John Storey Junior Memorial Scholarship
If you are involved in the RMIT Student Exchange Program this scholarship could assist with travel expenses.
Value and duration
The scholarship pays AUD $10,000 as a one-off payment, and there are two scholarships available each semester.
To be eligible for this scholarship you must:
- be a currently enrolled RMIT student
- be applying for the RMIT Exchange Program via the Global Experience Office
- not be receiving any other RMIT scholarship or financial support apart from an OS-HELP loan or an equity scholarship
- be an Australian citizen or permanent resident
- be a first-time participant in the RMIT Exchange program
- have not commenced your exchange program
- be involved in community service activities. When applications are assessed more weight will be given to activities that benefit the broader community. Examples of community service could include, but aren’t limited to, the following:
- Volunteering with a political party, an aged care facility, foodbank or an environment group
- Volunteering with the Global Experience Office during events such as orientation, the mobility fair, Asia Week
- Working with religious or youth groups
- Volunteering with RMIT's food co-op or MATES program
- Academic merit (based on cumulative GPA).
- Community service activities.
- Extra curricular interests.
- Successful placement as an RMIT exchange student.
- Degree to which you have spent time abroad.
How to apply
Take care to submit all the required information together—late or incomplete applications will not be considered.
Please submit your application to:
Building 21, Level 2
- If you are going on exchange in semester 2 then applications are due on 28 February of the previous year.
- If you are going on exchange in semester 1 then applications are due on 31 August of the previous year.
Please browse through our returned student reports and see how the John Storey Junior Memorial Scholarship has assisted past recipients while they were on exchange!
Alice Nicholas, Concordia University, semester 2 2013
I never thought, that as a mature aged student, I would ever have the opportunity to travel overseas and study part of my undergraduate degree. I do admit, even having traveled before, and having lived independently for a number of years the prospect of packing up life in Melbourne still seemed daunting.
My journey began, by traveling solo from the west coast to the east coast of Canada, before arriving in Montreal for the Fall semester. I realized quickly that Canadians love summer, the sun and the heat. Montreal is no exception, with festivals and events running everyday. Being over the age limit for on-campus accommodation, I found an apartment with a Mexican and a Korean. It could be said that our diverse household was the perfect symbol of what Montreal represents. This city is so diverse and multicultural, it is hard to find someone who has lived their whole life here, but it makes for great conversation, great people and life is never boring!
In terms of the study, it took some getting used to. Within Education, I had to learn all the provincial curriculums and within Disability, I was challenged by their use of terminology and alternate perspectives on Disability Support. However, Concordia University is an amazing metropolitan University with great location, connections, clubs and places to meet people and create your home away from home.
This experience, so far, has taught me to flaunt the true ‘Aussie’ within me, and how important it is to enjoy life everyday as it comes. If there is any advise that I could bestow on anyone who is thinking about going on exchange, it would be – DO IT!! It is not as scary as it seems and you will have the greatest time!
My experience so far, studying in Montreal, would not have been possible if it was not for the John Storey Junior Memorial Scholarship. This scholarship has given me the ability to experience my exchange to the fullest, taking every opportunity as it comes, enjoying my studies, Canada and everything that Montreal is. I want to thank RMIT and those who gave me this opportunity; it really has changed my exchange and University experience.
Hayley Garvey, University of Waterloo, semester 2 2013
My exchange semester so far has been unbelievable to say the least. The friendships I have made and the places I have visited have been above and beyond any expectations I had held prior to this experience. I have had the opportunity to undertake numerous exciting adventures and incredible new experiences while on exchange at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. Moreover the university life in terms of my academic studies as well as the culture and atmosphere of campus has been phenomenal. I feel incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to be undertaking such an experience.
It is without a doubt that the people I have met and friends I have made so far have made these experiences so incredible. From ice hockey games, road trips and the second largest Oktoberfest celebration in the world to Halloween, baseball games and weekends away camping. These experiences merely scratch the surface of an amazing two and a half months. Moreover living on campus has been a great experience. I have met many people of differing backgrounds, ages and nationalities and forged long-lasting friendships. I believe I have also gained a great deal of independence and understanding of who I am as a person, and what I want to achieve both personally and academically as a result of this opportunity.
The University of Waterloo is located in the college town of Waterloo, approximately two hours South-West of Toronto. The university campus itself is quite modern, having been established in 1957. I am thoroughly enjoying the classes here, which I believe is to a great extent due to the professors and the course content. As an international studies student I have greatly benefited from the interactive nature of the classes and the different teaching styles of the professors. Their perspectives and discussions on international issues and world politics have been extremely valuable. This exchange experience has deepened my understanding on several aspects in my field of study and has potentially changed the focus of my desired career path, which is both exciting and interesting. Furthermore, living in a college town was something very new for me, after living in the suburbs of Melbourne for most of my life. In Waterloo there is always something to do, whether it is visiting local art galleries, listening to guest speakers at the university, watching varsity sports games and live music performances organised by the university. The overall atmosphere of the University and its surrounding town is definitely something I will miss, and hope to recreate in some small way when I return home.
Furthermore, I have visited some amazing cities so far while living and studying in North America. There have been cities like Montreal whose culture, atmosphere and city structure reminded me of home in Melbourne, while there have been others like Toronto, Chicago and Vancouver which have opened my eyes to new concepts of how a city can be and what it can offer its people. Yet it was the views and landscapes of one of Canada's National Historic Sites; Algonquin Provincial Park, which was the most breathtaking and different from anything I have experienced. I am looking forward to undertaking many more experiences before returning to Australia in December. I believe I have made the most of every opportunity so far, and I am excited about the remaining time I have left here at the University of Waterloo. I am extremely appreciative and grateful for the John Storey Junior Memorial Scholarship as it has enabled me to live this exchange experience to the fullest and make the most of every opportunity.
