Kannan - University College London

B Biomedical Science
Semester 2, 2018
Just do it!

Academic experience

I was enrolled as an affiliate of the Biomedical Sciences faculty. There I took 4 science courses. Among them I took 2 third year courses which were the ones I found most enjoyable and interesting. This was especially the case for the course on the neurobiology of neurodegenerative diseases as this was an application of much of the knowledge of the CNS I had learnt. In terms of biomedical science especially in relation to the brain, UCL is at the forefront of research and thus learning at this institution provided a unique immersive experience of the field. The primary challenge faced was that there were no lecture recordings and felt that this disrupted the learning experience considerably as I was unable to go back and look upon lectures to listen to parts of the lecture I may have missed while taking notes during the lecture itself. I overcame this by discussing the lectures with friend to ensure that I had been exposed to as much of the content as possible. However I still feel that the learning experience would have been much more comprehensive had there been recordings. In terms of enrolment it was relatively easy as UCL moodle operates in a similar manner to the UQ blackboard/si-net system. After a introductory meeting for biomedical science affiliate students where they gave a booklet containing the applicable course we conducted the rest of the registrations online.

Personal experience

During the exchange I lived in UCL accommodation where I met many people from different places including France, Russia, america and even a couple from around Australia. Most notably, I developed a closer friendship with a couple people from UQ also on exchange whom I wasn't too familiar with beforehand and now back in UQ we will continue our friendship.

Travelling was a major component of the exchange and I traveled all over Europe to countries like Switzerland, Italy, Germany, France, Austria and Norway. Often I was travelling alone or with a couple other friends so I had to learn to better manage myself and be more organised

Accommodation

I lived on university accommodation at Campbell House West. I enjoyed the people and friendships I made the most from accommodation. Accommodation in London is very expensive and to those in the future I would recommend that they start looking early for accommodation. Also, living a bit further from the uni is not that big a problem as the public transport in England is very efficient and easy to navigate. The host university gave an introductory lecture giving a brief description of the uni and surrounding area. More over, we were assigned a counselor/adviser to help whenever required.

Costs

Rent was most expensive at around 200 pounds a week along with public transport which varied depending on zones travelled. Travelling can be done cheaply but one has to start looking and book early. Budgeting is important however, that is the case wherever you go and the purpose of exchange is to enjoy the experience so you shouldn't restrict yourself too much.

Challenge

Probably the biggest challenge was visiting all the places I wanted to go to. I overcame this by understanding that I couldn't go everywhere and that I should choose certain places to thoroughly visit rather than just touching on certain regions.

Professional Development

The exchange made me more open to new experiences and unlocked my desire to travel more in the future. Moreover, I have had to become more independent, systematic and learn skills such as cooking. I also developed my interpersonal skills and have developed a more avid interest in biomedical research.

Highlight

There were so many highlights but probably the one during semester was in the mid-semester break where 5 of us from UQ went to tromso to spend a few nights. There we explored the far northern city, slipped on some roads, climbed a mountain and to top it off we went on a northern lights tour where we witnessed the spectacular lights.

Top tips

Exchange is a great experience whether it be to England like me or elsewhere as you experience new culture and potentially change yourself in the process. Additionally, studying at a different university provides a unique perspective on your field and enable you to better yourself.