Getting to spend a full year in Brisbane is so far the greatest experience of my life. Where a one-semester exchange will only allow you to get familiar with a city and its people, the Worldrep program gives you a much fuller experience. Furthermore it allows you to explore the magnificent country and its neighbours.
Rainforests, coral reefs with all the world’s colours, beautiful islands and funny animals are just a drive away. Make sure to buy a car!
You will have to study from time to time as well. I chose to do so at the Nathan campus, located a bit south of central Brisbane. My courses were a mix between hands-on journalism and hard-core academia with sociology students doing their Honours. These were very bright, young people and class was packed with interesting discussions. I can’t point straight to how this made me a better journalist but it definitely made me a better and more interesting person.
The journalism classes were not the most challenging but it was very interesting to learn about Australian media and how the population feels about it (hint: not impressed). At times me at my fellow Danish student felt a bit like circus animals being observed and made explain how the media landscape looks like in our part of the world. I personally enjoyed this.
As it should be with university, what you give is what you get. Depending on your engagement and enthusiasm it can be an easy or a very giving experience. We spend the main part of our second semester writing our Honours thesis. This is a big project, either a purely academic thesis or a journalism project with an exegesis.
Brisbane has two universities apart from Griffith called UQ and QUT. Especially at UQ they have a very active student community and are good at taking care of their internationals. I ended up concentrating a lot of my social time here and with Australians instead of at Griffith. This might have been a coincidence but it goes to show that there is plenty of places to have fun and make friends.
We were lucky to get the chance to go visit our fellow Worldrep-students in Tasmania. It was a fantastic trip and a beautiful experience. And so, I’ll end by repeating my first recommendation: get a car!