Mim Kempson, Concordia University, semester 2 2014
It took only one month of living in Montreal to call the place home. Within my first week at Concordia University I befriended a group of like-minded people who made it their goal to show me the sites. In the second week I was offered to write a weekly column in The Concordian (the student newspaper). Titled “Mim Meets Montreal”, the articles were told from my perspective as an Australian exchange student and covered topics quintessential to Canada or specifically Montreal - such as the snowy winter, poutine and Halloween. By the third week I had become a regular at my favourite local café where I got to practice my French with the baristas.
Through Concordia University I was exposed to experts in the industry – successful journalists, magazine editors, foreign correspondents, documentary filmmakers and more. It was rewarding to experience another institution’s style of education. I also got to see how the journalism industry functions in a country outside of Australia, which is a valuable lesson for an aspiring journalist.
Basically, every moment offered something new. Being an exchange student is a grounding and fulfilling experience. You become a local, not a tourist: an outcast, a wanderer, an observer. Through exchange I got to explore the beauties and wonders of a new landscape, both natural and urban. I established important networks, which open up future work opportunities for when I return to Canada. And of course, like everyone says, the experience allowed me to grow personally, as I found a newfound sense of confidence and independence. In fact, I loved exchange so much that I applied for another semester and was able to stay in Montreal a total of ten months.
Lani Holmberg, Danish School of Media and Journalism, Semester 2 2013
In second semester 2013 I was accepted to study photojournalism at the Danish School of Media and Journalism (DMJX) in Aarhus, Denmark as part of the RMIT exchange program. I had wanted to attend the school for some time so to when I finally got the email advising I had been accepted, a mad rush of excitement and planning began.
My time at the DMJX was quite simply the most concentrated, challenging and inspiring period of learning I have experienced. There were 10 of us in the program, a semester specifically set up for international students. In our merry group we represented Germany, Nepal, USA, Norway, Italy and Australia, so the different perspectives on what photojournalism is, can be, or should be, were incredibly fascinating and eye-opening for this lass from down under.
Coming from a commercial photography degree at RMIT, the study was an opportunity for me to focus specifically on my area of interest, photojournalism. I didn’t know a lot about the school before I arrived but quickly figured out it is one of the most respected journalism schools in Europe. Teachers, students and alumni are clearly very proud to be part of the DMJX community – you could tell in the way they talk about the program, past and current students and their learning philosophy. On the walls hung the work from previous students – amongst them several World Press Photo award winners.
It was pretty incredible to walk through the halls on the first day. In fact, in the first week of classes I sat there with a silly grin on my face feeling so thankful I followed my gut and jumped on the plane. I felt spoilt to have the chance to discuss photojournalism for hours and hours and hours on end with such a small group (fuelled by coffee and Danish baked goods), and get so much feedback and guidance on my work.
Some of the highlights of my exchange were:
- living, studying and travelling with like-minded photo geeks. I have made some very good friends and continue to be inspired by their approach to photography.
- travelling through Scandinavia for my final project of the semester and having the opportunity to learn about another culture through incredibly welcoming and generous local people.
- swimming naked in the sea in the middle of winter along with the ‘winter bathers’, a group of people who swim in the ocean every single day of the year (followed by a sauna!)
- being taught by the guys at the Bombay Flying Club – an international storytelling agency based in Aarhus. Watch the film I worked on as part of that workshop.
- Embracing my inner Scandinavian and riding my bike everywhere – rain, hail, howling winds or shine.
Without the support of the John Story Memorial Fund I simply would not have been able to survive financially in Denmark for five months. The scholarship allowed me to focus entirely on my studies and fit in a little travel in nearby countries while I was there. A million thank you for supporting my exchange, I know I will look back on what I learnt and see the experience as a turning point in my photographic journey.
Gloria Brancatisano, Leeds Met, Semester 1 2013
Where do I even begin trying to sum up study abroad experience? It was honestly one of the best decisions I have ever made, and one of the greatest and most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had.
Being one of the lucky recipients of the John Storey Junior Memorial Scholarship was the first of many welcome surprises in my study abroad journey, and really helped shape how I could approach my exchange. It allowed me to pay for the big expenses like flights and accommodation before I left home, meaning I could concentrate solely on being overseas.
I decided to head to the United Kingdom, and chose Leeds Metropolitan University to study at. Waking up on the first morning I very quickly realized I had swapped Australia’s warm summer, for a very cold, northern English winter. When I looked out the window on my first morning, everything as far as I could see was covered in snow, WHAT A SIGHT! Something I had never seen before.
Being overseas alone for the first time was a daunting experience and after having problems organizing my subjects I was feeling quite sorry for myself. But the great thing about living in Leeds is that it’s a student city, and most of the people around me were in the same situation-whether they have moved 4 hours from their home town, or 20 hours from another country, I wasn’t alone.
That was something that made living in Leeds so great. Every night there was a ‘student’ night to attend and I quickly met people that I can now call lifelong friends-making my experience that much more fulfilling.
The city was also beautiful. I lived in the Opal 3 student residence, which was only a 5-10 minute walk from the city centre and Leeds Met city campus. With lots of shopping, restaurants and bars to explore, Leeds is definitely a city that you cannot be bored in. Also being located so centrally in the North, it was a short bus or train trip to another beautiful city such as York or Manchester. The university was also great, my tutors always made sure I was settling in well and my classmates made me feel at home immediately. It was also rewarding to study Journalism in England and to see the way they now approach it.
