Marco Sarussi

Country of origin: United Kingdom

Operations Management Graduate Trainee, Associated British Foods

Marco spent a year abroad at La Trobe University, near Melbourne, as part of his Business Studies degree. Back in Lancaster, he then took an active role in the Lancaster Study Abroad Society. 

The decision to study abroad was without a doubt the best decision I have ever made!

In Australia, the academic year starts in February, I therefore joined La Trobe University in their second semester commencing in July. As soon as I arrived at my accommodation, I was warmly welcomed and handed a ‘stubby’. The difference in culture and language was more than I expected. However within a couple of weeks it was normality. An extremely good normality, I have to say!

I attended an International Orientation Welcome Week where I made more friends and met others from the UK in a similar position. This is a great way to meet like-minded people who I ended up travelling with over the holidays. The welcome week was extremely helpful and prepared me for the beginning of the semester.

La Trobe University is a campus university, a bit larger than Lancaster. There are three colleges, all of which compete against each other in various sporting events - similar to Lancaster. I was privileged to win a gold medal in the Ring Road Relay for my college Menzies, which led us to win the ‘Sporty’ Cup. Getting involved in college life is important and is an easy way to make friends. There were various facilities within my college, including a free gym, bar and of course numerous barbeques.

The majority of the assessment weighting for my course modules was placed on the final exam, leaving the other weighting on various assignments, presentations and group work. I also gained marks for attendance and participation in tutorials. The learning style at La Trobe was similar to Lancaster, so the transition was smooth and I did well academically during my year abroad.

In my free time I participated in activities ranging from snorkelling to skydiving as well as visiting world famous beaches. I spent Christmas on the beach - it’s hard to comprehend, I know! I travelled to both Australia and New Zealand and met people that will be friends for life.

As well as being very enjoyable, my study abroad year helped me to develop various key skills. The experience increased my confidence and my awareness of diversity. It has also helped me to communicate effectively with people from different cultures which increases the ability to work successfully within a multicultural team. Many graduate positions involve working abroad on a project, therefore by studying abroad you are at an advantage. It shows employers that you are self-motivated and relish a challenge.

If you ever have the opportunity to study abroad, you should grasp it with both hands! It was the best year of my life.

I have now secured a graduate job with Associated British Foods, working within Supply Chain. This will involve me rotating roles and locations every six months. My first placement is in London and I cannot wait to start!