A chance seminar by a visiting Australian academic saw Marco Rossetti swap the chilly winter of Milan for a warm summer in Sydney. A PhD student at the Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca at the time, Dr Rossetti was looking to continue his research in an English-speaking country. It just so happened that Professor Longbing Cao from the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) was working on a similar topic: recommender systems (information filtering systems that identify potential preferences). “When I met this guy, I decided it was the place for me,” he says. “Australia is an amazing country. I really wanted to go there.” Marco obtained an Endeavour Research Fellowship, an Australian government award allowing for postgraduate or postdoctoral research to be undertaken in Australia, to facilitate his study at the Advanced Analytics Institute (AAi) at UTS. “It took me a few months to adapt,” he admits. “Everything was really new.” While living in another country can be a struggle in the beginning, Marco believes that day-by-day you begin to appreciate the differences, to see the positives. “It was a life experience,” he says. “To live in Australia and meet new people, try new food, improve my English and do things completely differently. It is something that will stay with you for the rest of your life. Studying in Australia changed me.” As a PhD student in Italy, Marco says he often worked alone or with his supervisor. In Australia, however, he was surrounded by a community of peers at AAi – many of them international students – sharing thoughts and ideas and seeing at close range how diverse people tackle the same problems. “I learned to live and to work with people from different countries with different traditions,” he says. “I met lots of people from all over the world. I joined a volleyball competition at UTS and ended up sharing a house in Enmore with some of the people I met there.” He also learned to surf. “I had a full summer,” he says. “I tried all the beaches. I spent a weekend at a surf camp at Seven Mile Beach at Gerroa, but I was able to stand only a few times during the weekend,” he laughs. “My favourite thing about Australia is the nature, beautiful and wild places really close to the cities. I spent some weekends visiting many wonderful places.” Professionally, Australia was very important to Marco. Not only did it contribute significantly to his PhD thesis (aiding him in producing, publishing and presenting a paper while at AAi), it played a role in rethinking his career path. “Before I went to Australia, I was thinking that maybe I would do a postdoc, but then I decided that I didn’t want to continue in academia so I came back to Italy, finished my PhD and began job interviews.” London-based Mendeley, a personal research library and academic social network, quickly snapped up Dr Rossetti as a data scientist. Currently he’s working on developing algorithms that can be used to recommend research articles and people working in the same subject area so that members can follow them on the Mendeley social network. Surfing lessons are on hold for now as he says the UK waters are just too cold!