Madeline - University of Manchester

B Arts
Semester 2, 2019
I would definitely recommend going on exchange as it was such a fun experience for me and I had a great time.

Academic experience

At Manchester I completed a full time course load of 60 credits, and studied three subjects worth 20 credits each. I decided to leave electives to study on exchange. I would definitely recommend this, as it gives you more options of what you can study, and means that you will have an easier time getting courses approved by your faculty. Before I left for the UK I found out that one of the subjects I planned to do was no longer running, so I was able to get more courses approved quickly as I was doing electives. 

As I study ancient and modern history I chose to do electives related to my degree. I chose a first year course, The Making of the Mesopotamian and Mediterranean Worlds, and two second year courses, From Catastrophe to Crusade: Europe in the Aftermath of the Vikings, and The Emergence of Civilisation: Palaces, Peak Sanctuaries and Politics in Minoan Crete. 

The main difference I found between the academics at UoM and UQ was that there was a smaller amount of coursework. In the ancient and modern history courses I’ve studied at home, usually there is more assessment during the semester, with quizzes and tutorial participation, while at Manchester I only had an essay and a final exam for each of my subjects. While this meant that each assessment piece was worth more, it was good in the end, as it allowed me to spend more time with my friends, and to travel around England and Europe.

Personal experience

For me, the best part of exchange was getting to meet new people and to travel to so many new places. Before I went to the UK I had never been to Europe before, so getting to live in a place that I could easily access other countries from was great, and made the experience for me. Living in Manchester was the first time I had ever lived by myself, which was a good experience, as it allowed me to grow and become more independent. I really enjoyed this aspect, as I met so many new people in my halls, and got to live with my friends.


At the university there are three accommodation sites, and I stayed in Fallowfield, which is about 15 minutes away from the main university campus by bus. I would definitely recommend staying there, as it is very social and a great way to make friends. One of the good things about living in Fallowfield is that so many exchange students also stay there. I was able to meet lots of other Aussies in my hall and from Oak House, so we travelled together throughout the semester and at Christmas. 

I stayed in Woolton Hall, which is a catered hall split into five different houses. Each room has a sink, while some also had their own ensuite. As it was catered we all shared breakfast and dinner together, which was one of my favourite parts of living in Woolton. At first I was disappointed when I found out that I got Woolton as my accommodation as I wanted to stay in Oak House or Owens Park, but after living there I think it is one of the best places to live in and would recommend it.


As Manchester is not as expensive as London it made exchange more affordable. Before I went I had about $15000 saved and that was enough to afford my accommodation, food, travel, and any other plans that I made. As I lived in catered halls I only had to make lunch during the week and cook meals on the weekends, which meant that I only spent around £10-20 on groceries each week. Sometimes it would be more expensive, as I would run out of things that I used frequently and would have to repurchase them, but overall it didn't cost me that much as I was only cooking for myself. I mostly shopped at Sainsbury’s as it was close to my accommodation, but there were cheaper stores like Lidl that were closer to the main uni campus. 

The main way to get around Manchester is by bus, and you could get a student bus pass for the semester for around £120. I think it’s definitely worth getting the pass as it made it easy to get to uni and could be used all around the city. As I had classes everyday it was worth the price and I would recommend it. Many people also ride bikes between Fallowfield and the university, and I think you could get a cheap second hand one if you wanted to. 

Apart from accommodation, I spent most of my money on travel. As one of my school friends lives in London I went there frequently, which became quite expensive as the train tickets could sometimes cost over $100. As I knew I would be going between Manchester and London a lot I bought an annual 16 – 25 Rail Card for £30, which gives a discounted price on rail tickets. I think this is a good thing to do if you are planning on using the train frequently as it made it cheaper, and while the Rail Card cost £30 upfront I made the price back in the discounts. Also, when using the train book your tickets at least a week in advance, as prices increase the closer you get to when you are travelling. Trainline would often have discounts on tickets, and you could set up price alerts.

A cheaper way to travel around the UK is to take the bus. I took the bus from Manchester to London, and then to Brighton, but I didn't enjoy it, as it took around 6 hours when the train would have been quicker. 

For flights, I would recommend looking at Skyscanner, as it showed the best prices. There are many budget airlines that flight in and out of the UK, so take advantage of them, and make sure to book in advance to get cheaper tickets. When travelling around Europe you could also use Flixbus, which was a cheaper alternative to flying. While taking the bus does take longer, you get to drive through many countries and see smaller cities that you typically wouldn't see when travelling, which I enjoyed.


One of the things I was most nervous about going into exchange was meeting new people, but living in halls made making friends easy. As I went in Semester 1 (UQ’s Semester 2), everyone was moving in at the same time and wanted to talk to everyone, so I would recommend going at that time.

Professional Development

As I had never lived out of home before, going on exchange allowed me to become more independent, and learn how to be more organised. Sometimes my travel plans would change quickly, so I had to learn how to be organised under pressure, and work better in stressful situations. I also got to talk to many different people from all over the world and learn about different cultures, which will be beneficial as many employers look for people with international experiences.


My highlight of exchange would have to be spending time in Manchester. Manchester is such a large city with so many different things to do, and there is so many opportunities for travel. Getting to spend time with so many great people, who I now call friends for life, and experience university halls was my favourite aspect of exchange, and the university has a great student lifestyle. I’ll definitely be going back to the UK in the future.

Top tips

I would definitely recommend going on exchange as it was such a fun experience for me and I had a great time. Manchester is fantastic, and the university has a great student lifestyle, which is ultimately why I chose to go there. As I’d never experienced student halls before it was a great way to try it out, and Fallowfield campus is a great place to live. 

As Manchester rains a lot make sure you have a waterproof coat and shoes. I didn't realise how often my feet were going to get wet, so bringing a pair of boots is something I’d recommend! 

If you’re missing home comforts, Federal Café in the Northern Quarter is great as it sells Shapes, Tim Tams and Vegemite, and also has good food that you’d find in an Aussie café.