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From 600 to 500: My (Slightly Chaotic) Journey From a Tourist to Studying Abroad

By Krit Promrokul, Bachelor of Science

Hey everyone! Ever had one of those trips that makes you rethink everything? Buckle up, because that's exactly what happened to me. I was just a regular third-year student back home, visiting Australia on a total whim. Then, bam! I stumbled upon the vibrant and diverse people of Sydney and this university campus – Macquarie, I think it was called? – and suddenly, everything changed. The place buzzed with energy, surrounded by lush greenery (seriously, it looked like something out of a postcard!), and it just felt... different. Right then and there, I knew I had to find a way to ditch the tourist thing and become a legit student there.

Now, don't get me wrong, transferring universities, especially in your final year, can be a nerve-wracking rollercoaster. Let's be honest, the whole "new country, new system" thing is pretty daunting. But for all my fellow international students out there feeling the pre-application jitters, this article is your survival guide. We're about to navigate the exciting (and sometimes frustrating) world of becoming an international transfer student, together.

Tourist Turned...Student?

Remember that trip Down Under? Picture this: Me, wide-eyed and curious, exploring the Macquarie campus. The energy was contagious, but it was the focus on academics that truly impressed me. Their programs seemed more specific and in-depth compared to my home university, which offered a broader science curriculum.

That feeling of intrigue quickly blossomed into a clear goal. I dove headfirst into researching their programs, especially the science courses. Their curriculum perfectly aligned with my academic goals, offering a deep dive into biology – something I craved after feeling lost in the broader program back home. The focus on biology, along with the self-paced and student-centered course structures, felt like the perfect fit for my academic aspirations.

Conquering the Application Anxiety Monster

The decision to transfer was exhilarating, but the application process? Not so much. The unknown can be a major source of anxiety, and figuring out a whole new university system from another country definitely didn't help. But hey, I took a deep breath and started digging.

Here are the things that helped me slay that application anxiety monster:

  • ●  Research Like a Boss: The Macquarie University website became my best friend. I devoured everything I could find about transferring, eligibility requirements, and Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) details. Knowing the specifics calmed my nerves and kept me on the right track.

  • ●  Don't Be Afraid to Ask for Help: Macquarie's international student support team turned out to be a lifesaver. They answered all my questions, guided me through the application maze, and provided amazing resources. Moral of the story: asking for help is a good thing.

  • ●  Connect with Fellow Students (They've Been here!): This might be like reading online reviews before you shop – you want to hear from people who've been here! There are tons of YouTube videos and articles on Reddit that give you a glimpse of what to expect and how to overcome it. I was lucky enough to have a friend who did an exchange program here the semester before, and they were another great resource for me. Application Tips from My Experience Alright, let's get down to the nitty-gritty! Here are some handy application tips I learned along the way:

  • ●  Start Early, Deadlines Are Real: Don't wait until the last minute. Research, gather documents, and become BFFs with the deadlines well in advance. Some processes, like RPL, may take a long time.

  • ●  Organize Your Stuff (Seriously, It's Important): This is key to a smooth application process. Transcripts, financial proofs, and reference letters – get them all in order. Don't forget official translations if needed.

  • ●  RPL is Your Friend: If you've already been studying for a while, consider applying for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) to get credit for your previous coursework. This can save you time and money during your studies and ensures your hard work back home doesn't go to waste! You can check the website for previous RPL approvals, and if your course isn't listed, don't hesitate to submit a petition and be the first one from your university!

  • ●  Look out for Scholarships: Tuition costs for international students can be high. The good news is that Australian universities, including Macquarie, offer generous scholarships. Check for scholarships you might be eligible for and register beforehand if required. Otherwise, the scholarship package might come with your offer letter!

  • ●  Meet Deadlines (Unless You Like Stress): Deadlines are there for a reason. Treat them seriously and submit your application well before the due date

The Acceptance Thrill (and a Whole Lot of Relief)

The email arrived on a bright Wednesday, and the words "We are delighted to advise that you have been made an offer..." felt like a symphony playing just for me. Relief washed over me, replaced by a wave of pure excitement. I did it! The next steps involve tackling course registration and the student visa process – which is a whole other adventure! But hey, there are tons of helpful articles and blog posts out there, and resources like Student Connect can guide you through the setup and preparation for course registration and kickstart week. You've got this!


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