Studying Down Under

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Studying Down Under

By: Monica Hartanto | SFU Communication Student
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As with most students, I had the desire to travel to far away places. However, realizing that I was close to being done my Communication degree, I was anxious to finish and didn’t want to take the time off. After weighing my options I found the perfect solution - going on an academic exchange.

Not only would this opportunity allow me to travel to a new country, it would also allow me to take classes that would count towards my degree. Furthermore, the university I chose to attend has a great Communication program that offers a variety of courses that SFU does not.

After an easy application process and a couple of months anxiously waiting for a response, I was thrilled to find out that I got accepted to Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.

When classes started, I felt like I was starting university all over again. It was exciting to go to a new school in a new country. I took four upper division courses - three Communication and one Education class. The Communication classes that I took there - Advertising Design, Managerial Communication, and Popular Culture and Contemporary Communication – were some of the best classes that I have ever taken.

Each of the Communication courses that I took at Monash were valuable to me and different than those I have taken at SFU. The Popular Culture and the Managerial Communication classes were almost identical in the structure and teaching style of classes taught at SFU. However, it was interesting to see the different views people had because of the different backgrounds that they came from.

The Advertising Design class, on the other hand, was unlike any Communication class that I have taken. The class was structured as a four hour studio class with about ten students in total. The instructor didn’t teach us any theory but instead gave us real advertising briefs to work on. In most cases we had the opportunity to actually submit our work to the companies who created the briefs. The other students who took the class with me were absolutely amazing designers and it was extremely valuable to learn from them.

Although school was the major purpose of my travel to Australia, there were many other perks of being there. I got the opportunity of having the university experience that I never had at SFU because I got to live on campus. This was probably one of the best parts of the exchange, because I made so many friends in such a short period of time and had the opportunity to get involved in social activities that were hosted by the halls of residence.

In addition, during the weekends, breaks and after my exchange, I got to travel to other parts of Australia and to South East Asia with the new friends that I made.

Overall, my exchange experience was probably one of the best things that I have done during my academic career. Not only did I get to take classes at a different university, I got to live in a beautiful city for five months and do some traveling at the same time. I strongly recommend doing an academic exchange because it will probably be one of the best experiences that you will have.

This article was originally published in Communiqué, the SFU Communications Co-op newsletter. Visit the Communiqué website.

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Posted on March 07, 2011