John is studying an MBA at Macquarie Graduate School of Management
“I first thought about doing an MBA when my wife and I decided we’d look at our options for living abroad. She was then offered an incredible opportunity to work in Sydney and I started looking at what I would do when I moved out there. For a while I had been thinking about making a career change.
“We attended a Study Options university open day in London and met representatives from different institutions in Australia and New Zealand. Having time to talk to the reps was invaluable and it was at this point that an MBA became a genuine consideration.
“Talking to the representatives gave me a great insight in to the what study might be like at different universities, as well as into the lifestyle and culture and a taste of what it would be like to study there. I wanted to take a course that would build on my values and passions, at an institution that would embrace that.
“I found the application process really easy, mainly because Study Options led me through every step. Their incredible support and friendly guidance was really appreciated. All my queries were answered, regardless of how trivial they may have seemed. I was particularly grateful to the team because they were able to respond to my desire to move quickly. It took only six weeks from deciding that we would leave London to landing in Sydney, and during this time I had successfully applied for my course and visa.
“Sydney is exactly as I hoped and expected it to be. A modern city that embraces the outdoors like no other city I have visited. I instantly felt at home. Within a couple of weeks my wife and I were settled in to a flat and making the most of what Sydney has to offer. For us, the move was about getting somewhere where we could strike a balance between work and study, and enjoying the beach, parks and great climate.
“Going back to university has taken some adjustment for me. Going from an ‘employee’ mindset, where my time is accountable to someone else, to a self-governing mindset has been tricky. This has been made more difficult by spending time reading for my course, on the beach! Can you imagine explaining that one to your boss!? The teaching style and content is to the standard I expected, although so far the level of reading, research and assessment has been less taxing than I had worried it would be. I feel extremely fortunate to be undertaking the course full time (2 days a week), without the pressure of a job to worry about as well.
“I’m really enjoying the course, meeting people from all around the world. I don’t live on campus, so I’m not engaging heavily with the student programme or recreational facilities there. Instead, I have settled near the beach and I am making full use of Sydney’s best assets – the weather and its beaches! I have joined a University club called ‘Toastmasters’ which helps develop public speaking and debating. This came from a recommendation by the careers councillor, who I found to be concise and useful in her guidance.
“Outside of studies, my wife and I have enjoyed making new friends by joining the local swimming club. There is a real mix of Australians and ex-pats that meet up for a swim and a barbeque every weekend. My fellow students are regularly organising social meetings as well, so there is plenty for us to do.
“Compared to living in London, I would say the cost of living is similar – expensive! But when so much of what we enjoy doing is free, overall our monthly budgets are similar. The parks and beaches are so clean and well looked after that you can easily spend a day there without spending any money. The Blue Mountains are really easy to get to by train or car, and also offer incredible hiking opportunities.
“For me, the top three things about studying overseas so far are the climate; exposure to new people and the fact that it feels a bit like a permanent holiday!”