Kate - City, University of London

B Psychological Science (Hons)
Semester 1, 2016

Academic Experience

I studied courses within a Psychology degree in my host university including Judgment and Decision making, Memory and the Law, Developmental Psychology and Introduction to Counselling Psychology

Personal Experience

It took some time, but I developed the skill to be able to overcome the fear of rejection and strike up a conversation with almost anyone. This was a huge deal for me as it was one of my goals. The experience is borderline unexplainable - the friendships you make are so unique and life-long because you are experiencing this whole new world together. I luckily made at least 5 really close friends, from different parts of the world.

I was fortunate enough to be able to travel as much as, and to anywhere, I wanted which I am eternally grateful for. I was able to explore off the beaten track a little bit and went to somewhat unusual places, different to the typical european-experiences and was not disappointed in the slightest.

Accommodation

My university (being in the centre of London) did not provide on-campus accommodation simply because of the university's size and location (which was amazing), however there was a huge amount of Student Accommodation that they recommended. Unfortunately it was all booked out for my semester, but I was lucky enough to stumble upon the website called Accommodation For Students - which is a platform for, in my case, taking over half of other people's year-long leases, so was able to find student accommodation in Liberty House for my semester abroad. 

Budget 

For me, rent was undoubtably the most expensive necessity. Living in the centre of London is obviously a costly place, so if you are thinking about City University in London I would definitely be saving as much as possible - depending on exchange rates, up to $15,000 purely for accommodation.

Food was not, in my opinion, too expensive, and London is quite a walkable city so if transport is too costly for you I wouldn't fret too much. Another goal of mine was to travel as much as I could, so that was another huge area of expense for me.

I would recommend, if living in the centre of London, a bare minimum of $25,000 savings, around $30,000 to be sitting comfortably (including rent). 

Professional Development & Employability

I have found that problem solving just comes with the territory of any travelling, undoubtably things will go wrong and you learn that you can't let it get you down, you just have to work around it and find a way to fix it! My problem solving skills have definitely vastly improved.

Also as previously mentioned, my confidence in breaking down interpersonal barriers and ability to feign (and subsequently develop) confidence in those settings has also improved with friendship making, which is obviously useful in any profession.

Highlights 

It's impossible to say what the highlight of my entire experience was. The independence you develop from living alone in such a huge, busy city its massively liberating, and of course the unbreakable friendship bonds you develop (cliche, but true).

Other than that it would probably be the travels I went on, especially when I went with new people I hardly knew, because the quality of those friendships that develop is unexplainable.

Top Tips

My advice would be to set goals. Write them down, hide them in your diary if they are private, whatever it takes, but set goals. Even if you never look at them, they will be your internal motivation to put yourself out there.

Other than that, save money. Save like you have never saved before because a) you'll need it, and b) you'll want it to allow you the freedom of doing every opportunity that comes your way.

One piece of advice I'd give also is, if you think you can handle it, I would definitely look into shared accommodation - share house, or dorm-like student accommodation, whatever it is. It is such a bigger motivation for getting out there and exploring when you are feeling homesick, or even just so many more opportunities to get out and have fun, than when you are on your own (plus it would be cheaper - bonus).