The most memorable time of my studies was no doubt my semester abroad at the International College of Management, Sydney (ICMS). I was given this opportunity during my degree at my Swedish university – an opportunity I grabbed with both hands and which resulted in my adventure in Sydney, Australia.
This is a blog post by Saga Kjell, originally published in Swedish here
My name is Saga and it’s me and my fabulous colleagues at the Blueberry College & University who help and inspire students to take the leap of faith and study abroad. Let me inspire you to study at ICMS!
ICMS is situated an approximately 20 minutes ferry ride from Sydney, on the beautiful peninsula of Manly. I always say Manly is ‘big enough to have everything, but at the same time small enough to feel intimate and personal’.
The school offers the option of staying on campus, and who doesn’t want to experience living in a castle? You can stay in a single room, a double room or share with two students. In addition to my dream of living in a castle, I also chose to stay on campus as the classrooms literally were a flight or two of stairs away (hard to blame the distance if late for the class!) I also liked the idea of living next door to my classmates. The living arrangement made it really easy to meet people and make friends. When you stay at campus you even get a meal plan which means you get all your meals served in the canteen for the whole semester. This meant no shopping, cooking and doing dishes for me… which again meant I could spend even more time on the beach and on the surfboard (and even open my textbooks now and then).
ICMS hosts about 1800 students who mainly study business and management. I studied four subjects, amongst them HR and Finance. The classes are always small which makes the lectures more personal, makes it possible to receive more help and you get closer to your classmates. It was also inspiring to see how passionate my teachers were about their subjects which made the lectures easier to grasp and above all more fun. ICMS even has a ‘student success centre’ where you can get extra help with subjects – or if you experience writing challenges – someone is there to help.
Another unique part of ICMS is that during school hours there is a dress code to adhere to. The dress code is ‘business attire’ – where attire should cover knees and shoulders, or suit and tie. I enjoyed and appreciated this as we behaved more professional in the lectures, but believe you me it didn’t take us long to change into swim wear and flip flops at the end of the school day.
There’s a lot of student activities on campus. We got invitations to a whole range of different parties – amongst them a cocktail party á la Great Gatsby (a party scene in the Great Gatsby was actually filmed at ICMS). ICMS also has different clubs and groups to get involved in. I was part of the running club and ran twice a week before school along Manly beach. The school has an outdoor gym and tennis-, soccer- and basketball fields. And there’s even a school pub!
What do you do when you study five minutes from Manly Beach? Hang on the beach of course!
A draw card about ICMS is that they have surf boards for students to use, perfect for international students who perhaps doesn’t want to buy their own board but want to try surfing. We used to borrow boards and either surfed before the school day started or at the end of the day to cool down. We often surfed the Manly waves and on the days when the waves weren’t good, we headed to the northern beaches. In other words – a good wave is never far off!
When we didn’t surf or were tired of falling off our boards (surfing is so much harder than it looks!) there was a lot to discover elsewhere. We often jogged and there are so many places to run in the nature reserves if you don’t feel like running on the beach. After our runs, when our tummies rumbled, we used to explore Manly wharf where there is a broad range of food from all corners of the world. My favourite place served poke bowls – Australian cuisine meeting Asian cuisine. And if we ever tired of Manly we took the ferry to Sydney for a round of shopping or a concert at the opera house.
When you go abroad to study you should explore and experience as much as possible, that’s why I think one should road trip once the school week is over or between semesters. Australia is an excellent country for this as it’s easy to rent a car with some friends or to book a bus trip. I got to experience Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock) in the Northern Territory, and even the cultural city of Melbourne in Victoria.
I hope I have managed to inspire you to study at ICMS, or perhaps in Australia or somewhere else in the world?