Lauren - University of Surrey

B Business Management/ B Law
Semester 1, 2015

Academic Experiences

I studied in the BEL faculty at University of Surrey. The modules I took were:

  • Marketing Strategy
  • Marketing in the Digital Environment
  • Consumer Behaviour
  • Marketing Analytics

I enjoyed the small intimate classroom environment, with two of my modules comprising of only 14 students in total. The lecturers (which were often also the tutors) were able to get to know each of us quite well and to provide personalised feedback to us throughout the semester. On the flip side, they were also more strict about attendance and timetables.
My entire timetable was organised for me (I had no choice of class times at all) and attendance was often compulsory. Learning the content of the modules itself wasn't any more challenging than at UQ in my opinion. The challenging aspect was knowing what the lecturers expected from me. E.g. What was needed to get the tutorial participation marks and other assessment marks.

Personal Experiences

Initially I only made friends with other exchange students. I was able to visit many places in England during day trips with them, with some of us going on a month-long Easter holiday trip together. As the semester progressed, I was able to not only become closer to those other exchange students, but also create friendships with the university's local students.

Accommodation 

I lived on campus in dorms. My dorm had 4 floors, with 7 rooms on each floor. Essentially I shared 2 toilet/bathrooms and a kitchen with 6 others. I really enjoyed this as there were enough people to make the building social but not enough people to make it too loud or messy in the shared areas.

Tips for future students: Plan your shopping if your cupboard space is not very big, otherwise you will end up with groceries in your room. Cooking together or just shopping together also helps with budgeting as it's always cheaper to buy in bulk. Also, always keep spare toilet paper rolls in your room in case it runs out and the cleaners are not due to come for another few days.

Budget 

Once I bought all the essentials (like shampoo, crockery, bedding, etc.), grocery shopping would cost about £20 a week. Food wasn't that cheap, but eating out is even more expensive. I would recommend shopping smart and being flexible with your shopping list - Look out for deals!

Buying the railcard is a must if you plan to travel around the UK. The railcard costs £30, but then gives you 1/3 off all train tickets. As a return trip to London costs around £20, and a return trip to anywhere else (like Oxford, Brighton, Cambridge, Bristol) could cost up to double that amount, the railcard is well worth the investment.

Travelling wasn't too expensive, I was able to travel for 4 weeks during Easter without breaking the bank. Flights from Gatwick Airport to many places are around £35-50 one-way. I would recommend taking flights from Gatwick Airport as it only costs £11 from Guildford.

On average, I would spend around £80-100 each week including groceries, mobile phone plan, and a day trip to somewhere like Oxford, Cambridge etc.

Academic Development and Employability

As clichéd as it sounds, I have definitely become more aware of different places and cultures.

Nothing compares to actually living in a place for 6 months. I have been taught some different perspectives on marketing compared to what I was typically taught at UQ.

Highlight 

The single highlight of my experience was finally seeing the northern lights in Iceland after waiting in sub-zero temperature for 4 hours, 2 nights in a row. The experience was breathtaking and well worth the wait and money.

Top Tips

Just do it! 

The application process and the planning may seem daunting and tedious, but everything does eventually fall into place and you'll never look back again! My study plan was rejected by my faculty 4 times and I still didn't have a confirmation from them at the beginning of January (semester started 4th Feb at my host University). I very nearly wanted to just give up, but I'm glad I didn't!

Also saving up is important! The more money you bring, the more flexibility you have and the more places you can travel to.