Madeline - University of Sussex

B Arts/ B Law
Semester 1, 2015

Academic Experiences

Deciding to study abroad for a semester at the University of Sussex was hands down one of the best decisions I've made. It took me a while to decide which university I wanted to go to, and I ended up deciding on Sussex because of the university's proximity to Brighton, a fantastically interesting seaside town, and London. The second I arrived on campus, I knew I'd made the right decision.

At Sussex I studied art history courses equivalent to second year courses at UQ.  I had a few issues with changing around some of the courses I was originally enrolled in, and both the academic and international staff were incredibly helpful during this process. I found the workload and assessment to be almost identical to UQ, except that essays at Sussex tend to be a little longer.

My lecturers were friendly and knew their stuff. The university only has one library, which can get a bit hectic during exams, so I often made the trek into Brighton to spend a day studying in a coffee shop.

Personal Experiences

The university is located in a national park, which means that the whole campus is basically something out of a Disney movie.  On my walks to class I would usually have to stop three or four times to chase squirrels and bunny rabbits, or pick daffodils in the spring for my kitchen.  There are walking trails surrounding the campus, and it's always possible to find a field with some friendly cows hanging out. 

The campus is about twenty minutes by bus from the centre of Brighton, which meant heading into town was easy but still a novelty. Brighton has a fantastic bus service, with a 24 hour bus that runs to and from campus every day of the week.  This made going out incredibly easy and a lot of fun, as the ride into town usually evolved into a full-bus singalong.  Brighton is a pretty safe town to go out in, and there are about as many clubs and bars and pubs as you can imagine so everyone can find something to suit their tastes.

There are two pubs on campus which are always full and pretty cheap, so the trek into town isn’t always necessary.

Accommodation

I stayed on-campus in East Slope, an area of about 100 flats that are, as the name suggests, built on a hill looking over campus. This accommodation was the cheapest, and while it probably showed in some ways, I loved it there. I lived in a flat with five other people, and we shared two toilets, a shower and a kitchen. East Slope isn’t for everyone, but if you are pretty flexible and easy-going then I guarantee you’ll have a good time. It’s the liveliest accommodation on campus, and there was always something happening, whether it be an inter-flat water fight, or a couple of impromptu afternoon beers on the slope with flatmates.

Budget 

One last advantage of studying at Sussex is its proximity to Gatwick Airport. This made travelling during the semester really easy and pretty cheap. Easyjet (your new best friend) flies out of Gatwick to nearly anywhere you could imagine, and if you book far enough in advance, tickets can be stupidly cheap. I visited Iceland, Scotland, France and Spain throughout the semester all thanks to cheap Gatwick flights.

Academic Development and Employability

I cannot recommend studying abroad highly enough. It was, without a doubt, the most nerve-racking, exhilarating and beneficial thing I’ve done. 

It was also pretty surreal to spend a lot of time studying artworks that I could go and physically see in the galleries in London.

Highlight 

The University of Sussex definitely has my heart, and if you’re interested in studying in England I’d definitely study there. However, I think that no matter what university I went to, I would have still enjoyed it more than I can say, so channel Shia LaBeouf and JUST DO IT!!!!

Top Tips 

BUDGET!!!!
This may seem obvious and boring, but I managed to blow through a lot of money in my first few weeks because I wasn’t keeping track of it. Try to jot down what you spend and then you can spend your money on fun stuff, like travelling and fancy cocktails.

GO TO THE EVENTS!!!!
The university holds a few welcoming events, and it’s a really great way to meet other international students and also eat free food. I met a lot of my now incredibly close friends at these first events, and it’s a good way to suss out the competition for Queen Bee (kidding).

GET AN NUS CARD!!!!
It’s a discount card that costs 20 pounds, and you can use it at the on-campus co-op (your other best friend). It pays itself off within a week or so, and you feel like a king when you get 30p off a 3 pound bottle of wine.

BE YOURSELF!!!!
Follow your dreams; all that stuff! But really, everyone is in the same slightly terrifying boat that you are, and everyone wants to make friends. Find the people you like and they will like you, and then you will all like each other for ever.