Rachel - University of Bath

B Advanced Business (Honours)
Semester 2, 2022


Since participating in a UQ program in high school and becoming aware of this study exchange opportunity, I was set on having this experience. I always loved the idea of not just being a tourist in a country, but going to live in a country and experience their way of life, even just for a short time. The idea that I could continue with my degree, whilst being able to travel, broaden my learning experience and experience new cultures was to me, an unmissable opportunity.

Personal development

Words cannot encapsulate all that I gained personally from this exchange experience. The lessons I’ve learnt from traveling, experiencing different cultures, and living with people from all backgrounds are so rich. I was forced to refine my problem solving skills through countless plans going wrong; improve my interpersonal skills through interacting with strangers on the regular; learnt to remain calm in the various challenging situations, and so much more. But I would argue that the greatest thing I gained during this experience was the friendships. Living and traveling with people, as well as experiencing a shared challenge of navigating living in a new country and new environment, builds an incredibly deep bond. It’s the people that really do make the experience that much more special.

Academic development

I am a Bachelor of Advanced Business student majoring in Finance and Analytics, so a lot of my subjects were in the management department. My subjects included Investment and Trading, Project Management, Business & the natural environment, Strategic management, and Environmental Economics. A lot of these subjects either equated to subjects relating to my degree at UQ or helped satisfy certain requirements within my degree. Studying at the university of Bath allowed me to engage in a more practical style of learning. Many of my courses, such as Investment and Trading got you to practically outwork what we were being taught, through the likes of an online trading game for assignments and team simulation assessments. As UQ is more theory based, this felt like it gave me a broader experience of learning, complimenting what I had experienced so far.  I did feel like Bath was easier than UQ in terms of assessment however – where you might have 3 assessment pieces per subject here at UQ, most of my management & economics courses had 1 (max 2) assessment pieces each. While this meant I had to ensure I did well on them, it also lightened my workload. While the course selection system is also pretty straightforward, you only find out if you are in the subjects you put forward in orientation week, with any changes to other courses needing to be made in a two week window. This can be a bit tricky if you need to get any courses approved by UQ (so they weren’t on your original list of approved courses).

Professional development

Moving overseas alone and solo traveling invites a lot of challenges. Countless buses and trains were missed, plans were disrupted, and there were of course the internal struggles with loneliness and homesickness. But with every issue encountered, I learnt how to stay calm whilst I worked towards a solution. You really do develop your soft skills immensely, learning how to problem solve on the go, meet and form connections with people from around the world, work and live with different cultures etc. I believe learning how to persevere through the discomfort of first meeting people, settling into a new country, and navigating a new way of living really strengthened my character, which is vital for entering into the workforce post university.


While some things are relatively the same as here in Australia, there were some things (such as eating out) that were more expensive. Buses into uni cost about 1.5GBP one way or 2.5 return. I tried to keep to 50 pounds for groceries each week, and only ate out once, max twice, a week on average. Between flights, transport to Bath and from, groceries, going out, buses to and from uni, I probably spent around $12,000. This however, does not include any additional traveling and exploring of the UK or any other country whatsoever. Flights around Europe can be very cheap and there are plenty of great hostel/low cost accommodation options, which make traveling on a budget much more accessible.  

I did a lot of travel during my exchange experience however, a lot of which was booked on the go (meaning that I didn’t do it the most cost-effective way). This travel also wasn’t just limited to Europe & the UK – I went to New York over Christmas and NYE. This meant I spent significantly more than the recommended by UQ (about double what UQ recommends). This was a major priority for me however, so I was happy to spend this and had factored it into my budget. To anyone else who is looking to do a lot of travel on your exchange, I would recommend breaking your savings into two budgets (one for Bath and one for Travel), so that you know your boundaries for each - I slightly overspent during my 2 months of travel prior to starting, forcing me to be more strict with my spending than I would’ve liked when I was in Bath.


I received both a $2,000 travel bursary from UQ and opted to get the $7,000 OS Help loan for my exchange experience, both helping immensely. I saw taking out the OS-Help loan as an investment, an investment into an unparalleled experience I would never get again, so I was content to add it to my HECS debt. As accommodation cost just under $6,000, I used majority of the OS-Help loan to cover this. The travel bursary on the other hand helped with living costs whilst in Bath, as between public transport, food, and other activities, costs stacked up.


Bath provides accommodation for the exchange students, as long as you’re only doing 1 semester (year-long exchange students have to find their own accommodation… and it’s not cheap/easy to find). You are living in a self-catered building complex with all the other exchange and international students, so it’s actually quite comforting living with other people in a similar boat as you. However, as you share a kitchen with 6-10 other people, the cultural differences can mean that there are some challenges due to different standards of living. University staff maintained the building, cleaning only our shared kitchen every second week and were available for us to contact if there ever was an accommodation-related issue. The accommodation isn’t anything amazing but organising it through the uni makes it so much easier, which was so handy given all the other challenges of moving to another country. Also living with other exchange students helps making friends much easier, and those in my flat ended up being some of my closest friends in the end. The university provides two accommodation options - one where your room comes with an ensuite, and is obviously more expensive, and another where you get your own room but have a shared bathroom. I chose the one with the ensuite because for me, paying the extra money to have your own bathroom was worth it.


My first highlight was definitely all the traveling I was able to do – I did a 2 month summer Europe trip right before the semester started, as well as visiting Scotland and Ireland during the semester, New York for Christmas/NYE, & then went on a ski trip just before I left. Travel was a big priority for me, so I wanted to leave with no regrets. 

The friends you meet was definitely another highlight – like I said, living and traveling with other people, people that, like you, are trying to navigate this unfamiliar situation, creates a different kind of bond, and arguably builds deeper friendships. I now have friends all over the world, which is quite a unique and special thing.

Advice/Top tips

Take as much money as you possibly can – if you value traveling, you want to be able to give yourself the opportunity to go on as many trips with new found friends, if you so desire. There are also always more unexpected expenses than you budget for. Whether it was when I was traveling, or just living in Bath, I spent a lot of money on unexpected expenses, or things I hadn’t thought to include in my budget.

Go into this experience with the attitude of wanting to get out as much as possible. Say yes to as many experiences as possible, whether that’s joining a club, taking an extra language class, participating in a sports team, going traveling to other countries or just exploring locally. You will never be in the unique situation of living abroad with as little responsibility as you will have here. And it’s often when you say yes to these various experiences, that you make the best memories.