Over Easter break I travelled with a girl I had met overseas. Not only was it a nice break from studying, it was also incredible to finally explore Europe. We travelled to Amsterdam, Berlin and Munich, soaking in 3 completely different cultures, trying new foods, exploring countless galleries and beautiful cities rich with history.
Going on exchange by yourself can be a daunting experience, especially if it is your first time overseas alone like it was for me. There are so many things that can get you down, but you have to remember that you are actually doing something many people are too afraid to do. Studying abroad is one of the most fulfilling experiences you will ever have, it has given me the ability to learn things about myself I may not have learnt otherwise, and try things I would have never had the chance to at home.
The scholarship is something that I cannot thank the John Storey Junior Memorial Committee enough for. It has helped to make my final year of study one of the most worthwhile years of my life. I am honoured to have been one of the recipients and I hope the Committee knows just how incredible their scholarships are.
If you are contemplating going on exchange, I encourage you to take the leap. It is something you will cherish for the rest of your life. If you ever need help all you have to do is ask, because there are many people in the same boat as you.
Georgia Coventry-Poole, University of Westminster, semester 1 2014
“You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.” – Miriam Adeney
By now it has probably become the biggest cliché to refer to study abroad experience as “the best experience of my life” but the reason you hear it so often is because it couldn’t be closer to the truth. I was lucky enough to be accepted to study at The University of Westminster, London and the time I spent studying in London and exploring Europe was phenomenal to say the least.
Rather than staying on campus I chose to apply for housing at International Student House around the corner from the university and this was once of the best decisions I made. Not only was I able to meet people from the exchange program at the university but my housing allowed me to enter a community of people from all across the globe. I always had a place to go and someone to speak to, from my roommate who was from El Salvador to our close group of friends who came from countries ranging from Norway to Italy to Zimbabwe, they very much became my family away from home.
Travelling is a rich experience and opens you up to learn so much more than you
ever could by reading a book or in the classroom. Being placed in the UK within itself was extraordinary simply due to its proximity to so many other countries. From the time I left Australia to when I got home I had travelled to and explored 15 countries and countless more cities. I was able to immerse myself in the culture and witness the vast history that underpins Europe. I was fortunate enough to be able to cross a few experiences off my bucket list including the excitement and spectacle of St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland. Most notably, I was extremely privileged to attend the dawn service and Lone Pine and Chunuk Bair commemorative site services on the Gallipoli Peninsula, Turkey for Anzac Day. This was extremely special and something I will never forget.
Despite the large amount of time I spent in different countries there is no place like home and that is how I felt every time I arrived back in London. This city gave me a lifetime of memories; wandering through Regent’s Park as the summer weather rolled in, getting annoyed at the “tourists” blocking the footpath outside Madame Tussauds as I went to get my groceries and our weekly family dinners spent cooking and sharing some drinks with friends.
The opportunities you get from study abroad to travel and live in a foreign country is unlike no other experience. Leaving family and friends behind for 6 months can be daunting for some however by the time you leave, the hardest part will be saying goodbye. I cannot recommend it highly enough, so much so that I will be throwing myself into another exchange in the US in Semester 1, 2015. It gives you such an appreciation for the world and people around you. It was the most incredible time of my life and I was so lucky to be able to meet so many amazing people from all over the world that I now call friends.
I would like to express my gratitude for receiving the John Storey Junior Memorial Scholarship. I am extremely grateful for the opportunities it provided in this amazing journey.
Claire Barley Université Paul Valéry Montpellier 3, semester 2 2014
It would be untruthful to say I was 100% enthusiastic about exchange every step of the way- after the initial excitement of receiving my acceptance letter I was pretty terrified! Being completely cut off from your comfort zone-literally placing a huge distance between home and where you’re going- seemed incredibly daunting. However, once I arrived in France I quickly realised just how lucky I was to be there, and how amazing the experience was going to be.
My uni was located in Montpellier, which is in the south of France. A town with a huge student population, it is arguably the most ideal spot to be an international student- I met countless other young people from all over the world, as well as heaps of friendly locals possessing that laid back, south of France vibe. Not to mention the beautiful warm summers and proximity to Barcelona!
The huge influx of students also means Montpellier offers some great programs for people like me who are a bit unsure about their first serious overseas stint. Being accepted as a John Storey Memorial Scholarship recipient meant I could participate in a special three-week orientation program. This program helped my brush up my French, took me on some beautiful day trips to beautiful French beaches and towns, and introduced me to the people who were to become my closest friends throughout my stay.
Despite the fact that I fell into the lazy person’s trap and had mostly English speaking friends, I still felt completely immersed in French culture. I was delighted to find that most of the stereotypes about France are absolutely true- the only exception being that French people are rude. Bikes are the preferred mode of transport and baguettes are just about everywhere. I definitely took advantage of the countless bakeries that seem to appear on just about every corner, and consumed some of the best baguettes, chocolate croissants, macarons, cheese and wine of my life.
Adjusting to living alone went surprisingly smoothly, although I quickly learnt the importance of self-control. The freedom to eat a whole wheel of Camembert in one day is as much a curse as a blessing!
Seeing just how close Europeans are to their neighbours reminded my just how far away us Australians are from everyone else. Thanks to the additional funds provided by the scholarship, I was able to make room in my budget for travelling both during and after my semester- I was able to visit Spain and Portugal during my mid semester break and travelled around northern Europe and the UK once finishing for the year.
