From Austria (no kangaroos) to Australia (with kangaroos)

My seven-month-stay in Melbourne

I recently had the opportunity to be the very first Music Therapy student at the mdw to undergo an exchange program for one semester of my course. This was and still is a great honor but also, as you might read between the lines, – the very first means I had to figure out everything by myself, because no one had walked that path before I did. Before taking classes at the University of Melbourne, Australia, I finished my 2nd year (out of 4) in the Diploma Studies of Music Therapy.

University of Melbourne
Entrance of the huge university campus

At the mdw we are ten students in total spending our classes together. In such a small class you can not  just  leave your mates behind. And they will certainly not just  let you study somewhere else by yourself. So I brought them with me on sticks – all nine of them. We had the first Australian coffee on the first day of uni together:

Coffee
First coffee in Australia with fellow students of the mdw

Differences in teaching Music Therapy

The most important aspect of my experience is probably the realisation of how different music therapy application and education are at these two universities. While Music Therapy is taught in small classes at both of them, Melbourne offers a more flexible program.

At the mdw all ten students of each grade spend all of their classes together, which means they participate in the same subjects at the same time whereas at the University of Melbourne you are offered a more self-directed system. At the mdw you spend most of the day, apart from sleeping, with your student mates. That sounds good and in fact it’s nice, but it is also very exhausting.

As opposed to this students of the Melbourne program are flexible when it comes to their subjects. There is also the option of being a blended learning student vises studying part time which furthermore leads to mixed up student groups.

Organising your day, when to read articles and write assignments sounds good, right? Well, in this semester you might call the library my favourite place in Melbourne and Lore, my Laptop, my best friend – right after my human best friend Pearl, who was sitting next to me at the library.

Library
Johanna at the appropriately designed library toilet

Gaining knowledge on all levels

I learned a lot that semester but studying that hard was totally worth it: I gained an additional skill of song writing during my time in Melbourne. In clinical work, song writing is both a very useful and common method in the field of Music Therapy used in Australia, whereas it is widespread to a much fewer extent in Austria.

Australian friends
Building friendship with fellow students

Apart from personal development and building friendships, yes not only with Pearl and Lore, this semester abroad also extended my knowledge about Music Therapy and made me even more curious about the vast methods which exist in the world of Music Therapy.

Seriously, I am still excited and thrilled to learn more. I now definitely see and unterstand the importance of learning and comparing different systems much better and I certainly gained valuable input for my further Music Therapy career.

Culture & distances

Xmas concert in July
Christmas carol concert in July 🙂

I attended a christmas carol concert in July. You may ask yourself why in July? Because that time of year it is winter there – and in winter you celebrate Christmas, right? – so why not do it then!

Christmas in July I’m coming!

Study break
One cannot study all the time…

Furthermore this semester abroad gave me an insight in the Australian culture and I also had the great opportunity to travel and experience that unique country. Just to make sure, you get it right, I just saw a tiny little bit of that huge continent within the time I was there.

Everyone had told me that distances in Australia are huge. But let me just tell you, the distances in Australia are really huge! People were right about that. And if there is one thing I know for certain, it’s that I will definitely be back one day to see and explore a tiny bit more of this marvelous country!

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