Rhiannon - University of Leeds

Living in another country and seeing such different sides of the world has been eye-opening.


I was motivated to go on exchange because I really wanted to experience life in another country as a student. I chose the UK as it's an English-speaking country with enough similarities to home that I wouldn't be completely out of my depth, but still different enough that I would enjoy a foreign experience. I also liked the selection of electives that UoL had for law, so I decided that Leeds would be my home for the next 6 months! Being in the UK also gave me easy access to a lot of different countries, and I had always intended on travelling Europe, so it was more convenient.

Personal Development

Going on exchange has definitely changed me for the better. I did a lot of travelling solo throughout Europe and the UK, and learning how to enjoy my own company and do things by myself has been invaluable in feeling more confident and self-assured when making decisions about my life once I got home. Despite being overseas, I found myself primarily hanging out with other Australians also on exchange, especially when most English people in Leeds aren't actually from Leeds. However, I found that joining the different clubs available and making British friends through the Wednesday night social event has developed my social skills and has improved my ability to connect with other people even if we don't have that much in common. Living in another country and seeing such different sides of the world has been eye-opening.

Academic Development

I really enjoyed how interactive the courses were in Leeds. Each class had a seminar that was structured like a discussion group, and hearing different opinions about a topic challenged my own thinking and allowed me to develop a greater understanding of the courses I was studying. That being said, learning a new referencing system and writing style to fit the UoL criteria was a bit of a challenge, but I found my professors to be supportive and understanding. I also enjoyed the opportunity of being allowed to hand in a draft, which isn't an option in UQ law courses! I found the workload to be similar to UQ's if not a little less - I chose high-level electives, so they were a lot more independent and relaxed. The assessment is also different with one final summative assignment instead of a midsemester and a final, with a few formative assessments.

Professional Development

The confidence I have gained and my experience with connecting with different individuals will definitely benefit me as I progress in my degree and network with more and more people in my chosen field. Having an exchange experience on my CV is also an advantage, as it demonstrates to employers that I am able to adapt to different environments. For me, it also shows that I have an interest in international law, which is an area that I am planning to work in. Talking to my professors about their careers and backgrounds has also given me a better understanding of what pathways are available to me, even if they are from the UK.


I went over with $25,000 on Boxing Day, and I found that amount allowed me to do almost three months of travelling before and during the exchange semester all over Europe, in addition to my weekly costs of living in Leeds. I was definitely traveling on a budget with RyanAir flights and hostels, but I made some good friends while solo travelling in my accommodations, and I had more money set aside for experiences! In Leeds, I found that grocery shopping for the week was similar in price to Australia, and you could walk to a lot of the places - I rarely took the bus. Leeds was not an expensive place to live - I'd say I spent most of my money on my nights out! I cut costs by buying from cheaper grocery stores like Morrisons and cooking at home when I could, but I definitely had a cheeky Nandos quite a few times.


I received an OS-Help loan that covered my accommodation expenses, and the UQ Travel Grant halfway through the semester really helped with living costs and my final bit of travel.


I knew that I wanted to be in a social accommodation, so I had looked at testimonials online regarding the housing that UoL provides and chose James Baillie Park. I ended up in an ensuite room with 4 other roommates, and even though we all shared a kitchen, we all got along really well and there were never any issues with cleaning and sharing the space. JB also had a reception staffed with friendly faces and a large common room. Even though it's a 20-minute walk from campus, I came to appreciate the distance as I got to really immerse myself in my surroundings with the suburbs of Hyde Park and Headingley. If you're after a social vibe, I'd definitely recommend JB! But there are other accommodations that are closer to uni like Charles Morris that some of my friends also enjoyed.


I did a month of travelling before the semester actually began, and getting to experience countries so different from Australia and meeting and making friends was definitely one of the best parts of my experience - I spent New Years in Berlin with two girls who I now count to be some of my closest friends! In Leeds, I definitely found the location and social aspects to be the highlights. I was able to go over to my friends' flats in less than a minute if I ever wanted to hang out with someone, and there would always be something to do in our area every day and night. Leeds itself is a gorgeous place, and seeing flowers bloom and the weather get better as the semester progressed was amazing. I definitely was a frequent partaker in the UK's park culture with almost every sunny afternoon spent sitting in Woodhouse Moor (Leeds' version of Hyde Park) lazing in the sun and playing some footy or volleyball. Within the university, the fact that they have such a strong club environment meant there was a club for almost every single one of my interests that held weekly events, and joining the volleyball and comic book societies meant that I could have fun while meeting people outside of my accommodation. Exchange was such an incredible experience because I got to try new things that I never thought I would get the chance to with friends within arm's reach. Now that I'm home, I know I've formed friendships that will last a lifetime, with some of them even in Brisbane as well!

Advice/Top Tips

There were two rules that I lived by in Leeds: 1) say yes to as much only to as you want because FOMO isn't real, and 2) nothing is as serious as it seems in the moment. Living in Leeds with my friends right around the corner or in the same building as me gave me so many opportunities, and taking advantage of as many things as I could and learning how to live in the moment contributed to my exchange being the best 6 months of my life yet. That being said, FOMO does hit at the start when you miss out on stuff, but I found that I had a fulfilling experience going to events when I wanted to and missing out when I thought I needed some time to study or to myself, even if everyone else was doing something sociable. There were definitely moments when I felt down because something had gone wrong with my travel plans or I didn't get as much done with my study as I would have liked, but I learnt that a good night's sleep can fix almost anything, and no one is thinking as hard as you do about things that you're worried about. Open yourself up to possibilities! Say yes to experiences and people, and don't overthink it - you're only in your 20s in Leeds once!