Joe Gettings, BSc Geography student at the University of Leeds

Joe Gettings

Why did you want to study abroad?

I enjoy travel and was eager to experience life at another university. I thought studying abroad was a good opportunity because going as a student meant that I didn’t have to worry about work or the difficulties around obtaining a visa. It also allowed me time between my second and final year to consolidate my thoughts as to how I want to focus my study in my final year. Being at a different university in a different country opens up the chance to try completely new modules that might not be available back home. 

How did you choose this university abroad?

When I started to search for universities in Australia I had a couple of friends from Leeds already at the University of Newcastle who I had met in my first year (through the university rugby league team and Snowriders society), so I contacted them about heading down to Australia for the year. Within minutes they sold both the university and the country and I was extremely excited about heading out there. I am an outdoorsy person so I really wanted to be on the coast, and Newcastle is one of Australia’s most coastal cities, boasting heaps of beaches within a 20 minute drive from campus.

Can you give an insight into your arrival at the university abroad and some of the first experiences you went through?

I went into halls of residence on campus. All accommodation at Newcastle is on the large 140 hectare campus and I felt immediately welcomed. I went into an amazing block filled with 11 Australians and 3 other internationals. Everyone is so friendly and eager to find out about you and England, how the traveling was and what course you do. All the other internationals are likeminded, so it is easy to befriend them. Getting involved in all the activities at the start really helped to establish a bond with other people within the college as well.

What are you enjoying the most so far? Are you involved in interesting projects or extra curriculum activities?

There is so much going on in an environment swamped with compatible individuals that it is always fun. I have become friends with people in the Newcastle University Ski Society and gone on socials with them. I have enjoyed visiting the towns where my flatmates come from, as these are places off the tourist beaten track and it is nice to get a sense of what peoples’ home lives are like. It has also allowed me to travel to new parts of the country that I would otherwise have not seen.

I have also been skiing in Australia (yes, it is a thing!) for a weekend which was an unforgettable couple of days. 

The University of Newcastle Exchange and Study Abroad Network (UNESAN) run events aimed solely at international students, and this is a good way of meeting other people from around the world. These events are well-attended which makes them far more enjoyable. In the second week they organised a coastal walk down to a nature reserve/beach which was a lovely way to see some more of Australia’s rugged coastline, as well as seeing new areas of the place I am calling home for a year.