It’s so easy to talk solely in clichés when describing exchange- ‘eye opening’, ‘life changing’, ‘the experience of a lifetime’- but to be able to live in a city on the other side of the world, not as a tourist but as a resident, was amazing. My experience of life on exchange was so far removed from my experience of life in Melbourne that it almost feels like a dream- I wish I could go back and relive it all over again! I loved just about every single minute of my exchange and am so incredibly grateful to have been given the opportunity.
Florence Liang, Berlin School of Economics and Law, semester 2 2014
My name is Florence Liang and I have just spent the last eight months living in Berlin and travelling Europe.
The exchange experience has enhanced my life in more ways than I had ever imagined. From gaining a new family of friends from all across the globe to being conversational in a new language and discovering countries I never thought I'd reach.
The weeks dedicated to paperwork and administrative tasks of exchange meant the date of leaving crept up on me, before I knew it I was on a plane flying to the opposite side of the globe.
I was lucky enough to backpack for a month before my six month exchange semester began at The Berlin School of Economics and Law, followed by another two months of backpacking at the completion of the semester.
My schooling began in mid September 2014, I was enrolled in one particular class where there were only local German students. At the beginning I remember telling some of my fellow exchange friends how this seemed to be daunting, however on reflection this was my most rewarding class. Berlin, a city rich in history, it was very interesting hearing stories and opinions first hand from the students who either lived through the Berlin wall period themselves or had parents who did. I was also fortunate enough to be in Berlin when it was the 25 year anniversary of the fall of the wall. It was an emotional week, you had 8,000 luminous white balloons mark the former East West divide of Berlin. At 7pm on the 9th of November 2014, all 8,000 balloons were released into the sky, you had thousands of people fly from all across the world to witness this event.
I am very grateful for the John Storey Memorial Scholarship as this made the exploring business possible and unforgettable. My ridiculously amazing time abroad includes highlights such as skiing the Austrian alps 3500m up, hiking the Unesco world heritage listed fjords in Montenegro, roading tripping up to Lapland, Finland, to camp under the northern lights with my new Finnish friends from exchange. Climbing ice glaciers, dancing under waterfalls and floating in the blue lagoon, Iceland. Island hopping Croatia, biking the Czech countryside, chasing the rolling hills of Switzerland, along with spontaneous trips through Sweden, Denmark, Hungary, England, France and The Netherlands. However, the highlight was definitely the living in Berlin, the nights turned days of partying and endless hours of laughter with the amazing bunch of like minded individuals who all pushed themselves to participate in this amazing opportunity called exchange.
I could not express a more positive recommendation to those who are thinking of participating in exchange. Personally, this has been the most rewarding experience yet. The thoughts of leaving what is familiar and comfortable to you may be daunting at first, however that soon passes as you meet like minded individuals who are all on the same hunt for adventure as you are and these very people become your new family. The inspiration and drive you will gain from this experience will be like no other you've had thus far so my advice to those who are about to go on exchange is that life really does begin at the end of your comfort zone.
Simon Scott, ACICIS, semester 1 2014
After travelling through Indonesia a few years ago, it was clear that I wanted to spend more time there, and to gain a better understanding of the country. When I read about the ACICIS semester program, I practically jumped at the opportunity to spend a semester in Yogyakarta. Rather than the initial culture shock I expected, arriving felt like a homecoming of sorts as I indulged in the warm weather, spicy food and presence of so many friendly people.
Not to say that settling in was easy, or that things necessarily went to plan. Within my first week in Yogyakarta, a volcano erupted about 300km away, which led to the town being covered in potentially harmful ash for the next couple of weeks. This made walking on the street anywhere for more than two minutes much more difficult than it should have been, and necessitated the use of surgical mask when outdoors.
This type of unpredictability in everyday life seemed to be a recurring trend in Indonesia, and the first in a line of instances where I figured out that my expectations only existed to be subverted.
Coming to Indonesia allowed me to experience life somewhere entirely different from home while still studying. By focusing on Indonesian at university while on exchange, and by doing additional private lessons, I managed to achieve one of my life goals of reaching (at least near) fluency in another language. Meanwhile, on the weekends I was travelling to nearby attractions – these included beaches, volcanoes, jungles, mountains, caves, temples, cultural sites and other towns. Apart from this, I tried to engage with people of Yogyakarta however I could, from doing volunteer work to immersing myself in the local music scene.
After semester was completed, I visited to the Eastern Indonesian island of Flores. From here we were looking to travel to other small islands nearby. Of course there was no ferry, or organised system for travelling between islands, so I had to resort to negotiating with a local fishermen to give us a ride on his boat to the other island. On the boat I was able to crack jokes with the captain. On the island, I was able to chat to the locals (who certainly looked surprised to see us there). And then, I was able to climb the hills and swim in the waters that so few people have had the pleasure of experiencing. It was here I realised how far I’d come, in terms of language ability, but also understanding of people and place, self-confidence and willingness to challenge myself. All of these things I owe to my time spent on exchange.
Melina McGough, Politecnico di Milano, semester 1 2014
My overseas experience was life changing. It was a journey of self discovery and the best part for me noticing how much I had changed and grew as a person.
I received the ‘John Storey Junior Memorial Scholarship’ in 2014, which provided support for me on my exchange. Studying a Bachelor of Communication Design at RMIT, I decided to spend 1 semester at Politecnico di Milano, Italy for my final year.
