Brooke - City, University London

B Arts
Semester 1, 2019

Academic experience

I completed my semester abroad at City, University of London. I was enrolled in elective subjects which made the semester somewhat more interesting and stress free. 
I really resonated with some of the subjects and I felt that the lecturers were really engaging. I completed two journalism subjects which were quite practical. One was called ‘Photo Journalism’ and I was required to use a professional-standard camera. It didn’t matter whether I owned a camera or whether I had experience. The university loaned me a camera for the whole semester, and I was taught how to use it. 
Not all the lectures at the university were recorded which made it difficult at exam time because you could only rely on your notes and readings. I have become used to listening back to the lecture recordings, but I think it was good practice to ensure I write clear notes. 
The grading system took a little getting used to. On the whole, their grades sit lower than ours and although sometimes I felt I wasn’t achieving that well, I actually was. 
Overall, I felt the university had fantastic customer service. They were very helpful and made everything very easy. They provided breakfast on the first few days and wine and cheese in the evenings. I felt very informed within the first week and supported throughout the semester.

Personal experience

I had been to London before, however only as a tourist. I was very keen to get to know my way around like a local (somewhat). I remember going to meet some friends close to the end of my experience and not needing to look up any transport guide to know how to get there. I felt very proud about that. 
It wasn’t the first time I lived overseas nor travelled, so I didn’t feel like I was stepping into unknown territory. I was quite comfortable with the whole experience and very excited.

Accommodation

Luckily for me, I had some friends that lived in London. They were very happy to rent a room to me for an affordable price. This made things so much easier and I really felt at home in a way.

Costs

The UK is expensive, particularly due to the current exchange rate. I had to be very careful with my spending which also meant that I couldn’t do all the tourist attractions I wanted to do. Also, I had to limit eating and drinking out and rather cook at home or buy very cheap wine. 
The OS-Help loan paid my rent for the full 6 months. The scholarship money definitely helped to pay for additional European travel. However, I still needed to rely on my own savings. 
City University had a gym which had an affordable month by month membership fee. I relied on cheaper ways to get my experience and live a life without breaking the bank.

Challenge

It was a little challenging meeting people outside of the exchange program at the university. I made a few friends; however, the busyness of London can make it challenging for people to catch up regularly.

Professional Development

I view all my study as professional development and I believe any travel abroad broadens your perspective on life and allows you to grow whether professionally and/or personally.

Highlight

One of the biggest highlights was travelling to other European countries. I travelled to Poland, France, Portugal, Scotland and Ireland. I have already visited some other European countries, so these were still on my list. I don’t have a favourite; however I was lucky to catch up with friends who live in these countries. I feel it is the best way to see a place as you get a real local tour.

Top tips

Make sure you are aware of the costs and have enough finances to get you through, however you can always make more money when you come home….so just do it anyway. That was my moto. 

Try to integrate with local people and activities. Don’t just stick to the tourist track.
 
Plan and book well ahead of time. Transport and accommodation get more expensive as time draws near. 

Ryanair is fine. 
Get the Student Oyster card and buy weekly travel cards if you are travelling a lot in London. It will save you a lot of money. 

Don’t forget to ask if they do student discounts wherever you go. It is very common. 

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