Neesha - University of Leeds

B Journalism
Semester 2, 2019
It is so difficult to choose a highlight because all of the experiences were just incredible.

Academic experience

The University of Leeds has an impressive campus and I thoroughly enjoyed all my classes, luckily, I was able to use my elective credits while on exchange. The most memorable course I took was ‘Traditional Alcoholic Beverages’. Which basically consisted of fun field trips, fascinating alcohol facts and an opportunity to create our very own beer complete with a class tasting party at the end of the semester. On a more serious note, I felt I really benefited from my other classes on Women in Islam, Travel Writing and Sociology. Leeds has a really broad and diverse range of societies as well, so I encourage you to look beyond your usual classes and try out a club!

Personal experience

My time spent on exchange was a definite highlight of my life and a memory that I will cherish forever. I think that exchange is such a unique and rewarding experience because for the time that you are there you really do create a new home for yourself. Leeds is an amazing city with an awesome student culture, it was so much fun spending time at Old Bar, the Terrace and the Stylus (the Uni’s on-campus club). I loved Leeds because there was always something happening and so many great opportunities for exchange students.


I stayed at Oxley Hall during exchange and was often met with exclamations like, ‘wow, that’s really far, right?’ when I told people where I was staying. Although Oxley is the furthest student accommodation from campus (a 15-20-minute bus ride depending on traffic), I don’t think I would change my experience at all. Oxley has beautiful grounds and I was really fortunate to meet heaps of wonderful people there. Another bonus of Oxley was that it was mainly English students, so it was great to immerse in the local culture. Oxley is really close to a lovely nature reserve area called Meanwood Valley, which was lovely to go on walks through.


The loan available for exchange students from UQ that then goes onto your HECS is definitely worth taking advantage of. I found that the cost of living for accommodation, food, and transport was very similar to what I had been paying living out of home in Brisbane. Leeds is a lot less expensive than London and I tried to stick to a budget during University time so that I had more to spend on trips. It is definitely important to have some money saved before going on exchange because you want to be flexible and ready for unexpected costs like bedding, bus passes, and night club entry. Also, make sure you have money saved so you can savour the moment and take spontaneous trips throughout the semester! There are always heaps of opportunities to travel and with being such close proximity to Europe you want to make the most of your time.


For me the biggest challenge was learning not to compare my exchange experience to others. You are constantly surrounded by other exchange students and social media showing the highlight reel of everyone’s experiences. I think recognising that your experience won’t be the same as others really helps you to keep perspective and stay in the moment. There will be weekends where you might rather chill in Leeds and catch up on assessment rather than jet setting off to another country, and that’s fine! Exchange can be really overwhelming at times and I think it is really important to take breaks when you need to and not feel guilty for it. You are already taking a huge step just by going on exchange so don’t be so hard on yourself if you feel like you might not be doing ‘enough’.

Professional Development

The University of Leeds has an amazing Student Union and so many incredible societies. I study Journalism so it was great to get involved with Leeds Student Television and write for some of the great student blogs on campus. It was actually really inspiring to see students taking initiative and creating amazing platforms for students to be creative on. After exchange I think I will focus more on opportunities that may feel out of my comfort zone to help with my professional development.


It is so difficult to choose a highlight because all of the experiences were just incredible. I loved exploring destinations in Europe that I had never thought about traveling to before- Montenegro and Slovenia were definite highlights. I think the part of exchange that surprised me the most was how fond of Leeds and the UK I became throughout the whole experience. I really enjoyed visiting York, a quaint town famous for inspiring Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley, just a 30-minute train ride from Leeds. I loved experiencing a different climate and enjoying the snow in Switzerland was really special.

Top tips

Make plans! The semester went quickly and having a monthly travel plan really helped put my mind at ease. I’d highly recommend attending trips with ‘Get Out Get Active,’ they organise weekend hiking trips through the Yorkshire Dales and other amazing natural wonders nearby Leeds. Use Skyscanner to find cheap flights and keep an open mind with where you want to travel to, you never know what you might discover. Travelling takes effort but it is so worth it, talk to other exchange students and if you have similar budgets try traveling as a small group- it will help to split up the tasks as well like finding accommodation, flights, etc.