All Around the World…
(left) Students from Delft University of Technology, visiting the School of Physics at UNSW (right) Exchange student Lutz Goehring in the third year laboratories in the School of Physics

UNSW has one of the largest proportions of international students of any university in Australia. In addition, hundreds of students from overseas spend one or two sessions studying at the University as exchange students.

In 2001 several exchange students from overseas universities joined the School of Physics. Four students came from Germany: Jens Prussiet and Lutz Goehring from the University of Bonn, and Konstanze Jaehne and Meike Vogt from the University of Munich. Ilana Benjaminsen, from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, and Philip Gilpin, from Boston College, USA, were also upper year exchange students studying in the School. While on exchange, these students took the opportunity to study courses not available at their home institutions. They also took advantage of the many opportunities for practical experience offered in the School, completing the third year laboratory courses, and undertaking research projects in areas such as quantum computing, atmospheric physics, and biophysics.

Many other exchange students who are not physics majors also studied in the School of Physics in 2001. Many of these students came from colleges in the USA, and studied first year physics courses here in the School.

In July, 30 students from Delft University of Technology, in Holland, visited the School. These students were visiting Australia for several weeks to find out more about Physics in this country. They spent the afternoon learning about the research carried out by the Departments of Biophysics, Environmental and Applied Physics, and Astrophysics here at UNSW.

Not all exchanges involve students visiting Australia. Four students from the School of Physics took the opportunity to include an exchange year in their degree: Asbjorn Frisvoll at Nottingham University, Gareth Forster at the University of California, Santa Cruz, Tim Burns at the University of Glasgow, and Sam Freney in Sweden.

Physics is an international discipline, and in their future careers many students will find themselves working overseas, or collaborating with international colleagues. Student exchanges provide the opportunity to spend time living and studying in another culture, and also to find out about areas of Physics not taught at their home institutions. As one of the students from Delft commented after hearing Dr Mary Beilby from the Department of Biophysics talk about her research on charophytes “I have never heard the words green, slimy and physics used in the same sentence before!”

Susan Hagon

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