Andre - University College London

B Arts
Semester 1, 2016

Academic Experiences 

Department of Political Science

  • POLS7016: Human Rights and World Politics (Advanced). Given the diversity of the participants and the structure of the assessments which require us to develop a case study on a particular county over the semester, tutorial discussions were well-informed and lively. During my exchange I was also fortunate enough to attend a seminar hosted by a practitioner in an NGO.
  • POLS6012: Theories and Concepts in Politics (Intermediate). This course avoids the typical pitfalls of a dry political philosophy course by linking concepts with pertinent issues and events looming such as the EU Referendum and the 2016 London mayoral election. This is a great course as it encourages participants to engage intellectually and succinctly with the many conundrums facing society.

Department of Anthropology

  • ANTH7018: Human Behavioural Ecology (Intermediate). This course is intellectually rigorous, but also extremely intriguing and satisfying at the same time. It analyses how and why human behaviour evolves as a response to different ecological circumstances through areas such as mate choice, life history evolution, kinship and marriage systems in humans.
  • ANTH1005B: Introduction to Social Anthropology (Introductory). As the title suggests, this course aims to provide a general introduction to social anthropology. Point to note, ANTH 1005 is split into several courses: ANTH 1005/A/B/C, prospective students should take note and register for the appropriate one.

Some of the courses which I initially planned to do were unavailable, checking with the relevant department and browsing from their updated provisional course list is pretty much the only way around. It also helps to prepare the necessary documents to submit to UQ once you have decided, and confirmed the availability of the courses you are interested in.

Personal Experiences

It would be an understatement to say that this exchange has taught me something. This exchange has made a profound impact on me, and I am eternally grateful to be given this opportunity to study at UCL. Being situated in London, continental Europe is more or less on your doorstep. My travels have developed me professionally and holistically, it has afforded me an intimate perspective into the culture, history and diversity of Europe. I was so enamoured by Dutch culture and food (stroopwafels for the win) such that I have even registered for a Dutch course at UQ's Institute of Modern Languages (IML). Travelling also helped me professionally as I was able to witness the effects of the migrant crisis on the ground for myself, having only studied it at a policy level before. I also participated in the UCL Global Citizenship Programme which I highly recommend to all future exchange students. Get involved, and stay involved! 

Accommodation 

I lived in Langton Close which is an off-campus residential hall that is not catered for, and my rent was £159.95 per week. The cost of living in central London is high, but in terms of rent prices, I find that the residences offered by UCL is very value for money given their location, which may even eliminate the need to commute to university thus saving on transportation costs. Rent outside central London is much lower, but do factor in transportation costs and immersion into student life into your calculations.

Keep in mind that going on exchange in Semester 1 (UQ) would require spending Terms 2 (Teaching Term) and 3 (Assessment Term) in London (UCL) which may add to the cost. However, you can apply for a notice to quit (for those staying at UCL residences) if you wish to depart earlier.

Travelling can be very cheap, I usually look to Eurolines or Megabus (not paid to advertise, I wish I was!) for cheap tickets which can be as low as £1 when booked in advance.

Academic Development and Employability 

The thing about my fields of interest in politics and anthropology is that the limit to your classroom does not stop at the corners to the lecture theatre or seminar room. London and continental Europe became my classroom. Interacting with people from all walks of life imaginable from bus drivers to medical professionals all shed some light on the different aspects of life in London and abroad. I definitely have acquired soft skills needed to communicate efficiently, as well as sound research skills which will indubitably contribute to my professional development.

Highlight

Every segment of my exchange is a highlight in itself, from lounging in the Flaxman Gallery (where Inception was filmed), to frolicking in the park at Gordon Square whenever the sun is out (you will understand soon enough if you go to London), all of which are special memories forever etched my heart and head. I would say that the real highlight of my experience is still in the making as it has always been my primary objective to contribute back to UQ what I have experienced and learnt at UCL. This exchange is not, and will not be an end in itself, but rather a gift that keeps on giving.

Top Tips

  • Plan your budget
  • Research and prepare the necessary documents for accommodation and module registration
  • Participate, participate, and participate!