Marissa - University of Sheffield

B Arts
Semester 1, 2015

Academic Experiences

I took a full load of history courses at Sheffield - Origins of the American Civil War, Warriors Saints and Heroes in Early Medieval Britain, and France from 1815-1871. I loved how in-depth the discussion was about history and how complexly it's taught at Sheffield. Adjusting to a different mark scheme took some time and the fact that all my essays were due the same day was a bit stressful. The faculty also focuses most of your grade on your performance in the exam and you only do one essay which is a change of pace.

Personal Experiences

During my exchange I made great friends with a number of students on my floor.  I feel like I've known them forever.  I learnt how to budget my money and time more effectively and living independently for the first time was a bit of a challenge.  Most weekends I spent on ‘Give It a Go’ trips through the Students Union and I took trips to places like Hadrian's Wall, Oxford, and the Harry Potter Studios. I also spent one week of my mid-semester break in London which was amazing.

Accommodation 

I lived on campus and requested catered accommodation. This meant that I ended up with a group of Sheffield students rather than other study abroaders. 
For me this meant I was able to quickly immerse myself in British culture, learn some slang, and astonish them with my ignorance of classic meals such as Gammon and Egg. If you don't like cooking, then it's a good idea to request catered but be aware that your allowance won't cover three meals a day for seven days, so budget in some extra money there.

Budget 

I'd budget more than $10,000 AUD. Incidental expenses will keep popping up, be it your shoes breaking or having to find a new place to stay while travelling - something unexpected will happen that you will need to pay for.  You should also budget some money to send extra items home at the end of your stay. Trust me, you will end up struggling to fit everything into your bags with limited kgs.

Academic Development and Employability

For me going on exchange meant I learnt some new and interesting ways to approach doing history and how to think about questions from a different perspective.  In terms of employability, I think the flexibility and organisational skills I picked up will appeal.

Highlight 

It's hard to choose a single highlight of my exchange.  I'll always remember clambering through the ruins of Scarborough Castle, getting lost in York, punting in Cambridge, having a history lesson in the beer garden of a pub, watching musicals until late with my flat mates, and ordering takeaway food at 2am in the morning. If I had to choose though, the highlight would be the incredible friends I made that I wouldn't have otherwise.

Top Tips

Say 'yes' when possible, go on Give it a Go Trips, go to the Peaks at least once and try to explore new cities without racing to check off a to do list.  Also, make sure to plan your time effectively, you don't want to end up pulling all-nighters or write essays while travelling. 

Pack some shorts and fewer sweaters; you'll acclimatise quickly and regret thinking that British summer weather is still technically Queensland winter temperatures so you needn't pack them!