Giaan - University of Edinburgh

B Biotechnology (honours)
Semester 2, 2022
I feel more confident in myself as I know that I have successfully lived on the other side of the world for 6 months.


I have always been interested in other people’s culture. Furthermore, I have always wanted to travel and immerse myself in different cultures. I believed that a semester exchange provided an excellent opportunity to travel and fully explore and appreciate a different culture.

Personal Development

Throughout my exchange, I made friends with many international students. Through doing this, I have learnt about many different cultures and places. I feel that this has helped me grow as a person as I am now more aware of other people cultural customs. Furthermore, both this exchange I had no interest in visiting places with very different cultures to Australia. However, now I would like to visit and potentially live in countries that have vastly different cultures to Australia. Moreover, through completing this exchange, I believe that I have become more independent and thus more willing to try new experiences in the future. I feel more confident in myself as I know that I have successfully lived on the other side of the world for 6 months.

Academic Development

At home I live far away from university and have to work approximately 25 hours a week. Therefore, on exchange I really enjoyed living on campus and felling more involved in the university community. I found that I had more time to speak to professors about their career pathways. Furthermore, through living in the UK, I was able to investigate potential job opportunities in the UK. Upon completing my exchange, I am now potentially considering working in the UK once I complete my degree. Moreover, I feel that my education at UQ prepared me adequately to do third year molecular biology subjects at the University of Edinburgh. Therefore, while I was on exchange, I did not incur many challenges regarding course work.

Professional Development

I am now more aware of other people cultures. I believe that this will improves my employability as it will help me connect with people around world. Furthermore, I am more independent and confident in myself. I believe that this will improve my employability as I am more willing to try new experiences. Moreover, I am now considering jobs all around the world instead of just in Brisbane.


I went on exchange to the University of Edinburgh. My exchange began on the 12th of September 2022 and finished on the 12th of December 2022. However, I flew into Edinburgh on the 4th of September in order to have some time to explore Edinburgh before the university term began. In addition, after the semester, I decided to go backpacking through Europe until 12 of February 2023. My exchange cost me approximately $9,000 AUD. My flight to and from the United Kingdom cost me $2,300 AUD and my accommodation (10/09/2022 to 31/12/2022) cost me approximately $3,651 AUD. Unfortunately, I did not use any specific budgeting technique. However, I ensured that I did not spend money unnecessarily. For example, I majorly cut down my expenses by cooking most of my own meals and walking to my destination when possible. Furthermore, I did an extreme amount of hiking with friends as I found this was amazing free way to explore a country. I would recommend booking your flight months in advance. Furthermore, I found preparing my own food saved an extreme amount of money. I would also recommend making a weekly budget and also recording where the money went throughout the exchange. Unfortunately, I did not do this. This made my exchange more stressful as I ended up just having to guess whether I was spending more than I should and I began to run out of money towards the end of my exchange.


I mainly used the funding I received from the University of Queensland and the money from the OS-HELP loan to pay for flights to Edinburgh and Accommodation.


I had three accommodation option. I could either rent a room in a shared house, get self-catered student accommodation or catered student accommodation. I decided to go with the self-catered student accommodation option. I ended up being allocated to a four bedroom flat with three other international female students. I really enjoyed staying in self-catered student accommodation. Firstly, staying in student accommodation made it extremely easy to meet other students from the University of Edinburgh. Also, I liked self-catered student accommodation as I was able to live independently. Moreover, I became extremely good friends with my flatmates. I actually ended up exploring most of Scotland with my flatmates. In addition, all I had to do was fill out a form to get student accommodation. This was extremely stress-free as I did not need to talk to any landlords or compete with other people. However, there were also many downsides to staying in student accommodation. For example, it was more expensive then renting a room in a shared house. In addition, I had no control over when they decided to renovate/fix our flat. Furthermore, since our complex mostly housed first years it was extremely noisy. Also, student accommodation did not feel very homely.


The highlights of my experience were the day trips from Edinburgh with my flatmate especially to the coastal town of Fife. Furthermore, hiking in the Scottish Highlands with the University of Edinburgh hiking club. In addition, meeting many new people.

Advice/Top Tips

My main advice is to stop worrying and just do it. I was extremely worried about leaving my friends and family behind and moving to another country. I was also extremely worried that I would feel lonely and homesick throughout my exchange. However, once on exchange I found that it was extremely easy to meet new people and make friends. Also, since I was in a constantly new and exciting environment, I found that I rarely became homesick.