Shannon - University of Surrey

B International Hotel & Tourism Management
Semester 2, 2018
Experiences rarely go the way you plan, but they will always be memorable!

Academic experience

I studied tourism, hospitality and event subjects. My favourite subject was probably professional ethics, as it is an particular passion area for me in the tourism sector. There were some challenges with studying in England, such as the 40% pass grade and having to remember that getting a 1st was a good thing, not a fail. One main point of difference was that at Surrey, they make your timetable for you, unlike at UQ. But it was very interesting to see an international perspective on tourism, as it is a very international field.

Personal experience

After the exchange, I had visited 22 countries in total. I have always had a passion for travel, and I can't stress the importance it has to me, as a tourism student to experience the world. As sappy as it sounds, the friends I made on this exchange are friends I will have for life. I never would have though I could have so much in common with people from half way across the world.

Accommodation

I lived on campus with 5 flatmates, in cathedral court. I think it was the best accomodation situation because there was always someone to talk to, but not too many people that you didn't have personal space. The university was fantastic, as the guaranteed accomodation for all exchange students. I would recommend living on campus or at manor park. Please don't choose Hazel Farm, it may not seem that far away but it really is. If you want to take part in as many campus activities or club nights as possible, living on campus is the best way to experience UK student living.

Costs

If I'm being honest, England is not cheap, especially if you want to travel. That being said, there is so much you can do in Guildford, England and Europe and so many cheap flights (look at Ryanair and Easyjet). I got the OS help loan and probably saved around $10 000 of my own money. But I would recommend just saving as much as possible because you want to be able to say yes to as many opportunities as possible. Make meals at home as much as you can and just live the way you usually would and you will be fine.

Challenge

The health care system! It wasn't explained all that well when we arrived, and I unfortunately got tonsilitis quite early on in my exchange. To be able to see a doctor, I had to go in the middle of the night and then they gave me a prescription for a medicine that didn't exist. Luckily, I had fantastic flatmates, who sat with me in the waiting room and put up with all my moping. Moral of the story though: sign up for the doctors as soon as you can!

Professional Development

Tourism is a global industry, and I truly believe to have a well rounded understanding of the sector, travel is essential! By seeing international perspectives on tourism and how it affects different communities, I feel as though I have learnt fundamental lessons that will help me with my studies. I have a newfound passion for what I am learning, and can't wait to get into higher education in a specialised field. The people I have met whilst on exchange have shown me that whilst there are so many differences between Australian culture and theirs, there are so many things we have in common as well.

Highlight

The Surrey Coffee Tent! It was just down the road from my accomodation and I must have frequented it at least once a day. It was a place where I could chat to my new friends over a cup of coffee. It's where I learnt that American's aren't the stereotypical people you see on TV. It's where I learnt that people from Spain, Finland, UK, Germany, Australia and so many more have more similarities then differences and we all like a drink! The friendships I made with those people have truly shaped the person I am now. Also it's where I discovered oat milk, which has changed my life. 

*also every country I visited was a highlight-but I can't choose just one!

Top tips

Don't be afraid to talk to new people, they may become your best friend 
Say yes to as many things as possible
Go to rubix at least once (it may be more fun then you think) 
Spoons! (it has the cheapest drinks in town) 
TRAVEL TRAVEL TRAVEL 
When a lovely french man tells you not to hike that mountain, listen to him! 
Don't trust the buses (the one's to hazel farm will never come) 
University is so different in Surrey to here, so don't try and compare it. Just appreciate that it is an entirely different world, and treat it as such.