Natalie - University of Leeds

B Journalism
Semester 1, 2015

Academic Experiences

I studied a range of first, second, and third year modules including COMM1920 Introduction to Communication Theory, COMM2910 Communication Research Methods and COMM3165 Politics, Performance and Rhetoric.
I enjoyed the teaching style at Leeds, which has very few contact hours and small class sizes, which makes it easy to clarify tasks with the tutors and leaves plenty of time to enjoy exchange. I especially liked the seminar structure of my Politics, Performance and Rhetoric class, which was a kind of lecture-tutorial hybrid, and is something I haven’t experienced at UQ. There were, however, times in my other classes that I found it challenging to feel motivated, as the students at Leeds seem much less involved in class discussions than at UQ. This was not a big issue though, as the academic staff were always keen to help international students wherever they could.

Personal Experiences

I met and traveled with amazing people from around the world who I know I will always call friends, no matter how far we live apart or how long it’s been since we last spoke.
Europe is small in that you can just go to Paris or Barcelona for a weekend, but it’s also really big in that six months will never be enough time to see it all, or to satisfy your adventure cravings. I managed to get to quite a few places and experience starkly different cultures, but the most important thing I gained from exchange was the confidence in myself to know that ‘I can.’
I can go and live abroad if I want to, I can experience different and exciting cultures if I want to, and I can travel alone if I want to, too. It was an incredibly freeing experience that I cannot recommend more strongly. 

Accommodation 

I lived in the University of Leeds’ Sentinel Towers residences. It was about a fifteen-minute walk to the center of campus, and ten minutes into town. I really liked the location of my accommodation and the social facilities downstairs, which included a large common room with a TV, couches, ping-pong and pool tables.
When it comes to applying for accommodation, make sure to order what facilities are most important to you (location, ensuite, catered) as the university knows the halls best and will most likely be able to place you into the most appropriate residence better than you will, yourself. 

Budget

Thanks to a truly miserable exchange rate at the time that I went abroad, it was expensive. Really expensive.
However, I found it pays to do groceries at the Kirkgate Market, rather than at Morrisons or Tescos, as their prices are much more competitive. For example, I often paid (prices vary) £1 for three bags of bananas at the market verses £4 for one bag in Morrison’s. It’s also a good idea to get a railcard, which saves you 30% on tickets, if you plan to travel within the UK, and to use buses rather than trains or planes while traveling in continental Europe.

Academic Development and Employability 

Exchange has enhanced my studies by broadening my outlook and exposing me to new experiences. I was able to see my industry through a new set of eyes and learn about it from a different perspective, an asset which I hope, along with the life experiences I gained, will set me apart from other graduates in my field.
Thanks to my semester abroad, I feel new motivation to complete my studies and hopefully live and work aboard again in the future.

Highlight

The ease of travel was the absolute highlight of my exchange and key to the self-growth I experienced throughout my semester abroad.

Top Tips 

Don’t stress the small stuff and just go with it; everything works out it the end. Especially all the application stuff; I remember thinking it all seemed too hard and confusing at the time, but once it’s done you can forget about it and just worry about enjoying yourself in a new place and meeting new friends.
Although a semester might seem like a long time, it really isn’t long enough and you should enjoy every moment!