Cheryl - University of Surrey

B International Hotel Tourism Management
Semester 1, 2015

Academic Experiences

I chose to study both hospitality and events management during my exchange at the University of Surrey, as they are equivalent to what I am studying at UQ.  What I enjoyed most about the academic system in the University of Surrey is their focus on practical experiences.  For instance, I was given a chance to participate in a work-shadowing program at Holiday Inn in Sutton, UK.  Although it was just a two-day program, I was able to work with the staff there and have an insight on how work has to be done in a hotel. 

As for 'challenges', I would say unlike UQ, Uni of Surrey does not have any lecture recordings, meaning I had to be superbly attentive during class and jot down notes as fast as I could.

Personal Experiences

Throughout the exchange, I would say I really gained a lot. Not to mention the heaps of new friends I have made in and outside Uni, I have become more independent and got to know more about myself.

During the one-month long easter break, I travelled around Europe with my friends and it was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. 

The necessity to confront different challenges outside my comfort zone has developed my maturity and social poise, which I believe could help me in shaping a better me and overcoming other obstacles in my future journey.

Accommodation 

During my exchange, I lived on campus. Accommodation (rooms) in the University of Surrey are banded according to price and amenities. The one I was assigned was Band C (Cathedral Court), which consists of 7 private rooms with a shared kitchen and 2 bathrooms.  What I enjoyed most about my accommodation is its location.  Uni, supermarket, town and train station are all in walking distance, which saved me time and money. 

Thus, it is highly recommended for future students to live on campus- not just because of the convenience, but also the greater chance to make more new friends.

Budget 

It is not absurd to travel around during your exchange because it is definitely a great opportunity for you to explore the world and broaden your horizons. 
In the UK, things cost a bit more compared to in Australia. 

However, if you plan to travel around Europe, there are actually many cheap flights available and I would say it is a good idea to go with cheap flights and hostels if you are planning to travel around, so you can save more money on food and entertainment.  In addition, make sure you have a look at the map before your travel so you can decide on the cheapest route.

Academic Development and Employability 

Stepping out of a comfort zone is never easy as it requires extra courage.  However, participation in an exchange has made me aware of my career and future study options. I have always planned to study a Masters after my Bachelor degree, but after my exchange, I started to think about gaining more practical work experiences first as I believe that might help in developing to the best of my ability. 

Meanwhile, participation in an exchange has demonstrated my ability and capacity to cope with changes, which could no doubt equip me in working in the dynamic business environment in the long term.

Highlight 

It is hard to choose a single highlight of my experience because all the places I have visited and people I have met during my exchange are all highlights and could not be forgotten.

I feel so blissful to have been given this exchange opportunity because those places and people I have come across have made my life more fruitful and meaningful.

Top Tips

Going on an exchange is one of the best things that I have done throughout my life as it is good for all aspects of life. 

So, hesitate no more and please say 'yes' when you have the chance. I guarantee you that you will not regret that you made this choice.