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Student Stories

Maxime Brooks

Studying the Master of Science in Marine Biology and Ecology at JCU

“During my final year of undergraduate study at the University of Leeds I carried out an honours project which focused on coral reef bleaching and was inspired to study marine biology further. After speaking with my honours supervisor, James Cook University was the obvious choice.

“I arrived in February, which is summer in Australia, and here in North Queensland it was very hot! JCU are great for helping international students get settled in and introducing us to other students; I felt right at home straightaway and have made some wonderful friends.

“JCU are ranked #1 in the world for marine biology, and as soon as I arrived I could tell why. The teaching is absolutely phenomenal. The marine biology programme at JCU was going through some changes [which are now in full effect] when I arrived which made it a bit complicated, as the course wasn’t initially what I expected. JCU were very flexible, however, and I’m now very happy with my course. The academic facilities for science and marine biology students at JCU are excellent, and I’ve always been able to meet with professors and tutors when I’ve needed extra help.

“Through international student events when I first arrived I’ve met lots of people from my course, both international and local. During weekends and study breaks we often explore North Queensland, it’s so beautiful here with endless waterfalls, hiking tracks and beaches to find. I feel that the social side of JCU is different to my UK university in that clubs and societies are not very well-promoted and the only one I have actually joined at JCU is the dive club (which is excellent!). There are social events every week to get involved with and meet new people, as well as a bar on campus and bars in town too with regular bus services for JCU students throughout the night. There are sports teams here but they are not as big as back home. In terms of costs of living, rental costs can be lower than in the UK, though food is a bit more expensive than I was used to.

“I think the top three things about studying abroad are meeting so many different people, exploring a new place (Australia is easily one of the most beautiful places I’ve been to) and being able to study marine biology next to the biggest coral reef in the world. I miss my family and friends, and, dare I say it, sometimes even the British weather! But nothing quite compares to getting out of bed and seeing wallabies and sunshine almost everyday. If you’re thinking about maybe studying in Australia or New Zealand, but haven’t decided where or what to study, I would highly recommend calling or emailing Study Options. They will offer helpful, unbiased advice and I’m so grateful to them.”