Chloe - University of Bath

BBusMan/BIHTM
Semester 1, 2016

Academic experience

At UQ I study a dual degree in Business and International Hotel and Tourism Management, whilst I was in Bath, I focused on business courses which aligned with the Bath Uni BBA degree. My courses placed focus on strategic management and human resource management, leading and managing change in the workforce and global cultures.

I found the academic system different to UQ – with the units (courses) I chose having only 2 contact hours per week, in smaller classrooms which allowed for case study and discussion throughout the lecture. I enjoyed this method, as it enabled me to concentrate on applying the theory I learnt with examples, and less contact hours gave me more time to focus on self-learning and research in completing my course work. 

A major difference I found at Bath compared to UQ is the grading system. A ‘first’ was a score of 70+, which is completely different from UQ’s HD of 85+.- Another difference is I had to complete 5 units to be equivalent to UQ’s fulltime study load (4 courses). This was a challenge, as I had to juggle another course, contact hours and assessment. However, with Bath having less contact hours (or the courses I was taking had less contact hours) I was able to use my extra time in research.My favourite course was Leading and Managing Change as it was completely different from what I previously have studied – the course didn’t have a lecture, we formed groups of around 8 people, got given a topic to focus on, and met with the professor for 20 minutes each week where we had to discuss and bring our findings and research. From this, we used the information and discussion to develop 2 presentations and an individual essay. This course developed my understanding of what research methods worked for me, and definitely understood the topic at a more practical perspective. 

Even though it is only a pass fail, I tried hard in all my courses – I wanted to develop my academic skills and embrace the opportunity that was in front of me, so my advice going on exchange is to do the same. 

'Bath Uni had around 15 000 people which was very different to UQ’s 50 000, but for 6 months the university size is great, the quality of teaching and reputation is high and you find your way around campus quickly – it is definitely not too overwhelming!

Personal experience

Exchange was an unforgettable experience – I was challenged by the university, lifestyle and cultures that I was exposed to. I feel I have become more independent, learning how to adapt to local cultures and make the most of every experience.

I also found that others who were also on exchange were very similar to myself - wanting to travel and explore not only Bath, but around Europe, thus becoming excellent travel buddies - I can now leave this experience knowing I have friends all over the world.

Accommodation

During exchange I lived in a University Hall located off-campus and in the city, Pulteney Court - I absolutely loved it. The accommodation was a great location for a short walk into the City Centre, train and bus station and I mainly walked up to Uni (despite the walk being up a massive hill). The students in my accommodation were Masters or other fellow internationals, so I met a diverse range of people who I learnt a lot from.

I loved living off-campus, as I felt I could explore Bath more conveniently e.g. walking into town or to the Royal Crescent, rather than catching the bus into town if my hall was located on University Campus.The living arrangements in my hall weren’t new (however Pulteney Court is getting renovated) but it still had all the facilities necessary – I had a sink in my bedroom and shared a bathroom with my flat (4 people) and kitchen with 8.

Advice – even though living in private accommodation could be cheaper – most internationals do live in Halls and they end up being the people who you travel with and attend events, so I would definitely recommend living in a hall!

Budget

I have been working and saving for many years now which allowed me to go on exchange knowing I could travel UK and Europe and make the most of every opportunity - but my top tip is to save as much as you can, travel in Europe/UK is limitless, so basically you need endless supply of money and time – just kidding, don’t get me wrong it is nice to have money and do everything you want, but being a student you do get used to budgeting and knowing what is a good financial decision!

I did my big grocery shop at Sainsbury's (there is a big Sainsburys near Green Park) and picked up little things from Tesco or Sainsburys local (there is a big Waitrose, but Waitrose is more expensive). Also when travelling, eat the local cuisine, but a top tip would be going to the local supermarket and making meals yourself! It saves a lot of money!

Professional development and employability

Going on exchange – I wanted to seize every opportunity because at the end of the day you only get this experience once! I recommend to plan and be organised, that way you will fit more in, but remember to be flexible – if things don’t go right the first time, just take a breath and remember everything happens for a reason, looking back I laughed at the funny mishaps that happened – a good example, was in Valencia over Easter Break, my friends and I hired an Airbnb and we couldn’t open the door for nearly 2 hours, so we sat outside the door with all our groceries!!

For me, going on exchange was a great experience to gain a global perspective on life. In today’s global workplace, especially in business and what I learnt through my studies, it is important to understand and accommodate cultures, change and ensure strategies are developed to accommodate all.

Highlights

It is tough to pick a highlight, so I’ve come up with three. 

  1. Living in Bath. It is an incredible city – one of the best in the UK if I must say. Being able to walk everywhere made it easier to explore the city. 
  2. Fellow internationals – making friends who are placed all around the world – even listening to accents and comparing slang for example, Aus: Thongs – NZ: Jandals – UK: FlipFlops; Aus: Esky – NZ: Chilly Bin – Canada: Cooler. Definitely form those unforgettable memories that people talk about for a lifetime 
  3. Knowing that I could travel halfway across the world, pass 5 courses at a new university, make new friends and understand the cultures that surround you every day – it is an incredible feeling, knowing you have been challenged it brings a feeling of accomplishment.

Top Tips

  • Seize every opportunity – it goes so fast you’ll look back and go wow that went quick. 
  • Travel before and after exchange if you can, don’t worry about the summer job, if you’ve saved enough money just do it. 
  • Remember to live in the city you are based in, don’t just travel every weekend around Europe. For me, I had a week after exams to explore Bath, and absolutely loved it. 
  • Despite it being ‘too difficult’ or a ‘lengthy application process’ – if you have considered exchange, even for the slightest moment of your life take the opportunity and time to do an application. It will be one of the best times of your life and something you will talk about forever. You won’t know until you do it, but all I can say is do it. 
  • Be open – you never know what opportunities that living in the UK or any city can bring you! I have now gotten a job with Contiki and am moving to Roma, deferring Uni for 6 months.
Chloe - University of Bath