So, what is it like to study abroad in Australia? We asked some of our International students to share their experience of studying abroad in Perth and living at St Thomas More College.
From India to South Africa, the USA to Singapore, St Thomas More College welcomes a broad range of Perth study abroad university students from across the globe, who travel to us for a life-changing College experience.
St Thomas More College is located in Perth, Western Australia and has 38 nationalities represented on campus amongst our student base of 400 residents.
We asked a number of residents what it is like to study abroad in Australia and here’s what they said:
My name is Avni and I am a study abroad student from New York, USA. I am a Neuroscience major at Boston College and decided to travel halfway around the world to Perth to attend the University of Western Australia for a year. It is definitely one of the best decisions I have made. Perth and the Western Coast are filled with beautiful architecture and natural landmarks, and the educational opportunities and friendships I’ve made have bolstered my experience exploring the city and all that Australia has to offer.
Firstly, studying at UWA is incredible —this past semester I had wonderful professors who were all engaged in their students’ progress, and also had the chance to explore unit’s in courses that were very different from my own. However, UWA is very different from my home university in that I have lots of free time to travel to Perth city and its surrounding wonders. Only a short distance away are some of my favourite spots in Perth, such as the Blue Boat House and Elizabeth Quay. A bit farther away yet definitely worth it are the Perth Zoo, the Fremantle beach and markets, right on the western coast, and, of course, Rottnest Island (the only place to see adorable quokkas)!
However, for the incredible experience I’ve had so far, I have none other than St Thomas More College to thank! The success of my entire study abroad experience would be nothing without the home and friends I have found at Tommy. The STMC Student Club Committee and staff are dedicated to ensure that all people living at college (especially international students) feel at home by organising incredible events and activities, all while fostering a comfortable and familial environment where everyone is able to get to know each other. Living at Tommy is what I will miss the most about Australia when the time comes to go back home, but I am incredibly thankful to even having opportunity to be surrounded by such a loving community. Tommy! Tommy! Tommy!… OI! OI! OI!
New York, United States of America
Bachelor of Science (Neuroscience), The University of Western Australia
When I left my home in Los Angeles, California to study abroad in Perth, Australia, I expected to have a fun time travelling to a different country, but I never could have imagined that the place would feel like home in such a short amount of time. Most of that feeling was because I lived at St Thomas More College.
The first week I was there, residents led other newcomers and myself in an orientation which was a quick and fun way to meet Tommy students and staff while acquainting us to the city. Instead of struggling to figure out good places to eat or adventure to, I had an automatic group of people I could ask. The College lies in a perfect location to get to the immaculate beaches in the area, borrow kayaks to use in Matilda Bay, and to take a stroll through Kings Park. It’s quite easy to take a day trip over to Rottenest Island or a road trip either North or South to visit wine country and the numerous natural beauties of Australia. For me, fun weekend activities included: driving down to attend a music festival in Bunbury, renting surfboards to use on the beach, watching a footie game, or even just hanging out doing nothing in Tommy’s hammocks or common rooms. Meals with everyone, Inter-College sports competitions, and events organised by Tommy residents provided me with a chance to become friends with exchangers from all over the world.
Instead of just encountering Aussies around the city or in class, I was able to live closely with them and become truly great friends. I celebrated birthdays with them, met their families and friends outside of college, hung out talking until the morning, and sometimes did a bit of studying. I left Australia with more than just fun stories and adventure tales, but also with new lifelong friends, an understanding of a country different from mine, and a desire to return as soon as possible.
California, United States of America
Bachelor of Science (English and Cultural Studies), The University of Western Australia
When I came to Australia for my studies, I was really excited but also a little apprehensive about whether I would be able to fit in here. I chose to live here at Tommy because I saw that it looked the newest out of all the colleges.
After one and a half years here, I now realise that the exterior of the College was impressive, but not the major takeaway from St Thomas More College. The people and their energy makes Tommy More what it is. Everywhere you go in college, you are greeted with a smile and a “How’s it going?”
As an international student, it isn’t easy to find a place that makes you feel at home. Tommy More has given me more than that. I have found friends from all over the world that I will keep for life and learned so much from those around me.
Bachelor of Arts (Communications and Media Studies, and Marketing), The University of Western Australia
When I think about decisions that I have made in my entire life, choosing to live at St Thomas More College goes down as one of the best decisions I could have ever made.
I remember sitting alone in the dining hall, intimidated by the lack of familiar surroundings and being in a new and foreign place. But that uneasy feeling was soon dispelled when my fellow collegians came up and initiated a conversation with me. It has been amazing ever since. Living on your own can seem daunting but being surrounded by so many magnificent humans makes the experience so much better. You feel a sense of belonging and that is priceless.
My biggest fear about coming to study in Australia was that I would miss my family but Tommy and the people who live here acts as a kind of surrogate family and provide you with the help and support that you need to ensure that you get the best out of your academic and life experience at university.
You also have the opportunity to meet so many new people outside of your classes and lectures which is pretty cool too. College life encourages you to be more outgoing and engage in a lot of social, cultural and sport-related events which encourages you to live a more rounded and enriching life
The highlight of living at Tommy for me so far was when I was voted Mr Congeniality at the annual Tommy Ball this year. I felt so loved and grateful, the entire experience was so brilliant.
And who could forget this final perk. The fact that you are so close to UWA means you can sneak in those 10 extra minutes of sleep every morning. Any university student will tell you the importance of those precious few minutes in bed!
Mumbai, India and Cardiff, United Kingdom
Masters of Biotechnology: Environmental Biotechnology, The University of Western Australia
Moving to Australia, whilst being exciting, was also a daunting experience. St Thomas More College played a vital role in assisting with a smooth adjustment by encouraging integration into a new community.
Tommy is not simply a residential college in my eyes; it has become my home with all its residents being my extended family. Whether relaxing on the hammocks, having a barbeque in the quad, playing inter-wing competitions or studying in the study rooms, Tommy creates a positive and welcoming atmosphere.
It is, however, the residents and people who make Tommy the place where I feel like I belong. The diversity of students that attend the college creates an environment of inclusiveness and allows you to create lifelong friendships and networks around the world.
No matter the day or time, you are guaranteed to find a smiling face and activity to join in on at college. This allows you to develop a balanced life, with Tommy providing an escape from university and work stresses. With all the benefits and attributes that Tommy offers, it is no wonder that we believe that there is, “ Only One Tommy More!”
Johannesburg, South Africa
Bachelor of Medical Science, Direct Pathway to Medicine, University of Western Australia
As a new kid on the block, Tommy gave me a group of people who were always around me and who I knew would look out for me.
I think if you put individuals in a shared living space, you develop a sense of intimacy that you wouldn’t be able to replicate on the outside.
As a fairly active person, something that I find particularly helpful is that people are always up to play pick-up basketball. It’s also really helpful that getting a meal is also a great way to take a break from studying and just engage with people in the wider community.
Masters of Asian Studies, University of Western Australia