While the Outward Mobility Team are getting ready for the new academic year, here’s another study abroad experience for you to read about. If you’re thinking about taking part in the team’s exchange programmes this coming year, we hope you’ll find this interview with undergraduate student Ganna Mukha helpful; and if you’re undecided, it’s a great chance to find out more and to help you build a picture of what the experience is actually like. Thanks to Ganna for taking the time to talk about her experience at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australia!
Why did you choose to study abroad?
I have always been interested in trying new things and exploring new experiences, therefore, I saw the study abroad programme as a great opportunity to expand my worldview, challenge myself and discover my hidden talents.
Why did you choose your host university (RMIT) and location (Australia)?
I chose to study in Australia since I wanted to strengthen my use of the English language (I am from the Ukraine). And of course, I was inspired by the fact that Australia was regarded as one of the great travel destinations of the world and one of the most desirable places to live on the planet. Before making my big decision on where to study abroad, I conducted thorough research which showed me that Melbourne had topped the liveability rankings for five consecutive years. In addition, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) was considered as the most global of all Australia’s universities so students were able to make friends from all over the world. Also, I was more than excited to find out that the Entrepreneurship course at the RMIT was designed to best meet my entrepreneurial aspirations and provide a solid foundation to running a successful business.
Can you tell us a little more about the overall exchange experience?
The studying experience at RMIT University in many ways was similar to the study at University of Westminster with regards to the modules’ structures, learning requirements, library services and students’ activities. Thus, I was not overwhelmed and I could easily adopt to new student life in Melbourne. Besides, the university staff was always there to help and support international students, not only by words but also by actions. For instance, they helped me a lot in times of financial hardship which I faced due to unexpected family commitments: I was provided with a weekly travel pass and a supermarket voucher. This help meant a lot to me and showed me that I was not cast adrift in a foreign country. Also, every week, the university’s Student Union organised different activities for students such as a free food event, trips to explore Melbourne and State of Victoria (cheap at half the tour agencies’ price), street markets, free dance classes, workshops, etc.
How did your exchange experience enhance your personal and professional development?
The exciting and highly valuable experience of studying abroad has enabled me to improve my communication and negotiation skills in relation to diverse cultural groups. These skills are vitally important to me as a future entrepreneur. I have learned how to manage diverse workforce and become an effective leader. Besides improving my knowledge in my field of interest and gaining the ability to look at the same things from different perspectives, I have also increased my self-confidence and learned how to apply my existing and new skills into a real-life context to achieve my personal goals.
What advice would you give other students about your host university?
My advice to students willing to study at RMIT is to be open-minded and curious since people in Melbourne are very friendly, open and diverse. So you can learn a lot from them starting from where to find the cheapest accommodation or part-time job and finishing by gaining knowledge in different aspects of life (local history, culture, the university’s academic services, global business relationships, etc.) or making friends to travel with.
What message would you like to pass onto students who are considering taking part in student exchange?
Why study abroad? I could speak about some obvious benefits of this opportunity such as expanding your knowledge, broaden your horizons, gaining new skills and boosting your CV but this experience is just more than that. It is about discovering yourself, finding who you are and what your real aspirations are. It is about making new friends or building your business network. It is all about becoming a self-realised and refined person who finds new ways to impress and improve the world. You cannot do that on your holiday and you cannot wait to do that once you become retired. You might not have this chance at any other point in your life. So why would you waste your chance?
Thank you again to Ganna for sharing her story with us. If you would like to find out more about the Westminster Abroad experience, why not visit our website or read the other blogs in this series? To find out more about Westminster Business School, please click here.
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