Amanda - Loughborough University

B Exercise & Nutrition Sciences
Semester 2, 2018
Although there were times that things went wrong, going to Loughborough and the UK for exchange would never be something I regret doing.

Academic experience

Most exchange students at Lboro do three modules but I did five as some of my modules are consist of less units. I did Foundation of Sports Law, Current Topics in Human Nutrition, Growth and Development, Sport Injuries, and Human Performances in Extreme Conditions. There wasn’t any “first-come-first-serve” enrolment or sign-on, everything (including timetable clash)  was sorted by communicating through email with the timetable coordinator. The style of learning at Lboro is so different from UQ. In comparison to more contact hours for pracs and tuts, Lboro focuses more on lectures and self-learning (readings) so it is crucial to manage your time well for a decent amount of time for readings.

Personal experience

Other than meeting friends from other parts of the world, I got to know more about the British and other countries’ culture as well. I explored the UK deeply by travelling extensively to different big and small cities and towns during weekends and the Christmas break. By taking time to go to places and just wander around the towns and cities, not only I gained photos and selfies which stored in my phone, I observed the way of how people live in different part of the UK. It was quite interesting to see such a big difference in the attitude and way of living within a country.

Accommodation

I chose to live on-campus in a catered hall. Faraday Hall is the hall I lived, which consists of around 30 blocks and my block houses 10 en-suite rooms spread across two floors. Living on-campus is convenient to go to classes and to join activities at Uni. Living in a catered hall also provides an opportunity to meet and know people during meals. The only down side about catered halls is that their menu recurrent every three weeks and the fixed meal time. Other than the above-mentioned two cons, I recommend catered halls so you can spend time on more activities instead of preparing meals and doing wash-ups.

Costs

The cost highly depends on the way you spend and how and where you would like to travel around. As I lived in a catered hall and on-campus, I nearly didn’t have to spend on food and transport (except for travelling). The rent for my accommodation (single en-suite and catered) was about £3400 for the whole duration of my exchange (one semester, including Christmas break). I didn’t travel to the Europe but instead I went to places around the UK including Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. The flexi-train-pass from Britrail was a deal to travel around the UK by train, and booking flights early may help save a lot. I recommend to prepare at least £4000 for living cost, and an extra of £1200 and if you want to travel extensively in the UK.

Challenge

I thought the biggest challenge would be the weather but the British winter turned out okay to me except for the sunset before 4pm. In fact the British culture of drinking/partying shocked me the most as I don’t drink and party, but I managed to find friends with common interest as me so it was okay. I also found time management really hard at first as I joined the Lifesaving Club (which gives 10 training sessions per week) and I went out for trips nearly every weekend. So it was quite exhausted to keep up with all my travel plans, friendship and readings. But I finally found the way to balance all of them—catch-up with friends during meal time, and study on the train during trips.

Professional Development

Of course to travel around is one big reason and intention of going for an exchange aboard, but as a student, I also tried to achieve higher grades in assessments. Therefore, I learnt to manage my time and to maintain a good study-life balance. This would be the biggest attribute that I gain from coming to the UK for exchange.

Highlight

I would say travelling is the best part of going on exchange, especially when you go for hostels or tours. I met people from all over the globe by doing so and it was fun to chat with them and get to know more about the world.

Top tips

Take every single opportunity given to you but think thrice before joining a sports club. Definitely you can know a lot people with similar interest by joining a sports club, but that is a huge commitment and may cost you loads of time. There are lots of opportunities for you to try a new sport or to practice your sport for free (by MyLifestyle). Go travel around but do spare some time for some revision.