Spandan - University of Leeds

B Commerce/Laws
Semester 2, 2019
Exchange will be the best time of your life. Leave no stone unturned.

Academic experience

I studied 5 courses at the University of Leeds. I studied the International Economic Environment, Corporate Governance, Advanced Finance, International Business Finance and International Banking and Finance. Although I studied 5 subjects as opposed to 4 subjects, as I would at UQ, I found the course load to be quite manageable. All my subjects only had a tutorial every fortnight and lectures were much smaller in size.

However, I found the assessment quite different as we were demanded to do 100% closed book exams. This was furthered by no specific SWOTVAC period or pre-examination period - it was rather tacked on to the Christmas break. Another learning challenge I faced was the lack of lecture or tutorial recording. This added a layer of difficulty to revising for end of semester exams.

Personal experience

Exchange was quite frankly the best experience of my life. Although quite cliched, some of the friendships I made in Leeds will last a lifetime and I still keep in touch with a lot of them on daily basis. I made friends from all over the world - England, Netherlands, Denmark, Mexico, Peru, New Zealand, USA and America. 

It was also a great personal experience as it provided a platform for me to live out of home for the first time and also complete some solo travel. I visited 15 countries and over 60 cities during my exchange.


I was a self-catered student at Devonshire Hall. I loved it! Devonshire Hall is a beautiful residence located a short walk from campus. It offers both catered and non-catered options. I was placed in a block with international catered students. This made it extremely easy to make friends. Whilst, the food was a bit carb-heavy at times - the opportunity to share meals with some of your closest friends on a daily basis was great. I would highly recommend Devonshire Hall to anyone who is keen to have a social experience and enjoy what Leeds has to offer outside the campus. 

If you are looking at a self-catered option, I would recommend James Bailie Residences. I had a few friends who lived there and it was great. If you are looking for a catered residence on campus, I would recommend Charles Morris. However, I would note the process is extremely competitive for Charles Morris and it is very expensive.


I would budget around $10,000 for the exchange. This amount would allow you to enjoy Leeds comfortably. However, given I spent 10 weeks travelling, I spent close to $20,000. 

As I was catered, I did not spend too much money on food. However, Aldi and Tesco were great options for groceries. I would highly recommend the 3 pound meal deals - absolute value.

A night out in Leeds will cost around 10-20 pounds (club entry, drinks, cab fare). A beer ranges from 2 to 4 pounds.


My biggest challenge was getting used to the education system in the UK. I felt the best way to overcome this was to throw myself in the deep end. English and Australians have a great relationship, they are more than happy to help you out and welcome you in if needed. I would also recommend seeking help or assistance in a specific topic early as it is quite difficult to catch tutors or lecturers during the holiday period.

Professional Development

The biggest skill or attribute I developed during my exchange was developing my cultural acumen and awareness. Having had the opportunity to live with students of so many different cultures and backgrounds, I am able to appreciate the manner in which different cultures interact, think and work. I believe this will be particularly beneficial in working in international firms and also interacting with international colleagues.


The highlight of my experience would have to be a group trip to Manchester where we did the Old Trafford Tour during the day and saw Flume live at Warehouse Project at night. Take me back!

Top tips

1. You have to attend an event at Beaverworks. 

2. Say yes to everything. 

3. Take advantage of the lifestyle and nightlife options of Leeds. The way they do things in the UK is extremely different to Australia - do not stick to your Australian roots! Embrace English culture. 

4. Join a University of Leeds Sports team. You do not need to play, you can just be a social member. This is a great way to make new friends. I joined the University of Leeds Rugby Club. 

5. Complete an Otley Run. 

6. Buy tickets to events in advance. This is crucial and will save you lots of money.

7. Save early! Apply to all scholarships available and check if you are eligible for Centrelink.