Victoria University students on the move

From the icy reaches central Finland to the tropical highlands of Kigali in Rwanda, hundreds of VU students a year journey around the world for credited study and life-changing experiences.

The University has more than 100 university exchange agreements in some 30 countries. Students learn and live like a local whether it's for a three-week visit to a partner institution in a neighbouring country or a culture-immersing, year-long exchange to the other side of the world.

Victoria Abroad Manager Margaret Jackson says nearly everyone who participates in an overseas program is changed by the experience.

"Many say it's the best thing they've ever done in their life," she says. "An overseas exchange helps them to grow personally, distinguishes them from other graduates, and improves their employability."

While semester-long or full year overseas exchange programs have been an important part of Victoria University for more than 10 years, VU now also offers short-term study tours for vocational education students with funding support from the federal government.

Recently, children's services students have journeyed to Singapore; hairdressing and makeup students have worked behind the scenes at New York Fashion Week; and nursing students have visited hospitals and orphanages in Vietnam.

Some students end up in very remote locations, like 20-year-old Ricci Burgess who spent three weeks teaching in a 50-student classroom in Timor Leste as part of her Bachelor of Education.

"Some of my students were older than me and none of them could speak English," she said. "We didn't really know what we'd be up against before we left."

VU students going abroad can receive travel grants and loans to help with the costs of their overseas study experience. They can also gain credit for the classes they take while overseas so they graduate without any additional time added to their studies.

If you are interested in VU's 2013 student exchange program there is more information on the Victoria Abroad page, including an enquiry form.

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