Outgoing: Mathis at Macquarie University, Australia
Mathis Gendron is completing a year abroad at Macquarie University in Sydney as part of an undergraduate exchange program in Computer Science.
Why did you choose to carry out a mobility experience?
I enrolled in the undergraduate exchange program of computer science three years ago. This selective program offers a study-abroad experience that I was sure would help my future study plans. On a more personal level, I wanted to set myself a challenge and see how I would manage studying and living on my own, far away from my family, for a long period of time. These are the main reasons that I set off to complete my academic year of 2019/2020 at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia.
Why did you choose Macquarie University?
My initial plan when enrolling in the exchange program was to spend a year studying in Japan. However, after some setbacks, my choice went towards Australia as a preferable alternative destination, especially as an English-speaking country.
I chose Macquarie University over the University of Melbourne mainly because of class offerings. Since arriving in Australia, I have visited both cities and am doubly happy with choosing Macquarie University, as I much prefer the city of Sydney to Melbourne.
What have you learned so far from this international experience?
It is a very interesting experience being able to witness the teaching practices of a university on the other side of the world. Students at Macquarie University seem to have a lot of freedom when it comes to managing their studies. In the case of exchange students, we are able to choose our units, and create our timetables ourselves by choosing from the available classes. There are also numerous lectures online, which means face-to-face teaching is not always necessary.
We have about half as many class hours in a week as at the University of Bordeaux but the assignments and projects keep us busy! The main drawback of this system is that class attendance is a lot lower than at Bordeaux. However, this also means that those in class receive more attention from the lecturers and the class rooms are quieter.
What is your favorite memory so far?
My favorite memory is when I first saw the Blue Mountains from the Elysian Rock lookout in Leura. The view is beyond breathtaking! Otherwise, on a day to day basis, I enjoy living in a big and cosmopolitan city with a lot of inhabitants from Asia and other parts of Oceania.
The one piece of advice I could give to students thinking about an international experience is to simply not stress too much over the mobility. Even though it might imply going far from home, they should be confident in the fact that in the end, they’ll be able to manage. Furthermore, there are always people and institutions available to help, so students are never alone when facing challenges.