At first it was a huge culture shock, but I learned how to adapt, be independent and live by myself (Until I met other friends who wanted to share). I faced and overcome many challenges but these opened my eyes and mind to new experiences and adventures.
Note to self: Next time I travel for a long period of time, take a language course prior!
In the beginning I stayed with an Italian woman Cristina. She took me in and treated me like her own daughter. She was lovely and hospitable, her cat ‘Miew’ was adorable and constantly followed me around. Overcoming the language barrier was difficult and I communicated via hand signals and my trusty translator book.
Studying at the University was enjoyable, it was a nice facility. The teachers were professional and friendly just like at RMIT. Lucky it was a graphic design course so I was able to understand through visuals mostly, some teachers spoke English and students also helped me out. I took on a fashion elective also which I felt was a MUST, as I was in the Fashion Capital of the world. Study life was very casual and the outdoor Italian lifestyle resinated with me.
I met two girls who were on exchange, they studied architecture. Eleni was Greek and Agate was from Latvia. We bonded straight away. In the beginning the weather was horrendously cold and house hunting was not enjoyable at all. Lost and confused, we met owners, negotiated prices, dodged scammers and found a perfect place. We ended up living together in a nice apartment right near the University for 4 months.
I gained so much knowledge and inspiration about design from everything around me. I have memories that will never fade and friends from all parts of the world that I still keep in touch with.
I reached out, networked and did collaborative work with local designers, photographers, stylists and models for a self published magazine that explored Italian culture, art and fashion. My Illustration skills flourished too as I drew from direct observation.
I spontaneously took a train to Venice to witness the last day of ‘The Carnivale Di Venezia.’ It was mind blowing seeing all the costumes and masks. Being immersed in that atmosphere, I was transported into a magical world.
After I finished my semester in Milan, my sister flew over and together we travelled through Italy by car sharing, watched ‘The Arctic Monkey’ concert in a castle in Verona. We stayed in Rome for a week, went to the Vatican and floated in a gondola in Venice. I Flew to Budapest then Barcelona then to Greece and by boat to the islands. I remember racing though mountains on motorbikes and chasing the sunset in Santorini. Totally embracing the rare opportunity to its fullest, there is nothing I would have done differently.
Lauren McCarthy, Tecnológico de Monterrey in Guadalajara, Semester 1 2013
I undertook one semester of my International Studies degree at Tecnológico de Monterrey in Guadalajara, Mexico. I had an incredible time and cannot even begin to explain the benefits of international exchange, especially among the colourful culture of Mexico.
I am eternally grateful to the Education Abroad Office and the John Storey Junior Memorial Scholarship as I would not have been able to undertake such a fulfilling, even life changing, event without their financial support.
Guadalajara is a vibrant city full of students. There is always something happening whether it be a fiesta, camping trip, arts festival or public lecture. Partaking in these events enabled me to interact with people from all corners of the globe and increased not only my ability to communicate with a large set of people but also boosted my self confidence.
Studying at Tec also carried it's advantages as it opened up the possibility of undertaking subjects not offered at RMIT. I learnt so much of Mexico's history and improved my Spanish ten fold, knowledge that will be beneficial in future career prospects.
When you live in a foreign country you are forced outside your comfort zone. I quickly learnt to adjust to a completely different set of rules regarding language, time and social etiquette as well as reassess which morals to live by. I found myself mimicking Mexicans in their relaxed nature and quickly took up the sayings of 'tranquilo' (relax) and 'no hay pedo' (no worries).
While Mexico is a uplifting country full of friendly, happy people, there is no denying its downfalls; corruption, sexism and classism are just some evident factors preventing it from entering the first world. In order to lend a hand to those affected by such discrimination I decided to extend my stay and volunteer at an organisation recommended by my University. This experience uncovered a whole new Mexico for me and has paved the path of my future both professionally and personally.
Again, all of this would not have been possible if it weren't for the help of the John Storey Junior Memorial Scholarship. Thank you to the Scholarship Committee for enabling me to grow and discover life altering moments.
Cary Aiken, Amsterdam Fashion Institute (AMFI), semester 2 2014
What a semester, the biggest learning curve of my life and an irreplaceable experience. Although I clashed with the school I exchanged into and had some timetabling issues that meant I had to repeat a few aspects of my studies, I learned how to operate successfully under a new management system and to produce products that suited a completely different market to what I was used to designing for. This in itself was very rewarding for my studies, but the most rewarding part was the huge life change, and realizing how adaptable I am and learning that I can not only survive, but thrive in a new environment.
I was able to make a great life for myself in 6 months from nothing; I arrived with no friends or contacts and now have many new friends from all over the world. This taste of a new life has inspired me to keep experiencing new and different things, I have taken a year off my degree to continue traveling, apply for internships in Beligum, England and New Zealand and to learn more about different cultures and inspire myself for my final graduate year in 2016.
My John story scholarship allowed me more flexibility in the way I studied, for one I was able to commit my time to my studies without having to work a few part time jobs, as I am used to doing. I also had the flexibility to live outside of the student accommodation, as when I arrived I was not worried about money. I found a share house through airbnb with two amazing like-minded, but very different individuals. This was a really important part of creating a life in Amsterdam outside of uni, I was able to make friends in different networks, which is important when studying fashion as the ‘fashion’ world can be stifling, although it stimulates amazing ideas it is important to have one foot in the real world. My housing situation is very important to me, as I love to cook healthy, nutritious food and to grow things. After visiting the student housing, I don’t think I could have lived there with a shared kitchen between 6 or so students, that was never cleaned and living in a tiny room with little character. My home on the other hand made Amsterdam truly my home. I was blessed to have one particularly amazing housemate, who kept me grounded in times of stress and a big garden with chickens to look after. I grew many plants and made a little sanctuary where I could tackle my uni work, entertain friends and feel completely at home.
