Sara - University of Birmingham

B Arts/ B Social Science
Semester 1, 2017

Academic experience

Whilst at Birmingham, I studied a combination of Politics and Law courses as a Law affiliate at the University. The academic system was quite similar to what I was used to at UQ, with the only difference being Criminology is offered within Law at Birmingham as opposed to as its own degree at UQ. This was a challenge, as was enrolling in courses upon arrival at Birmingham; however, both were easy to overcome with the support of the faculties at Birmingham.

Personal experience

Exchange provided many lifetime experiences for me, with the meeting of incredible people all around the globe and becoming extremely close friends with them. As well as this, we travelled to many places within the UK and around Europe. All of these experiences allowed me to grow as an individual and become more self-assured.

Accomodation 

On exchange, I lived in on-campus accommodation, specifically the Vale. This provided me with a convenient way to travel to the University and also into the city of Birmingham itself. As well as this, many other exchange students live on-campus accommodation and you are able to easily socialise and spend time with the new friends you make. 

Budget 

Expenses really depend on where you are staying and what you want from your exchange. The UK is not cheap, so you do need to budget, accommodation will cost a significant chunk of your expenses, some cost inclusions (depending on your chosen accommodation) is food. Near the University are cheap supermarkets that you can utilise and as far as travel goes, investing in the railcard for UK train travel is worthwhile and getting in early for plane flights to Europe and within the UK is always a good idea.

Professional development and employability

This experience allowed me to gain independence, as you are thrown into a foreign country without the support network you would have at home. This taught me to network and expand outside of my comfort zone, both of which are important skills needed in the workforce. As far as my degree in Politics, by meeting and living in a different country, I was able to increase my understanding of many different countries and the people living in those countries.

Highlights

My highlight was having a picnic of cheese and biscuits on a lookout in Barcelona with the friends I had made on Exchange, whilst we watched the sun set and drank our sangria. 

Top tips

My two pieces of advice is for those of you with a British born parent, you are not allowed to get a ‘Tier 4 visa’ and instead are required to apply for a ‘right of abode visa’. And lastly to make the most of your time and enjoy it, because you’ll be back in Australia before you know it and the worst thing to bring back with you is regret.

Sara - University of Birmingham