Frustrations of an exchange student

Warning: the following is more a 1:00am rant than an actual blog

Let’s just clarify things. This year has NOT been one big holiday – as many of you may believe. I am on student exchange after all. I just simply choose to share my travels, cause let’s be real, you don’t want to see me writing notes and doing assignments. I do, however, feel that I owe you an update on just how the academic part of my year is going.

Being completely honest, it’s been a bit of a mess. There have been a number of issues and slip ups  throughout the year that have all accumulated into making this exchange program a bit of a bloody joke. No one person is to blame and I’m sure that the batches before us haven’t been like this. We’ve just had a run of bad luck I guess (aka lack of communication, lack of organisation, lack of action, lack of everything). There’s been an on-going frustration felt amongst all of us here in Spain on this international studies program. We see our international studies friends on exchange in other countries such as France and Germany and wish our major had the structure that theirs has. For 95% of the year, we’ve had one point of contact with university back in Sydney. One. Now, it’s really quite frustrating when this one contact doesn’t even contact us. I’m sorry, but 1 month reply rates to emails is not good enough. And really, if any of us decided to up and leave university here and travel the world instead, I honestly believe no one at UTS would suspect anything, nor care.

There are twenty-four of us here. Twenty-four students hardly accounted for. Twenty-four students constantly left in the dark. I’m sure I can speak for some when I say that we want to achieve the best that we can with our assignments and maintain our GPAs, but how can we do this if we don’t receive any guidance and feedback as was promised to us? And then we look at our friends in France who get replies within two days and receive pages of feedback. Now from where I stand, they have a significantly higher chance of achieving a higher grade, statistically speaking. Of course I understand it also comes down to the student, but shouldn’t all students be given equal opportunity? Let’s not even get started about subject enrolment at our host universities here.

I think we’re (I’m) all burnt out. We’ve put in the effort. We’ve done the work. We deserve the same amount of effort back. In saying that, this academic year is nearly over and I can’t wait til it ends. I am by no means saying that I am itching to leave and get back to Sydney, but I am saying that I am finished with university for this year – here and UTS. I need a bit of structure back in my life. Just a little. And that is exactly what I’m not getting from this exchange program.

On another (brighter) note, apparently I am now going on a trip to the Canary Islands at the end of the month! When in Europe, right?

p.s. enjoy this (slightly) unrelated photo of my way of procrastinating at my favourite Aussie cafe
p.p.s. sorry for the little rant, although you were warned if I do recall. This is really my only complaint. Other than this, life is pretty fabulous – I’m not ungrateful, I swear.


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