From Nguyen Thi Hai Yen’s point of view, any University of New England (UNE) study experience is valuable to a student’s career.
She knows this from her time spent working towards her Master of Social Work degree at UNE at Armidale, Australia.
“My degree was practical and flexible and my lectures were held in the local hospital to give me industry experience,” said Nguyen.
The Vietnamese graduate enjoyed the smaller class sizes and the one-to-one access she had with lecturers. This personalised learning approach was important to Nguyen as she didn’t want to feel like just another number on campus.
When she first arrived at UNE, Nguyen struggled to adjust to the Australian education system. She knew she needed help when she received her first assignment grades.
“My unit coordinator held a personal meeting to support me to find a way to improve the mark in the next one. I was so happy because the UNE staff helped me to progress and were always available to answer my questions,” she said.
This constant support continued even during her job placement, which granted Ngyuyen the professional registration requirements to become a social worker and the opportunity to become a member of the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW).
“During my placement, at least three coordinators and lecturers assist and supervise one student. So I created a close bond with my team and made many friends on my course,” she said.
Nguyen wouldn’t be the first to make lifelong friends at UNE. The campus is designed with ample on-campus housing to forge close bonds with peers. On any given night, there will be social activities held at The ‘Stro, a lively music and food venue and the Booloominbah, a heritage-listed mansion.
What is more, international students would be pleased to know the on-site supermarkets stock a range of Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern and European ingredients, fresh fruits, vegetables and meat.
With all these, it’s no surprise UNE is the only Australian public university to be awarded the maximum five stars for “Overall Experience” for 14 years in a row by the Good Universities Guide.
Study in the affordable and accessible city of Armidale
Living in Armidale, Nguyen got to experience the finest kind of Australian hospitality.
“People living in the Armidale area and regional areas are more friendly than people in cities. They always smile and say hello when we meet each other in the town,” she said.
It’s a truly flourishing multicultural community at Armidale. Many expatriate communities dot the friendly city too. UNE lecturers come from all four corners of the globe.
If ever homesick, there are many restaurants and cafés serving food from China, Thailand, India, the Mediterranean and Europe such as the hugely popular Armidale Nepalese and Indian Grocery. Nguyen never once felt alone while she was away from her hometown in Vietnam.
Armidale is more affordable compared to bigger cities such as Sydney and Brisbane. For instance, a one-bedroom city centre apartment in Armidale is around 978 Australian dollars per month compared to around A$2,600 per month in Sydney.
A short drive away is Coffs Harbour where students can relax on lovely beaches and go on whale watching trips. Port Macquarie isn’t far from campus either and offers an informative Sea Acres Rainforest Centre and an adorable Koala Sanctuary.
Nguyen said, “The local residents also love recommending international students places to visit. They’ve always helped me whenever I needed directions or just for a friendly chat.”
Your future starts at UNE
The University of New England is a supportive and cohesive community that prioritises current and future students’ needs.
At the moment, the university is rolling out a “blended learning” model to keep students’ academic progress on track.
This integrated blended learning style means that on-campus students still get access to the full range of online materials that UNE online students do. Therefore, if an on-campus student misses a lecture, needs access to online materials or wants to discuss topics on online forums, they can.
If you’re interested to kickstart an unforgettable experience at UNE, connect with current UNE students, staff and alumni via the UNEBuddy.
UNEBuddies are even on board to walk students through their future job prospects, find the right course and advise about work rights in Australia.
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