Wed 10 May 2006
I am Jackie, a Junior Psychology major currently studying at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. The purpose of this blog is to inform students of the academic and cultural life in Australia. Please feel free to post any questions! I am really enjoying my experience, and I am more than willing to answer any questions (academic, social, cultural, etc.).
At uni I am taking Psychotherapies and Counseling, the Psychology of Human Communication, Anthropology, Aboriginal People: Contested Realities, and Marine Environment. All of my classes have over 100 students in lectures. There are about 15 students in each of my tutorial groups (both psych classes and the anthro class). During the large lectures you listen to the professor talk then during the tutorials you discuss each week’s topic with your tute leader. The small tute groups are similar to 400 level psychology classes. The progress of the tute is guided by the leader but driven by student participation. The tute leader brings up a topic then it is up to the group to develop that topic through debate and discussion. The work load is very independent. You will not be evaluated on how much reading or effort you put into a class until test day. The reading and outside work load is not as much as Dickinson, and, depending on the class, outside reading may not be included on the test at all. The professor outlines expectations and requirements on the first day of class, just like Dickinson.
A lot of students commute to Uni. During the day the academic area (center of campus, then surrounded by residential colleges) is PACKED. There are numerous facilities around the academic area: cafes, ice cream, pizza, movie theater, sushi bar, candy shop, hair dresser. On some weekdays there are even craft/vendor markets right on campus (like the jewelry table downstairs in the HUB but with many many many more options). A lot of students just relax in the middle of the academic quad, have a bit of lunch, play Frisbee, or just hang out. The facilities on campus are nice but they usually close by 5 and campus becomes dead. All the commuters leave and everybody else goes back to their residential college. Another thing to talk to global ed about is the availability of the resources next year. I know a law was passed that limited funding for these facilities and they might not be available next year. That shouldn’t deter you from being interested in UQ, believe me there are plenty of other places close to campus – or easily accessible – to get the same things offered right by the academic building. I just don’t want to mislead anyone!
Life in the colleges was a bigger adjustment than the academic changes. I do not particularly care for the college life, but that’s just me. School pride comes from your college – not from being a UQ student. The sporting competitions take place among the different colleges and your social activities relate to your college. If you go during Dickinson spring semester you will be at UQ for their first semester. First semester involves O week (orientation week). I highly recommend participating in order to meet people. All the “freshers” (first years, this includes Americans) are woken up by their floor leader (you are up anyway because you aren’t used to the time difference yet) to do some silly activity like running around college with a sombrero on – or something like that. Each college differs in their O week activities and social activities for the semester. There is ALWAYS something to do! A few social events take place at the colleges, but usually the college will get a bus together or inform everyone via dorm phone of something to do. Brisbane, Toowong, and St.Lucia are very close to campus. Brisbane and Toowong require public transportation. The public transportation system is sooo easy to use. They have an integrated system so the one ticket you buy works on bus, train, and ferry.
OK I just wanted to share some basic info, and I ended up writing all of that! In the next few weeks I will write more specifically about the classes (tailored to Psych majors) and the Dickinson program (envied by all other Americans here, and I am not just saying that )