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My life as a student in Sydney: Claire, in her 3rd year of double degree in Tours

17,000 kilometres: this is the distance that separates the University of Tours from that of Sydney, where Claire, a third-year student in law and languages, has settled for a semester.

It was first the desire to practice English that motivated Claire, 21, student in law and languages ​​at the University of Tours (37), to move to Australia. The young woman then targeted the University of Sydney which is in the top 15 law schools in the world. “The courses offered were decisive in my choice, in particular the law of war, because I plan to integrate the master’s degree in criminal and international law on my return.”
To win her entry ticket to the country of kangaroos, Claire first prepared, in France, a file consisting of a cover letter and her notes. “I was then admitted to take an oral in front of a jury, still at my university. And in the end, the allocation of places was based on the TOEFL score [Test Of English as a Foreign Language].” Demanding on the level in English, the University of Sydney requires a score of at least 90 out of 120. Fortunately, Claire had obtained 91.

More than 50 nationalities in the city U

By surfing on Gumtree, the equivalent of Boncoin in Australia, Claire quickly realized the high price of housing in Sydney. “For a shared room, it takes between 160 and 200 $AU [voir taux de change dans l’encadré] per week.” So she opted for a place in a university residence. “I have a bedroom, and I share the bathroom with the students upstairs. There’s a dining room where everyone comes to eat, and several other common rooms.” All for AU$10,000 per semester, full board.

“We are only two French women: the immersion is total”

In his residence, a quarter of the students are Australian. For the rest, 52 nationalities are represented. “We are only two French women; the immersion is total.”

Classes where you give your opinion

Claire was surprised by the informal relationship between students and teachers. “They call each other by their first name and the classes are very open to discussion.” Sometimes a little too much… “From the beginning of the semester, we are invited to give our opinion when we do not yet have sufficient knowledge of the subject to criticize objectively.” The advantage of this relaxation leads to the listening and the availability of the teachers. “After the partials, I had the opportunity to meet them all for an hour.”

Claire only has 16 hours of lessons per week, but this seemingly lighter pace is compensated by the many preparatory readings. “200 to 250 pages of articles per week to consult”, she explains. This does not prevent him from enjoying student life. “On campus, there is always something going on: concerts, plays, expeditions… And Australians have a very positive mindset, which is nice.”

The ferry, favorite transport

To date, Claire has essentially remained in Sydney. “The distances to be covered are enormous and the nearest town, Melbourne, is 800 km away.” Above all, she has plenty to take care of on the spot! “I mostly walk on foot.. Several neighborhoods around the university are pleasant, such as Glebe and Newtown. And on weekends, the easiest way to get to the beaches is by ferry.”

His budget for outings does not exceed AU$100 per month. But tanning is not practicable all the time: “In winter, it averages 15 degrees in Sydney, unlike northern Australia where the weather is always fine.” And the seasons are reversed compared to France. “This year, I will have known three winters, two summers but no spring”, smiles the Touraine student who has just returned to France.

Before leaving…
Register with Social Security, at the same time as you submit your application to the university. Cost: $350. It is advisable to take out additional international health insurance in France, in particular a guarantee for repatriation. Check with your health insurance fund.
Apply for your visa online, once the Australian university has provided you with your matriculation certificate. The student visa costs AU$500 and lasts for the duration of the studies, plus one month. Shipping is fast.
www.immi.gov.au

On the spot…
Budget
AU$1 = €0.65 (August 2015).

Return flight
Count between €1,000 and €1,200. At least twenty-two hours of flight separate Paris from Sydney. Off-stop! And don’t forget to take into account the time difference between France and Australia: eight hours in summer and ten hours in winter.

Lodging
Rents are very high in Sydney. For a shared room in a flatshare, the weekly rate easily reaches AU$200. It is also possible to have a single room in a university residence with a full board formula.

Transportation
Boat, bus, metro… Public transport is well designed in Sydney. The rechargeable Opal Card allows you to use them all. A half-price student rate is offered to young people on a university exchange. Beyond AU$30 per week, the card is no longer debited.

Useful sites
www.gumtree.com.au: a classifieds site, which is the equivalent of Boncoin in France.
www.australia-australie.com: the access portal where you will have all the information on the Working Holiday Visa.

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