Csenge Dávid: My CEMS exchange in Sydney
Well I think this was the most interesting semester of my life – from many aspects.
Here I found out already during our Block Seminar, that this world belongs not only economically to Asia, but also if I take a look around. I didn’t expect to be surrounded by so many Asian people and authentic Asian restaurants! Moreover, the city is pretty much different from what I have experienced in Europe: skyscrapers in the Central Business District (CBD) but cute terraced house in the other neighbourhoods. The beaches are enormous and the coasts seem to be endless and peaceful, so I loved to go on coastal walks within and outside Sydney as well. The city itself is huge, however I managed to live 10 minutes walking distance from the main campus. But, be aware that even though the main campus is amazing with a very English style feeling of the main building, our CEMS courses are held in the CBD on the 16th and 17th floor of a building with many offices. So the campus also has really business style feeling with a beautiful view, and every time we had a catered event there, amazing food was served!
After a great surf camp, I started my courses with 60 likeminded CEMS exchange students and a few home students (who were also mostly Europeans, not Australians). My courses were all really interactive and demanding, the teaching style was a lot different from what I was used to before. I not only gained knowledge about business from different perspectives, but my soft skills improved a lot. Sometimes I felt like in a training both in skills seminars and normal courses. What I liked as well, is that most of the CEMS Exclusive and MMGT Electives were intensive courses, which means that they take only 5 weeks (1 day per week), while you have a lot to work on but it’s rewarding. Each course is worth 7.5 ECTS, so it is enough to take 3 or 4 courses throughout the whole semester.
You won’t be surprised if I tell that the highlight of my semester was travelling around. After the midterms in September, we had a spring break, which I used for to go on a 10 days East coast road trip with three friends. Here I had the experiences of my life, such as snorkelling on the great barrier reef, bathing on the Whiteheaven beach, sleeping on a sailboat in the middle of the ocean and watching the sunset and sunrise from here, driving a 4WD barefoot on the sandy Fraser Island, etc. Also, I saw many animals in the wild: kangaroos, koalas, whales, dolphins, crocodiles, an enormous huntsmen spider, a dingo and so on. Visiting Melbourne and driving along the Great Ocean Road have also been unforgettable experiences.
Be aware that housing in Sydney is a difficult issue. It is not easy to find accommodation and prices are really high. However, it is not impossible to find a place below 300 AUD/per week/per person even if you want to have your own room. There are many share houses in the city, which is also a good way to get to know other than CEMS people. I used to live with 10 people from all around the world and my flatmates became really good friends of mine.
Food is relatively expensive, but you will be able to have lunch for around 12 AUD in food courts, for example on the first floor of the CBD campus’ building. Services and public transport are not cheap either.
To cover part of your expenses I would suggest you to apply for Campus Mundi and take a 15-20 hour job. It is not impossible at all to work besides your courses.
If you need any help, please don’t hesitate to contact me!