Ashleigh - University of Glasgow

B Engineering (Civil)
Semester 1, 2015

Academic Experiences

I loved everything about the university and university life!

Firstly, I found most of my lecturers very knowledgeable and helpful and my classes engaging (to anyone doing Civil Engineering I would recommend:

  • Construction Management 3
  • Energy from Waste 5

I still remember my very first lecture I had in Glasgow where the lecturer looked around the class and said, “Oh, we have 3 new students, come and have a chat with me after class”. So after class he made an effort to learn all our names and where we were from, as well as asking how we were settling into Glasgow and to let him know if we needed any help. It really made me feel so welcome!

I loved the smaller class sizes (all my classes were 30 students in Glasgow compared to 300 at UQ) and it meant I got to know all my lecturers and classmates and everyone was so friendly with each other. Despite doing 6 engineering subjects, I also found the course load less and easier than that of UQ because they have a higher weighting on exams and less assignment work.

Plus, you know, the university looks like Hogwarts.

Personal Experiences

Personally I cannot recommend exchange enough. I gained so much more confidence and independence, met the most amazing people and had a blast the entire time! There was no place I would have rather had this experience than Glasgow. The city is so quirky and charming that you cannot help but fall in love with it. There is a brilliant music scene (you can see bands waaaaaay cheaper than back in Australia), the nightlife is great, and the West End is just a fantastic student suburb.

Another plus to being in the UK is your proximity to Europe. I was able to do weekend trips to Dublin, London, Belfast and Edinburgh, as well as backpacking for 3 weeks with a friend through France, Spain and Italy during spring break and solo backpacking for 5 weeks through Germany, Czech Republic, Austria and Greece after the semester finished. Travelling is honestly one of the most life-changing, worthwhile things that you can do, and it was so easy to do all of this from Glasgow. Backpacking solo especially got my out of my comfort zone and taught me to trust in myself; I gained so much self-confidence and did so many things I thought I would never have the guts to do.

I went from living at home with my parents to travelling solo through foreign countries in the space of a semester, and it is indescribable how amazing that feeling is. It all seems so daunting before you start but really, you can do it!


I lived in the student accommodation Queen Margaret Residences with 4 other students in my flat, which was a 20 minute walk away from campus through the beautiful botanic gardens. Word of warning though: university accommodation was expensive (approx $6000 for the 6 months) but I had a huge room, an ensuite and the flat was extremely nice for student accommodation.
To people looking at accommodation options I would recommend Kelvinhaugh St Apartments as that is where most of the exchange students were and the rooms were cheaper.


Overall, I would say I spent about $17,000 over the past semester, but I really could have spent less. Glasgow and Brisbane are fairly similar in price overall, with some things cheaper (like alcohol) and some things more expensive (like food, especially when you eat out).

My biggest expensive was definitely travel, but it really isn't too difficult to do things on a budget. To save money while travelling try and book things in advance, don't be afraid of budget airlines like Ryanair and EasyJet and also don't disregard buses! They are so much cheaper than trains and often take the same time and are much more comfortable.

Academic Development and Employability 

The opportunity to study engineering in the UK really gave me a more global approach to what is such a global industry, and gave me a different perspective than I could have gotten back in Australia. I also gave me the chance to do some extremely interesting subjects which were not available back home like Energy from Waste 5, and that extra exposure helped me to find what my interests were and what path of engineering I want to go down in the future.

Additionally, the impact that exchange made on my character has been huge, and I feel much more prepared to tackle to workforce now. If I can tackle the train ticket machines in Nice, than I can definitely face a future employer.


I was unable to get this down to a single experience, but here are the top 2.

The first would be all the times spent with the many many amazing people I met on my exchange. I now have friends from all over the globe including America (so many Americans), Scotland, Lithuania, Iceland, Romania, Brazil, Canada, the Netherlands, and the list goes on. The people you meet really do make your exchange, and so many have become life-long friends. They were my family while my family was back in Australia, and I know I will always have a place to crash when visiting those places in the future.

The second highlight of my trip would have been my 5 weeks solo backpacking around central Europe. I mentioned this before so I won't go into detail here, but if you get the chance to travel solo, do it. It is great going with friends, but there is something so much more liberating travelling alone and it is something I think everyone should experience. And it won't be lonely, I promise: you meet so many amazing people in hostels that there will always be people to hang out with when you want to.

Top Tips 

  1. Travel! Whether it is one of the day trips put on by International Student Society (they have amazing and cheap trips around Scotland every single weekend so go on as many as possible!), a weekend away with friends (hint: Ryanair has £20 return flights to Dublin) or backpacking during the holidays: just do it!I managed to see some incredible parts of Scotland including the Isle of Skye, Edinburgh, Glencoe, Oban, the Harry Potter Bridge and Black Lake and Ben Nevis just to name a few, as well as spending 8 weeks backpacking through 10 countries in mainland Europe. There is something to be said about travel being where real learning begins.
  2. Join a club or society. I know everyone says it but really; joining a club was one of the most rewarding parts of my exchange. By joining the basketball team I got to meet so many amazing girls, with whom I climbed the highest mountain in Scotland, went to weekly dinners, competed in pub nights, had many great nights out and went on road trips to competitions. They honestly became like my family. Additionally, the International Student Society does amazing pub nights every Thursday at the Hillhead Bookclub (my absolute FAVOURITE pub) where you get free food with every drink you buy (if that doesn’t convince you I don’t know what will). 
  3. Be Scottish. Try haggis (even if it isn’t that great), eat a deep fried mars bar, go to as many ceilidhs as possible (this one is an absolute must, and the university puts on heaps), visit pubs a little more often than you would at home, and go to see the Highland Games.
  4. Explore Byres Road/Ashton Lane/Great Western Road. It is the greatest mix of restaurants, pubs, bars, op shops, vintage stores, tea rooms, cafes and hidden lanes you will ever find. But I will leave it up to you to find all the gems for yourself.
  5. Don’t stress so much about the application process. Take it from someone who knows: everything that can go wrong probably will go wrong. But it all has a habit of working out at the last minute, and it is all soooo worth it in the end. So start applying now!