were pretty full on. Definitely the biggest issue I had was they would use imperial units for measuring, which was weird coming from all metric.”
While Sean loved the student life in Canada, he found himself getting more and more uninterested in engineering. He didn’t realise it at the time, but his experiences were culminating in a huge life decision for him.
“I finished up in Canada and came back, then did another semester of engineering. Then after a particularly hard mid-semester exam I went home and sat down for a good hour. I thought about it and decided to myself that, hey, engineering wasn’t really for me, but I really enjoy commerce. So I made the jump over.”
Looking back on it, Sean thinks it was his time at Guelph that helped him realise what he wanted. Being housed in the student village, talking to people with different majors and different backgrounds, he met a lot of older students who had changed degrees or taken time off university to decide what they really wanted to do.
“I think I might have just stuck with my previous degree if I hadn’t gone. Over here, a lot of my friends and I graduated high school and went into university straight away. There was always this plan of a certain pathway at the end of three or four years, so a lot of my friends have started working at the age of 21. You know, full time work right away.”
The next year, Sean went on to do an international placement again, this time at Copenhagen Business School in Denmark. It was a completely different experience from before, and one Sean found himself passionately embracing.
“At Copenhagen I found I had settled into my degree a lot more. I had a concrete idea of what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go with my degree. I could target and narrow down the things I did and the events I attended.
“One of the events I really enjoyed attending was called Digital Disruption in Nordic Banking. It’s a bit of a mouthful, but it was talking about how start up technology causes problems for traditional banking and finance. That was really interesting because it had guest talks from Essential – the consulting firm – as well as guest lecturers from other universities around the area as well.”
Now back at Curtin and finishing his commerce degree, Sean says his time abroad changed the way he thinks about study and helped him realise it is okay not to be entirely sure what you want to do straight away.
“Don’t worry about rushing, there’s plenty of time. What’s really important is finding something that you enjoy. I had a lot of quality conversations with other students – how did they get to where they are, what are they doing now – it broadened my perspective of what university is. You don’t have to just follow down one path from start to finish.”