- First-hand experience in Australia
- See more about education in Australia
In my previous article I was happy to pass on the idea of preparing for my PhD in Australia describing my way of choosing the university, admission requirements, and conditions to get a student visa to stay in Australia and so on. And finally, I was given a green light and the Macquarie University was there waiting for me. I was ready for new changes in my life. I am going to tell about the ways how I arrived to this country, about my scholarship and sponsorship conditions and my academic progress at the university. I got my ticket, made an agreement online with a landlady on temporary accommodation and informed my PhD supervisor on my arrival date. So, I said good-bye to my motherland and went to enjoy blooming and hot summer leaving my country in mid-December seized by frosty winter. Actually, I made a temporary agreement with the Australian landlady and decided to start with the payment for a couple of weeks until I get something more suitable for permanent residence. But, my landlady managed to come across and drew my attention to such advantages as the closeness to the University and affordable rent fee. The most attracting for me though was a huge swimming-pool in the yard and I stopped hesitating any longer. Moreover, the Australian family appeared to be very friendly and they really helped me to adapt to social life. I was pleasantly impressed with the campus area: it was really huge. There were at least 40 buildings of various schooling in the campus area. A new library shot the attention with its external design and magnificence. Conditions offered for students were not only comfortable: they were breathtaking as if we were in the modern office working not studying. The library was always crowded with students. I studied at the Department of Electronics with about 30 more applicants for PhD, or Doctor of Philosophy. All of us apart from 4 students were from countries other than Australia. International students from Japan, Brazil, India, America and other countries enjoyed research-oriented academic positions. We also enjoyed our own office that was parted into various sections. We were mainly involved in formation of research groups to work on identical research topics. These groups comprised of professors, students and PhD (Postdoc or Research Fellow) research officers who supervised several students at once. Professorial staff and students discussed current issues and tasks at regular meetings. Adequate funding was granted to the University to cover all expenditures for research activity. Investigations conducted by students were based on assets from the Fund for post-degree researches and the Faculty Fund. The Faculty Fund was responsible for all expenses related to lab equipment, work place arrangement, and consumables and so forth. I got the scholarship to make two parts: one part I used to pay for the study at the Australian university, and the second one was spent for the flatshare and food. That was kind of allowance to cover almost all expenses. By the way, students might also apply for the Faculty Fund allowances. The procedure required submission of the statement justifying the need in such assets to increase the quality of the thesis. This might include, for example, visits to other laboratories that were involved in research works similar to those referred in the thesis, either participation at international conferences to present research works. The sum to be allotted amounted up to A5,000 USD(the Australian dollar is approximately equal to the U.S.D.) to be paid once only. The term for scholarship was 3 years. I was expected to finish with my thesis here. To defend a thesis in Australia is not the requirement since the country employs the other education system policy. Without prejudice, the thesis is estimated by 3 people with 1 one of them to be the representative of an international university. And members of the group of three are not known to applicants. A paper listing 10 persons is given to the applicant who will likely estimate the paper. I was not required to publish articles during my work as it is in other countries. In return, the issue was rather encouraging. No workshops and lectures apart from one compulsory course to review research techniques and work with the thesis. There was also a course of academic writing for those with low English proficiency level. This material helped to improve the skill however people with kind of good command of English also attended that course. The first three months of student life take reading of various literature resources that facilitate to state the project description and statement. That is the period when the thesis topic might be changed, as well as PhD supervisor, for any possible reason. Activity report should be prepared in six months to describe the following:
- Any difficulties to encounter;
- Literature survey;
- Tests and examinations passed.