Meghan - City, University of London

B Business Management/ B Arts
Semester 1, 2015

Academic Experiences

I used my four Arts electives to study four Cultural and Creative Industries courses at City University: CC1001, CC1002, CC1003 and CC1005. I learnt a great deal about how the art industry, the film industry, and the other creative industries in London are structured, and how they function. I also learnt about the impact of consumerism within contemporary society.

I highly suggest saving up your electives if you plan on doing exchange. It gives you the opportunity to select interesting subjects that you otherwise may not have been able to study.

Personal Experiences

My six months in London were fantastic. I lived in student halls that were a five-minute walk from City University, which was very convenient. I met my closest friends in the student halls, and we ended up travelling around Europe together.

I really made the most of my time in London. I made an effort to walk everywhere, which saved me loads of money on public transport.

I also travelled throughout Europe. I visited The Netherlands, Denmark, France, Ireland, Scotland, Hungary, Italy, Germany and Spain. I recommend that you make the most of your holidays, and hang around after the semester to travel if your budget allows it, in order to see as much of Europe as you can.

Accommodation 

As I previously mentioned, I lived in student halls - Liberty Court. I stayed in a flat with four other girls who were also on exchange. While the rent at Liberty Court might seem quite steep, it is actually very reasonable for central London. Regardless of the price, I would advise staying in student halls purely for the social experience. You make friends instantly.

Budget 

Living in London is incredibly expensive. My top tips for saving money in London are as follows:

  1. Walk as much as possible to avoid having to pay up to 5 AUD every time you catch the tube. Or, if walking isn't for you, catch buses, they are only 3 AUD regardless of which zone you are in or how far you travel. Or, if you are set on catching the tube, apply for a youth rail card.
  2. Embrace the amazing food markets in London when you want to go out for breakfast or lunch, particularly on the weekends. The best food markets in London are: Camden Lock Market, Brick Lane Market, Borough Market, Broadway Market, Exmouth Market and Notting Hill Market.
  3. Track down the closest farmers market to your accommodation and buy all of your fruit and vegetables for the week there. If you decide to study at City University, the closest food market is Chapel Market in Angel.
  4. When travelling within the UK and throughout Europe, primarily use buses (e.g. Megabus) and planes (e.g. Ryanair and Easyjet). Trains tend to be a lot more expensive.

I would recommend you budget $15,000 AUD if you plan to stay in London for 4-5 months, and even more if you plan to stay for as long as I did (six months).

Academic Development and Employability 

Studying Cultural and Creative Industries subjects at City University provided me with a great deal of practical information about the arts industry in London. This is highly beneficial in that I plan to work in an art gallery when I graduate. I also really enjoyed the excursions that we went on, which generally involved visiting some sort of creative hub/organization in central London.

In addition to studying at City University, I completed a three-month internship at the Victoria and Albert Museum in their Exhibitions Management department.
It was truly incredible. I worked under a project manager on a number of touring, current and upcoming exhibitions such as Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty and David Bowie Is. I highly recommend that you look into work experience opportunities well in advance, so that you can make the appropriate visa arrangements. I had to apply for a Tier 4 Student visa in order to take part in the internship, which was quite expensive and tedious to obtain (about 1000 AUD), but completely worth it.

Highlight 

It is impossible to name one highlight, particularly in London, so I will outline a few:

  1. The friends that I met both in London and while I travelled through Europe.
  2. The food in London. It is so diverse and delicious, particularly the market food.
  3. The amazing sights I had the pleasure of seeing on my travels through Europe (e.g. St Paul's Bascilica in Rome, The Venice Biennale, the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland, Gaudi’s Sangrada Familia in Barcelona, Arthur's Seat in Edinbrugh, the Lake District etc.).

Top Tips

There is really only one more piece of advice that I have to give - apply for exchange right now. It is honestly the most incredible experience. I can confidently say that the past six months have been the best of my life.