Some other highlights of my trip where exploring the surrounding countries, I travelled to Belgium, France, Germany and Istanbul and made new friends in every place I visited. The architecture, design, culture and way of life in all these places have inspired me immensely, I visited several art galleries in every place which was very rewarding as I had the chance to see famous art from all around the world, most of which will never have the chance to come to Australia, my favourite piece of work was at the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum, a kinetic light instillation sculpture that blooms like a flower (video attached). Throughout my travels I have been filling a sketchbook with ideas for my final grad collection, I started a blog with photos of nature in the urban environment, with my own images and also images from a Dutch magazine I discovered at the Stediljk Museum in Amsterdam called Club Donny. I even finally found a title for the Fashion label I wish to start after I complete my degree. NATURKUNDE, after the Naturkunde museum of natural history in Berlin.
See the following pages for images of my travels and for my labels facebook page.
Louise Tate, Utrecht School of Art in the Netherlands, semester 2 2014
My exchange at the Utrecht School of Art in the Netherlands was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. Utrecht is a beautiful, vibrant, student-filled city of canals and cobbled pathways that resembles a smaller Amsterdam. Staying in international student accommodation meant that I instantly gained a new family with whom I could share a newfound love of ‘stroopwafels’ and Belgian beer, which there is an abundance of thanks to Belgium being next door. Every weekend was spent exploring a new Dutch location, as well as the regular weekly visit to Amsterdam, which was a mere 20 minutes away by train. The Netherlands is small and everything is easily accessible by train, car or (of course) bike.
I learnt many things while overseas. The Dutch art education system promotes independence and self-direction. With very few formal classes, I learnt to direct myself in the studio in the large fine art building called the ‘Tractiweg’. I fully immersed myself in Europe’s many exceptional art galleries, finally able to see many works I admired in person. I realised that sharing food is the best way to make friends. And I learnt how to ride a bike in any temperature, at any time. 2am and -2 degrees? No problem. I have returned to Melbourne with a passion for cycling that I didn’t know I was capable of.
I took full advantage of being overseas and spent 2 months of the 6 months travelling, beginning in India and covering most of Western Europe, later spending Christmas in Ireland and New Years in London. To share just a few of the many highlights of my travels – picking tea with the village woman among the misty-hilled tea plantations of Darjeeling, in the north of India, which was both humbling and awe-inspiring. Walking along the coast of Cinque Terre in the Italian Riviera, with vineyards on one side and an endless expanse of stunning turquoise ocean on the other. Getting up close and personal with the greats of the art world in Venice. Picking fresh figs and almonds for breakfast at my adoptive home in the south of Portugal. Dancing in the streets of Madrid, churros in one hand and sangria in the other, during the week-long fiesta de la Paloma. I could go on.
I am sincerely grateful to the John Storey Memorial Scholarship committee for the help that they have given, not only to me, but to so many adventure hungry students. This support helped make those expensive Europe flights look a lot more affordable, and allowed me to travel to places I otherwise would have missed on a tight budget.
I cannot recommend this incredible opportunity enough. I can only advise you to make the most of it. Leap in. Leave all inhibitions at home. Be open to the endless opportunities, friendships, experiences that will be at your fingertips. And have fun.
Izzy Roberts-Orr, University of Glasgow, Semester 1, 2014
Glasgow is taking shape tens of thousands of feet below me as I look out the window of my flight, circling the city and the rugged browns, sharp greys and velvet greens that surround it as we drop in altitude. I’m 36 hours away from tearful goodbyes and the tight cluster of my friends and family at Tullamarine airport. I’m strapped into this window seat with nothing but my backpack and a suitcase full of clothes. Looking down from the air at Glasgow for the first time and knowing that this is my new home although there is no one to meet me and no home to go to except for the room I’ve booked for a few days fills me with excitement and trepidation.
I had decided before heading to Glasgow that I wanted to live in a share-house rather than in the University halls, because I wanted to have a greater chance of making a friendship circle that was local and wider than just Strathclyde students. I’d heard from friends in Melbourne that West End was the best place to look for a flat, and I started looking straight away. My intuition paid off, and I had moved into an enormous, beautiful room across from the Hogwarts-esque Glasgow University campus with 3 excellent housemates, all studying different courses at different universities.
I’m a very independent person, and I’ve been supporting myself for many years, but it’s an entirely different thing being in a foreign country and having only yourself to rely on. I really struggled with this at times but I am certainly stronger and more capable because of it, and I have renewed appreciation and respect for my incredible community and support network of friends and family back in Melbourne. I feel very privileged to have had the opportunity and the challenge of moving to Scotland alone and travelling by myself after my studies concluded.
It was really fascinating to me to see the different ways in which Media and Communications are taught and applied in Scotland. I had a particularly fantastic time in my Honours-level class exploring ‘New Narratives’ and the possibilities of storytelling modes and formats available to media makers. I forged a great connection with my teacher for this subject, and she helped find me some fantastic external opportunities such as attending the Scottish Print and Media Association conference on digital publishing and a contact to pitch a radio play to at the BBC. I also initiated and edited a digital publication and website of all our class work for this subject.
