Jack - University College London

B Advanced Business
Semester 1, 2023
Travel was always a major goal for me in choosing the UK and I was fortunate to visit 10 countries while on exchange.


I wanted to really push myself outside of my comfort zone and go live in another country. I wanted the challenge of having to make new friends, especially since most of my friends so far at university have either been from high school or are mutuals. The opportunity to be independent and to travel as much as I could around Europe was also a major factor in my motivation.

Personal Development

The biggest thing I gained was definitely the friendships. I became really close with a number of other exchange students who were in the same hall of residence as me. We did a lot of travelling together and it was really interesting to such a diverse group of friends coming from countries such as Argentina, Finland and Canada. Having such a unique and special experience together means we're friends for life and I have an added bonus that I now have friends all around the world to stay with. Travel was always a major goal for me in choosing the UK and I was fortunate to visit 10 countries while on exchange. 8 of these were countries that I had never visited and so it was a wonderful experience. Ultimately, I've learnt so much about a bunch of countries and cultures while really developing my resilience, confidence and sense of self.

Academic Development

Coming into exchange my main goals were more focused on travel and social aspects so I knew that I wouldn't be pushing myself quite as hard academically then back home. However, I also saw this as an opportunity. I had chosen courses that I was really interested in and focused on actually enjoying learning about topics that I was curious about, rather than getting caught up in assessment and grades. I was also challenged a bit by the standards and learning environment at UCL, but that would be expected considering its ranking in the world. I know that some of my friends from the US really struggled with the learning style because it is so different to what they're used to, but I considered it quite similar to UQ in the sense of what classes, assessment and professors are like. The workload was probably a little more than what UQ is like, but I was not holding myself to as much of a standard as I do at home.

Professional Development

The two biggest skills that I feel I really developed while on exchange would have to be problem solving and responsibility. The problem solving doesn't relate to specific uni assignments but rather in everyday life. You encounter so many little problems that you never would back home, especially in the first month or two and you have to work through these. The same goes for when you're travelling, especially in a country where English isn't the language, you're constantly having to problem solve. Moving to a new country and having to set up your life there, with no friends or family to help you out really means you've really got to take responsibility for yourself, to a level you never had to before. I really became very independent because of it and feel much more mature and responsible than before.


Obviously, flights to get there and back and the accommodation were the biggest costs. My hall had breakfast and dinner during the week and brunch on the weekends so that helped keep some of the food costs down. Tesco meal deals came in clutch for cheap lunches. London and the UK is a great place for student discounts, unlike in Australia, most places actually have them, so using them helps a little as well.


The funding I got was very useful as It helped pay for some of my travel I did during the exchange.


I did all my accommodation through the UCL websites. They provide you with the necessary links and most of the information. I did have to do a bit of digging and reading across the websites to make sure I knew exactly what I was doing. I ended up staying in Ramsay Hall, one of the halls of residence. This one is catered and the food was pretty average - I'm not very fussy so I didn't mind it but some of my friends were vegetarian and the options for them were very poor. The condition of the building was not great, it was pretty run down and toilets were often blocked. However, considering that it was one of the cheaper options and came with food and was located about a 5 minute walk away from campus it was a great place to stay. Its location was truly perfect and the people and vibes really amazing. When comparing what it would cost to live in a similar location in central London, this place was cheap.


It's really hard to pick out one or a small few highlights from the exchange but I think some of the most significant would have to be visiting Spain with my group of friends and enjoying wine and cheese on the roof of our Airbnb, all the times we pre'd to go out in the common room at our hall and just all the little adventures you get to have with a bunch of new friends in a new city.

Advice/Top Tips

My advice would be to really throw yourself into it when you arrive and take risks. You really need to have the mentality of being willing to try and do anything because you're going to get so many opportunities to do new things and sometimes the ones that you aren't really that keen on end up being some of the most fun you'll have. 6 months seems like a long time but it will really fly by once you get settled in so don't get too complacent. At the same time make sure you take care of yourself, cause while 6 months will fly by, it isn't a sprint and you don't want to be losing significant amounts of time stuck in bed sick.