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Asta sitting with friends in the Great Court

Why I chose Australia for study abroad: meet Asta from Norway

UQ people
Published 14 Apr, 2023  ·  8-minute read

Originally from snowy Norway, Asta Didriksen says she always dreamed of studying abroad somewhere new and exciting.

"I really wanted to do an exchange, and that has been kind of my expectation my whole life," she says. "It was just a matter of where to go."

Now, Asta is living her dream, having moved to Australia to study civil engineering at UQ. We spoke to Asta to find out more about her journey to Australia, her study abroad experience and the advice she has for other international students.

Watch Meet Asta, a UQ Civil Engineering student from Norway on YouTube.
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Why Australia?

Asta says Australia was always high on the list when she was considering potential study destinations. "It's quite normal for Norwegian students to go to Australia, so obviously, I've heard a lot about it."

When she started her research, she had some criteria she wanted her international study destination to meet.

"I did want to go to an English-speaking country, and I did want to go far, like to somewhere I wouldn't go on holidays the rest of my life,” she says.

From there, Asta narrowed down her choices, eventually deciding on Australia. "Australia was just more tempting. Better beaches and nicer people.”

Asta sitting in front of the ocean

Choosing UQ

Asta explains that she chose UQ because it was popular with other international students.

"I went looking through my own university's pages to see the other students' reports, and I think UQ just kept popping up," she says. "There was always someone mentioning it."

Seeing the great experiences of other students made her decision easy. Now that she's made the move, she's glad she did.

"UQ is a great university, I'd say maybe the best Australia has," she says.

Asta sitting with friends in the Great Court

Living in Brisbane

Before moving to Brisbane, Asta says she heard lots of positive things about it from friends and acquaintances.

"They all said that Brisbane was a nice city. The temperature is really nice, especially for us who are used to the snow," she says. "As an international student, it's really social and busy and different. Everyday life here is really different from what I'm used to, which makes it exciting."

She also loves how friendly and welcoming she's found the people of Brisbane.

 "Australians, especially Queenslanders and people in Brisbane, are really open and nice. Even the bus driver says ‘hi’ and asks how your day's going. It's incredible!"

Life in Australia

Asta says she was surprised by the number of other international students she has met during her stay and the amazing experiences she's had.

"UQ has something called QUEST, the student organisation," she explains. "They keep taking us on trips and bringing new friends into the picture."

QUEST, or the Queensland University Exchange Student Society, runs events, activities and tours for international students to help them meet new people and get the most from their time in Australia. This past weekend, for example, Asta got to go to Noosa on the Sunshine Coast. She adds that participating in QUEST is helping her meet her goals, which include "new friends and new experiences."

Like many visitors to Australia, Asta has been pleasantly surprised by the lack of dangerous animals she’s encountered during her stay.

"I also expected to have more snakes and spiders in my life,” she says. “That's not really a big part of living in a city. Like, you will find them if you go looking for them, but if you don't, they won't be a problem."

Neeharika at rock-climbing with friends

Advice for others

Asta encourages future international students to consider all their options and make the best choice for them. "For me, it was important to go far away and do something I wanted to experience," she says.

She also encourages students to get involved and participate in social activities, which will help them meet people and make new friends.

"I recently joined a rugby team, so my advice would be to join something new. UQ has incredible sports facilities and a lot of great teams."

Finally, to those considering studying abroad, Asta says to go for it!

"I would say just do it," she says. "Obviously, I'm having a good time. I'm sure you would too. It's impossible not to make friends, so there's nothing to worry about!"

Eager to live the Australian dream like Asta? Check out what opportunities are available to international students at UQ!

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