One of the most inspiring parts of John Storey Junior’s University career was his co-curricular involvement. Something that I certainly couldn’t have done without the generous support of the John Storey Memorial Junior Scholarship was perform at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
The University of Glasgow has the oldest and most established student theatre group, which is open to students of all universities (including me as a University of Strathclyde student), and as I was living just across the road, I decided to get involved. I ended up running weekly writing workshops, encouraging some of my classmates from Strathclyde to come along, which culminated in a series of 10-minute plays all written by first-time playwrights and set in different parts of Glasgow’s West End.
2014 was an incredible year to be living in Scotland, and particularly Glasgow as they hosted the Commonwealth Games amid the build-up to the referendum on Scottish Independence. With a record voting registration and turnout, Scotland was making history and starting a conversation with global implications. Despite the ‘No’ vote, the Glasgow area had the second highest ‘Yes’ vote at 54%. It was an electric place to be.
Daniel Fantin, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Semester 1 2013
My single semester at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden will remembered for not only being my favourite semester at university, but for being one of the best times I have ever experienced in my life. I knew I wanted to study in Europe but Sweden was a completely haphazard choice – one I’m so glad I made.
I left for Sweden on January 1, 2013, leaving a 30+ degree Australian summer for a -10 degree Swedish winter. Best advice I can give is to have a good jacket. Settling in at KTH was made very easy through student union organised activities. Within a week I’d been skiing, to an international dinner, to a Swedish dinner, and made a bunch of new, mostly international, friends. Accommodation was more comfortable than I was expecting after a few IKEA touch-ups and in a perfect location. It took 10 minutes to get to university and, better still, I could walk home from the city at night (note: taxis are VERY expensive in Sweden).
The KTH campus and classes make it readily apparent why they are so highly ranked in the world. Stunning buildings, excellent teachers and an astounding approach to study taken by all the students meant I didn’t just have great fun that semester – I also learnt far more than I would in a typical semester. Given its standing and notable alumni (Alfred Nobel’s father, Dolph Lundgren) the campus is often visited by some very high ranking people. I was unfortunate to miss the recent visit of Barack Obama to the university.
With a group of new friends I visited Kiruna (Northern Lights, dog sledding, -38 degrees) and Gothenburg by train and cruised through duty-free waters to Tallinn (Estonia), St Petersburg (Russia), and Helsinki (Finland). One of the best times of my life. I travelled Berlin, Budapest, Prague, and Copenhagen with friends and family. I saw Liverpool v Chelsea play in the EPL, sat in the Cavern Club, went bungee jumping in Switzerland, and met great new friends in hostels around Amsterdam, Munich and Brussels. I also had the chance to meet and stay with relatives in Italy.
To the current John Storey Junior Memorial Scholarship recipients, know that I am full of jealousy. You are about to have the absolute time of your life.
Alex Moshovelis, Zurich University of the Arts, semester 2 2013
I guess leaving like I was about to, I had never felt before and couldn’t imagine what it would be like. There were so many expectations, anticipations and anxious moments. I was walking into a new world. A world where I have met incredible people, heard the most amazing stories, been on the most exciting adventures and learnt more about myself than I could of possibly imagined. This world is now my home away from home. And it is Zurich.
I have only been studying for just over a month at Zurich University of the Arts. Before arriving, the university paired me up with a ‘buddy’. It made the transition into a completely different school life so easy. Any problems, hesitations or questions I had were answered. In addition the international office organized activities and excursions, it was a great way to meet other exchange students and share the same feelings and apprehensions about starting school.
I have enjoyed the contrast in teaching and learning methods between Australia and Switzerland. Our class only has 20 students so learning is intimate and the level of work is extremely high. It’s been great being able to use facilities that we don’t have in Melbourne such as print press studios and adapt to the way people work in a different culture. The way students think about design and go about it is different and to be able to grasp a global view will certainly be advantageous in the future. I look forward to sharing what I have learnt with fellow students back home.
So far I have thoroughly loved having the freedom of living independently and meeting people from all over the globe. Having not yet moved out of home, I found it challenging at first but with great roommates settling down, sharing meals and travelling meant there was never any quiet moments. Having Europe at your doorstep has made travel on the weekends with friends so easy and affordable. France, Germany and England have already been ticked off the list and there are so many plans for the next 4 months. Not just that I have travelled throughout Switzerland and experienced some of the best traditional foods, yet I look forward to more fondues when winter rolls in. I recommend anyone on exchange to thoroughly engage with their countries culture and see as much as you can while your there.
Living in another country has certainly changed my outlook on life and will definitely impact living in Australia. It’s been great to see all the little things that you miss while you’re overseas and I can’t wait for all the adventures to come. My simple advice so far would be to prepare early, talk to as many people as you can about the country you are heading to. Learn the language as much as possible. Be nervous, everyone goes through it! And it is just the beginning. To be able to break from your comfort zone, adrenalines pumping you know your living in that moment. Enjoy it.
On a serious note, I would hugely like to thank RMIT and ZhdK and John Storey Junior Memorial Scholarship for their help and support. With these amazing opportunities I am undertaking I’m sure I may not have had the chance to experience them if it wasn’t for their assistance.
Nathan Stolz, Parsons The New School of Design, semester 1 2014
My time in New York was one of those rare occasions where outrageous expectations are not only met, but surpassed. As the seemingly pretentious slogan of a “Welcome to Brooklyn” sign put it, this was a place where, for once in my life, it was OK to “Believe the Hype!” From the people, to the museums and gigs, to the university (Parsons) where I studied, almost everything justified the western obsession with New York and cemented its place as “the city” (yes, definite article) it is so often taken to be.
