Leah - University College London

B Advanced Humanities
Semester 1, 2023
The highlight of my experience was definitely the friends I made


I really wanted the opportunity to travel, and by doing an exchange through university I knew I would gain valuable knowledge and life experience that could help me as I continue with my degree. London especially has a lot to offer in the realm of literature, so I felt that an opportunity to study there would be an amazing way to expand my literary studies.

Personal Development

I have gained so much from this experience. By being pushed so far out of my comfort zone I feel I have grown a lot as a person, having returned a more confident, disciplined, and independent individual. My exchange also led me to make deep connections with others. I have made friends for life, from all corners of the world. This exchange was certainly a fruitful experience.

Academic Development

Academically I was extremely satisfied with my own achievements. I worked really hard on my coursework during the experience and my efforts were recognised. The academic environment at UCL was quite similar to that of UQ, but many of my classes took place outside of a classroom. This allowed me to see more of the city and thus made the coursework much more engaging. For example, my contemporary art course took place in various art museums across London, including Tate Modern and the National Gallery. The workload was dense at times but by working hard and using my time effectively, I was able to overcome this challenge. Overall, I think the experience has impacted my academic development for the better.

Professional Development

Moving to the other side of the world alone at 19 is no small feat, and it was not without its challenges. The experience required me to be very independent, organising uni, organising accommodation, and navigating my own way around a new busy city. On the exchange, I learnt very quickly how to be sure of my abilities and comfortable on my own. I learnt that confidence is not a personality trait, but a skill that you can acquire. These are all lessons that I think will contribute greatly towards my professional development and future employability.


Overall, I spent about $13000. London is a particularly expensive city so it was crucial to try and save in as many little ways as possible. I put my rent money in a separate account, and from the remaining money I had, I gave myself a weekly allowance of $200 Australian for food, transport, and fun recreational activities. I also had a bit of money aside for trips. I went to France, Prague, Oxford, and Manchester, as well as two music festivals. I would advise future students to save at least $12000, and section their money into rent, big expenses, and weekly allowances. This, for me, was the best way to sustain my savings.


The funding was extremely valuable! The money I received from OS-HELP went towards my rent, allowing me to live really close to campus. The money from my grant allowed me to travel, which gave me valuable cultural experiences.


My accommodation options were provided through the UCL website. I stayed in a student hall. A big pro was the proximity to the university. I was able to walk to my classes and use all the uni facilities with ease. Actually, the location in general was amazing, being so close to the tube station and to the city centre. I did expect the accommodation to be more social than it was. I was placed in a smaller flat with only one other flatmate and there were not many opportunities to meet people in the other flats. This, however, just forced me to make more of an effort to meet people, which could actually be seen as another pro.


The highlight of my experience was definitely the friends I made. This was something that made leaving London really hard for me.

Advice/Top Tips

Embrace every experience, budget well, and don't neglect your studies. A university exchange is a once in a lifetime experience. Be sure to make the most of every opportunity it offers.