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Student Stories

Philippa Goddard

Philippa Goddard, Master of Public Policy at Monash University

“After several years of working full time after my undergraduate degree, I took the decision to pursue a Masters programme overseas. A few short months after making this decision, and with the support of Study Options, I had packed up my life in the UK and my partner and I were en route to Melbourne. We had never stepped foot into Australia before so this was a bit of a jump!

“I have been studying at Monash University for one semester and so far, I have absolutely loved it. Coming back to study after several years has been so refreshing, and I appreciate it all the more for having been out of it for a while. My course has been fantastic – I am fully absorbed in it and have loved everything I’ve studied so far. It has been intense, too, with each unit delivered over a short 6-week period, and classes mostly delivered during the evening. Assignments come thick and fast and you really have to throw yourself into it. I have gained so much already just one semester in and can’t wait to see what the next 18 months hold for me.

“I’ve made an effort to get to know my professors and what the wider university has to offer. I have a part-time job at the Monash Graduate Association and have been offered a role with my Programme Director on a research project next semester. I will be writing a thesis next year and hope to make strong faculty connections during my time here, with the hope to potentially pursue a research role or a PhD once I graduate.

“I would say the first three months were the most challenging. There is so much admin to do when you arrive – finding a flat, enrolling on your course, finding a job, organising a bank account/phone contract/tax number. It is exhausting and not always fun. There’s an added pressure in that first few months of getting this whole new life set up, and wanting to do it quickly. Finding friends and a social life was a major part of that for me – and it didn’t come as instantly as I’d expected. Through joining a couple of university societies and going to as many campus socials as possible, I found people that I connected with. Slowly but surely, I’m building up a life and a community. After passing that three-month mark, I’m really happy here in Melbourne, at Monash, and am excited for what’s next on my journey here.”

Philippa’s advice:

  • Monash’s campuses are a little far out and I would definitely recommend living closer to the city. We were lucky enough to find an apartment right in the heart of Melbourne, which has meant we’ve been so close to everything that the CBD has to offer. Melbourne constantly has festivals happening – food and drink, comedy, film – and is always putting on free events. The city also has quick access to the beautiful beaches on the coast and to the outer suburbs.
  • There is so much to explore in Victoria (Vic, the smallest state in Aus, is the same size as the UK) so make sure you make time to do it. A weekend trip away every now and then has been a good way to get started. When the longer holidays come around, that might be a good chance to travel, too, depending on work commitments.
  • Put yourself out there as much as possible. Ask questions you wouldn’t normally – this has got me both my jobs and good relationships with my lecturers. Go to events you might not feel like, join societies even if you’re unsure. These are the places you’ll make connections and find friends – something you can’t be without in a brand new city.