Parsons itself was an incredible institution filled with passionate, still-practising lecturers, students spurred on by one another and, though I gave it my best shot, more equipment than I could possibly take advantage of. The darkroom was a near sacred place and allowed me to shoot film the way photography was supposed to be. Lecturers had shows, books and featured segments in New York Magazine all come out while I was there and the zeal of those still involved at the heights of their field was infectious. If you were excited about a project the staff would go, step for step, right along with you. The currency of their industry ties allowed me to gain some work while away and I assisted on shoots for Wallpaper magazine’s premier ‘Handmade’ issue.
New York’s immense cultural scene meant that, despite it being my first time in the States, I never felt the urge to venture outside the city. Soon after arriving I took out memberships at MoMA and the Guggenheim and spent many a rainy day in the company of their treasures. Big name musical acts were so common the prices were as low as the choice was wide. I was fortunate enough to see many of my favourite musicians for little more than the cost of a(n Australian) beer. Broadway offered Sirs Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart as Vladimir and Estragon in a movingly riotous rendition of ‘Waiting for Godot’ among others. The laughs continued at Comedy Cellar. And then there’s the food. Any true New Yorker has a favourite pizzeria and will fight to the death about it. Artichoke Pizza narrowly edged out the iconic Lombardi’s (first pizza joint in the US) as the winner of the epic quest that so many conflicting but equally fervent recommendations sent me on.
While New York was as alive as I’d dreamed it was also as expensive as I’d feared. Consequently, I had the typical Brooklyn experience, sharing with ten others in a converted warehouse loft. This accommodation proved pivotal to my photographic endeavours as I found myself on the fringes of the highly insular Hasidic enclave of South Williamsburg and Clinton Hill. Stepping into the community, one could be forgiven for thinking unwitting time travel had taken place. In the area, New York’s modern aesthetic suddenly gives way to a uniform sea of elongated bowler hats, caged windows and long, flowing black coats. Despite the strictures of the neighbourhood with its rigorous religious constraints regulating everything from eye contact to associating with outsiders, I couldn’t quite shake the idea that, for some of its members at least, this was heaven. I set about documenting life at this unique intersection of tradition and modernity and, despite the opposition I encountered, managed after four months to befriend one adventurous soul with the faith to trust in people beyond his religion. A revised, modern take on Hasidism beckons; “watch this space”, his actions said. In a city with so many sights, ultimately it was new friendships such as these that were the real attractions.
Eugénie Austin, Parsons The New School of Design, semester 2 2014
One thing led to another, really, in this study abroad, John Storey Memorial Scholarship thing. I was half way through my Bachelor of Fine Art programme at RMIT, having arrived back at Uni about 20 years after leaving school, and otherwise content to have life trundle along in a very regular, pedestrian fashion. A studio lecturer mentioned in passing one day that if I wanted to pursue the serious side of this academic art making business for my future, I would learn more about just what art is, if I ‘got out and about and unsettled’. I wasn’t quite sure what ‘out and about and unsettled’ meant, nor if it was something I should set out to experience, in particular, but I applied to spend a semester of my degree overseas, in the hope that I would be doing something like that.
New York sounded cool. Parsons The New School of Design sounded particularly cool, on Fifth Avenue, and in Greenwich Village. I imagined myself taking up the lifestyle of a New Yorker, participating in the nitty-gritty of daily life in Manhattan, but with a purpose, a mechanism for access to the beast of a place, and a reason to engage with a culture, an architectural environment and a history that had always eluded me during previous travel ventures. New York is the visual art capital of the world, as well as the everything else capital of the world, and I wanted that sort of experience. I was accepted.
I rented a tiny apartment for my stay, learning before I left two things that quite horrified me at first; that there would be no studio space at Parsons Uni for me to work in (as there is at RMIT), instead only classrooms, and, that the student accommodation provided for visitors like me was all dormitory style, sometimes 4 to a room, in bunks, with a toilet at the end of the passage. An apartment of my own solved both dilemmas, and an excellent Craigslist find of a pre-war, triangular, tiny and at first hideously filthy apartment, right on Seventh Avenue was mine for a semester. I could work in it, live in it, pretend to be a New Yorker in it, and, as it turned out, be out and about and unsettled, through it.
The American-ness of Parsons, at first, made me laugh. There was a week long welcome-fest of speeches, meet and greets, street parties, tours, introductory information sessions and oh so much friendliness. I cringed a bit, and was relieved when the semester proper began, and real classes commenced. I was excited to be finally in amongst it, getting my teeth into heavy subject matter, and taking up all that each Professor seemed to be offering by way of attention, engagement, intellectual capacity and alertness to my possibilities.
As the semester progressed the flat out rigor of the academic requirement kicked in, ramped up, scared me some days, overwhelmed me with bone tiredness other days, and engaged me in previous unknown quantities of drive, ability, production, clear thought, cloudy but fruitful thought, and gratitude toward these magnificent individuals I was under the tutelage of for only a semester, but who seemed to be taking me so seriously in return! I soaked up all they had, absorbed all that New York seemed to emit, and watched myself be every day unsettled by my active participation in this trajectory of expectation.
The John Storey Memorial Scholarship, Parsons, my New York experience, and the more general life shift that leaving ones own small town and pretending to belong in another slightly bigger town led me to think this; Visual Art, the subject of my degree, is an attempt to say the unsayable, about the previously or continuously only just knowable. It is the form an expression can take, that is on a scale or level that, if it didn’t reveal itself this way, would otherwise ooze out in more easily recognizable symptoms of upset, but instead is a work of art.