Manon

Manon is originally from France, and came to Australia to study a Masters of Human Resource and Industrial Relations at the University of Sydney. She hasn't looked back.

What degree have you studied in Australia?
Masters of Human Resource and Industrial Relations at the University of Sydney.

What were your 3-5 favourite aspects of your degree?
Some really good tutors
Flexibility of studying and working at the same time
The integration of online resources to the degree (loads of  reading and research material available online, the student intra-net to submit papers electronically and get the course outlines, etc.)

What made you choose this degree at this university?
The reputation of The University of Sydney internationally. I had also studied at UNSW and didn’t like it.

What were you studying in your home country before you came to Australia?
Political Science and Public Policies in France.

Why did you choose to study in Australia?
I decided to live in Australia for the lifestyle – studying was an afterthought.

What was the application process like for choosing to study in Australia?
Very complicated! I had to get all of my documents and academic history translated and a million and one documents and references from people. Most of the subjects I studied in France have no equivalent here, so building an application that would reflect my skills was very hard.

The universities were very vague and unhelpful with what they were expecting and what my chances of being accepted would be. I called them up a few times and was told to submit my application and pay the fee before they could answer any questions. I ended up hiring a company (Francaustralia) to help me put my application together, as I thought this would give me a better chance.

Francaustralia (http://www.francaustralia.com/) were really helpful and I would recommend them to anyone who’s feeling worried about putting a uni application together. They helped me narrow down the selection of degree and the universities available; they did all the translations for my Academic history (including making certified translations and copies) and then submitted the application on my behalf.

This was probably the most important aspect for me as I needed moral support and really appreciated having a someone telling me my chances of being accepted were good.

Francaustralia also help students with their Visa applications, finding accommodation, and organise social events in Australia. I personally didn’t use these features but for someone who isn’t familiar with Australia and doesn’t know anyone, I can imagine they would be a lifesaver.

I also found them really cheap – from memory I only paid $250 for the administrative work.

How did you find it settling in Australia?
Amazing, I clicked with the country right away so everything seemed easy. Compared to France/Europe, everything was a lot easier: finding accommodation, finding a job and balancing out studying and my free time. The University itself was not helpful at all though,  I didn’t meet one friend while studying and I hated all of their social programs.

Regarding my experience with the universities, I have had a few bad experiences with both UNSW and Sydney Uni. I don’t know if I was unlucky, but I did feel I was treated differently because I was an international student.

At UNSW, the choice of units offered to me was really narrow and if a class or tutorial was getting too full, the Uni would always bump out international students out and offer the spot to Australian students instead. This was quite frustrating.

Another aspect which didn’t sit right with me was that UNSW sent us leaflets about “How to live like an Aussie”, but they didn’t explain the most basic things like how the library worked, how to use the intranet, how to get your study books second hand... I would have liked to know about all of these things because as an international student they were not obvious.

What are your plans now that your degree is over?
Find a job, settle down, get a dog.

What advice would you give to anyone hoping to study in Australia?
It is a fabulous country with loads opportunities but it is VERY FAR away, so don’t throw yourself into studies here if you can’t cope with the distance and aren’t an independent  person. Try and develop a rich social life outside of university and network as much as possible. Studying and getting a student visa is easy, it’s planning for the aftermath that’s the most difficult.

What did you want to be when you were a kid?
Part-time hairdresser or part-time gardener.

What’s your dream job?
Event Management in Arts/Culture/Entertainment.

Where’s the best place to eat or have coffee on or off campus?
Bru Café in Bondi, and as for eating, oat cookies at The Goods on Crown Street.