Study Abroad - Nataša and Leyla

Updated: Feb 16

Studying abroad can be a huge decision. Some transitions may be smoother than others, With the help of some amazing people, “ #TCIMStudyAbroad series” was created and people of different backgrounds share their experiences by answering 7 quick questions on their experiences. If you’re considering studying abroad these posts will most definitely be useful.





Name ;Nataša Lazarević (she/her)

Degree title :PhD in Health Science and Physics



What influenced your decision to study abroad? 


I finished high school (an International Baccalaureate - IB programme) in Germany. My plan was to go to the United States for university on a tennis sports scholarship. I unfortunately injured my left ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament – ligament of the knee) so that meant no tennis scholarship. I was distraught and I felt like all my plans were ruined. When I perceived my plan was in turmoil an unexpected opportunity came along. My German student visa was expiring, and my mum had moved to Australia. She was lucky enough to receive an Australian family visa. That visa type no longer exists, so we are pretty lucky. The visa meant that I could study and work in Australia, so I thought why not go there! So, I guess my main advice to you is even if you feel like everything is falling apart be open to opportunities that come along.

What were the main things that affected your final decision? 


My mum had moved to Australia and I had not lived in the same country as her for 3 years. I also think Australia is pretty beautiful and lovely apart from what is currently happening with the bushfires. Another reason was the visa issues I had in Germany. I already felt more accepted in Australia because of the visa I received.


What did you value the most about your experience? 


Living in different countries exposes you to more cultures and ethnicities. Australia is multi-cultural with a rich indigenous heritage. I enjoyed living on my own for the first time and trying to find a casual job. It helped me develop more independence and self-awareness.


What was the hardest thing about your experience? 


I was an international student the first year of my undergraduate medical science degree. That meant paying $40, 000 AUD upfront per year. I would not have been able to make it without the help of my mother. It also meant that I worked as a waitress during weekends and some weeknights. I felt such guilt and self-induced pressure all the time. I did not look after myself well because I was constantly worried about finances and my mother having to pay such a large fee. When I received an Australian permanent residence the university fees went down to $9, 000, which made a massive difference. I did not have to work as often, and I could enjoy the student experience more.


How has your study abroad shaped the way you think now? 


I guess the biggest lesson I learnt was to look after myself regardless of the situation. To put myself first before the degree. I still have trouble with self-care, but I have gotten much better. Balancing working and studying improved my time management skills. It also exposed me to people outside of academia. It improved my communication and team-work skills.


Do you believe your experience has given you a competitive edge when it comes to finding a job and why?


I think living in different countries is valuable. I have been fortunate enough to have lived in 5 countries (Germany, Serbia, Botswana, United Arab Emirates and Australia), which exposed me to different cultures and languages. Being able to work with people with various backgrounds and personalities is extremely important. It also helped me view issues from various perspectives improving my ability to problem-solve.



Please add any useful pages/ websites that helped you make your choice below

When searching for universities I looked at the Times Higher Education World University Rankings

Choosing based on the country is also important. You want to not only study hard but enjoy yourself. I searched a few of the tourist websites.

I wish I investigated what course I wanted to do in more detail and searched blog posts. I chose medical science because I found it interesting. It would have been great to hear from a former medical science student.




Name: Leyla Mouli (She/her)

Degree title: B.S. Environmental Sciences



What influenced your decision to study abroad


The ability to diversify my education by taking courses not available in my home university


What were the main things that affected your final decision:


Availability of financial aid/scholarship, the ability to transfer the credits earned, and the city/country of the study abroad.


What did you value the most about your experience: exploring new places, learning new cultures.


What was the hardest thing about your experience: many things are going on during a short period of time, and before you realize it, it’s over. The hardest thing was definitely finding the right balance between my academics (it’s a STUDY abroad after all) and my social life and travels.


How has your study abroad shaped the way you think now? 


My experiences studying abroad expanded my intercultural competencies, and I came out of them as a person who is more respectful towards other cultures, confident in changing settings, and eager to learn and rediscover.


Do you believe your experience has given you a competitive edge when it comes to finding a job and why?


Yes, it unequivocally did. While studying abroad, I gained different perspectives regarding my field of studies. Those came from the more diverse courses I took, the diversity in the student population (hence different backgrounds and opinions), and the unique teaching styles. I therefore became more globally proficient in my field, which I think was a positive aspect for my employer.





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