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Global Exchange: Similar but different

Wednesday, 16 March 2022

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Olivia says she had an experience that positively impacted her studies and opened her eyes to travel possibilities after graduation.

Otago Global Student Exchange is one of the many exciting opportunities students can take up during their studies. It creates an opportunity to travel, gain another perspective in a chosen industry and meet new people.

Last year looked a little different for students wanting to take part in the programme. With international travel restrictions in place due to COVID-19, the adventure continued with modifications to keep students safe. Instead of the usual globe-trotting, students had the choice of Melbourne or Perth – which presented useful insight students may not have otherwise gained.

Law and Arts graduate Olivia Salmon chose to take up the exchange at University of Melbourne.

“I loved it. Australia wasn’t originally my chosen location but I did like how similar Australia was, it’s quite different and a bigger city but not as much of a culture shock. It was easy to settle in, especially during a lockdown.”

When Olivia arrived in Melbourne, the city quickly went into a lockdown to prevent spread of COVID-19. Despite the challenges this presented, Olivia says she had an experience that positively impacted her studies and opened her eyes to travel possibilities after graduation.

“Obviously the beginning wasn’t the most ideal as I arrived and had three days of freedom and then we went into lockdown. It was still good to be somewhere different. I could still explore and Melbourne is such a cool city.

“I have friends who have recently moved to Melbourne for jobs. They love it over there and it’s quite appealing for grads. Australia can open a lot of doors so it was a good place to see, to know if it could suit me career-wise.

“I would 100% recommend other students go on the exchange. I’m so glad that I went. Even while being in lockdown I still had a good time. I got to meet lots of people and there was an exchange club at the Uni too. We went to events such as a ball, we went sailing and did other outdoor events together.”

International Student Services Exchange Adviser Celia Corteletti says it’s looking likely the exchange to go ahead from semester two 2022.

“We are so excited to see that the travel warning is no longer on the SafeTravel website. Applications for semester 1 2023 exchange will be processed from 1 June, and we look forward to receiving a good number of applications.”

The University has exchange agreements with more than 100 institutions worldwide. Students pay standard tuition fees to Otago and receive credits towards their qualification. A number of scholarships and awards are also available.