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Student Stories

Gerry Walker

Gerry is about to graduate from the Master of Property and Development at UNSW Sydney

I always wanted to do a masters degree, and knew if I didn’t do it soon I never would. I fancied a career break, and started my Masters in 2017. I was 49 years old when I started.

“After spending leisure time in Sydney and seeing what a wonderful city it is, I decided to enquire about doing it there. Getting a chance to live in such an amazing place at the same time as studying was just too attractive to miss.

“Study Options were simply invaluable to me, as finding out about suitable courses, and finding out about the processes in terms of applying, was not always easy when balancing working fulltime and other commitments. They had a raft of info in terms of relevant courses, and knew the application process inside out. It can be very easy to just pursue a simpler option of study in the UK, but once Study Options advised me on the ins and outs, from there on in it was remarkably straightforward.

“I started in Feb 2017 as the academic year starts at that point in Australia. UNSW is a large university with a large intake of international students, and therefore is geared to assist visitors from overseas settle in quickly. It also has a strong reputation in terms of courses designed for the work place in Australia. I settled in easily. Having friends already living in Sydney obviously helped a lot.

“I will finish my course in July 2018. I am studying a Masters in Property and Development. The course is fairly rigorous, which was to be expected, and made up of a good cross section of ages, and a good cross section of people straight out of undergrad courses and people like me, and also a few who were working full time in Australia and just doing bits of the course over a longer time period. This is made possible by large chunks being run between 6pm and 9pm on campus.

“In order to get a masters degree, you need 72 credits, and you get 6 credits per subject, which means 12 subjects. You can get exemptions on a 3rd of it (so 48 needed) depending on your degree and work experience. Most full-time students did 4 subjects per semester. There are 2 semesters per year, so 18 months to conclude the course. The subjects are diverse to cover all aspects of property and development, so the learning outcomes are wide.

“The facilities are second to none in my view, as befitting a major University in Australia, and the course content is a good mix of assignments, presentations, tutorials and lectures. The academic staff are very approachable and want you to do well.

“I live with my partner and my social life is primarily with older friends who have moved to Australia and extended family here. That said, I have made many friends at uni, and we do socialise fairly often. Many of my uni friends are also from overseas. The social life on campus is massive for those who wish to embrace it. There are a huge number of clubs, societies, sports teams etc. and there are even a couple of pubs on campus!

“Australia (aside from housing) is not as expensive as some like to portray (once you get the hang of it). Fuel is cheaper, public transport is significantly cheaper, and supermarket shops are definitely only on a par with the UK. I would advise all overseas students to avoid the expensive tourist parts of town when eating / drinking out, and there are many areas of Sydney off the beaten track that are gems. It is a highly cosmopolitan city and very friendly.

“I would advise anybody considering study in Australia to consider UNSW. It has a decent reputation and a huge raft of courses, and it goes out of its way to cater for overseas students. I would also advise anybody to ask Study Options to advise on where the best relevant courses are across Australia, and how to go about applying.

“It’s a long way from the UK, so I would also advise on maybe only one trip back to the UK for the duration of the course. There is plenty of time to do this in between semesters. In between semesters, travel if you can. Cheap flights to Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, the Gold Coast and other places have made my overall Australia experience to date very memorable.

“Finally, although it may not be relevant for all, UNSW are pretty geared for assisting graduates to find work in Australia for those who fancy sticking around!”