Determined to experience another culture, Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) Chemical / Bachelor of Business student Joel Karibika spent a semester on exchange at the prestigious University of Connecticut.

The Global Engineering Education Exchange, known as the Global E³, is an international partnership agreement that allows engineering students of the University of Newcastle to study abroad at distinguished universities that are not otherwise partnered with the University. UON is one of only two Australian partners in the international program.

It was through this program that Joel received the opportunity to study at the University of Connecticut, which is considered one of the largest and most reputable colleges in the northeast region of the U.S.

Leaving Australia in mid-January, Joel was met with below freezing temperatures when he arrived at the small town that would be his home for the semester. With the majority of students living on campus, Joel found living in a share room was a great way create long-lasting friendships and enhance his understand of other cultures.

“Campus life was amazing, from the ease of getting to class to the huge range of extracurricular activities you are able to participate in,” he said.

The tightknit social community on campus came as surprise to Joel, who had grown accustomed to the usually small crowds at UON sporting games.

“There were thousands of people packed into a stadium all supporting their team. The passion was tangible and I’ve never experienced anything like it. It was absolutely incredible!”

Reflecting its reputation, the University of Connecticut expected a strong work ethic. There was no recorded lectures, meaning it was easy to fall behind if you failed to attend. However, Joel rose to the challenge.

“The only problem I had was that in my… courses, all their measurement units were in the imperial system! While challenging at times, it was very helpful as possible future careers require adaption with the use of different systems.”

Learning occurred not only in the classroom. Due to his proximity to Boston and New York, Joel explored these global cities, fully immersing himself in the culture.

“By studying abroad, I have come to realise the vast opportunities that await at the end of my degree. I’m not held back by the fear of the unknown. This experience was an eye opener for me and wouldn’t have been possible without the help of the scholarship through Global E³.”

Through completing a semester abroad, Joel was able to greatly enhance what he had learnt at UON, making him a more career-ready graduate.

“I would strongly recommend Global E³ to any of my fellow engineering students thinking of undertaking a semester abroad. The benefits it provides by granting the opportunity to study at a large network of global universities, and the subsequent knowledge gained about the specific field of study are invaluable.”

Visit our website to find out more about the Ge3 program.


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