Eleanor - Royal Holloway, University of London

B Arts/ B Business Management
Semester 1, 2016

Academic experience

At Royal Holloway, I studied two philosophy courses (PY2005: Philosophy and the Arts, PY2002: Mind and World) and two international relations courses (PR2490: Contemporary Political Theory, PR3570: Social Justice: From Theory to Practice). I enjoyed having a wide range of teachers from various countries with different teaching methods throughout my studies in England. Some of the challenges I found studying in a different university were that it was difficult adjusting to a different academic environment, as the classes were a lot smaller compared to UQ and none of the lectures were recorded, so it required more contact hours.

Personal experience

From my exchange, I gained independence from living on my own, away from my friends and family in Australia, which I had never done before. I also travelled on my own, making new friends from different countries, and learned how to navigate public transport in places where I didn't speak the language, such as Rome.

Accommodation

Throughout my international exchange, I lived at university in the traditional Founders building at Royal Holloway, which was built in 1886. I had never lived in college before, so it was a different experience staying on campus with other students. However, for future students thinking about studying abroad, I would thoroughly recommend living at college at the University of their choice overseas. I found it a great way to make new friends with other students who were also living at university and it was incredibly convenient not having to travel to get to my classes.

Budget

Travelling is quite expensive, so it is crucial to create a budget and stick to it. It is important to budget for everyday essentials, such as food, and then have money allocated for entertainment such as travel, plays, music festivals, day trips etc. I travelled a fair amount overseas, and I found it useful to search around online to find the cheapest flights available and the best hostels or AirBnb's to stay in, rather than just staying in a hotel.

Professional development and employability

During my exchange experience, I developed many skills and attributes. These include:
Planning, organisational skills and budgeting: I planned my entire trip abroad, including accommodation and travelling to Dublin, Amsterdam, Rome and Iceland.

Highlights

The highlight of my experience was being able to travel. As I was studying in England, I travelled to many places that were only a short plane trip away. Throughout my exchange, I had a month holiday from classes during the Easter break, so I travelled to Rome, Amsterdam and Iceland. Iceland was by far my favourite place, as I saw some incredible sights such as Gullfoss and Reykjadalur.

Top tips

I would definitely recommend student exchanges to anyone considering it! I found it an incredible and life-changing experience. Some top tips to other students who are embarking on a student exchange in the future would be to make sure you introduce yourself to people and get involved, as it's a great way to make life-long friends. It is also important to make the most of your exchange, by exploring where you are living and by travelling around.