Christine - University of Manchester

B Arts/ B Law
Semester 1, 2016

Academic Experience

I studied three law subjects at the University of Manchester which equated to a full course load back at UQ. I studied Intellectual Property Law, International Courts and Tribunals and Communications Law and Regulation.

Apart from Intellectual Property Law, the other two subjects were much more theoretical compared to the subjects I study back home, so that was at times a challenge. I enjoyed the smaller class sizes (some of my courses only had about 20 students and each seminar only had about 6-8 students in the class), which gave us the opportunity to participate in the classes more and in turn made us prepare harder for the classes.

Personal Experience

Being on exchange was such a different experience for me because back home, I keep myself quite busy with study, work and extra-curricular activities, but on exchange I didn't have to work and didn't have any commitments other than to just enjoy myself. I took advantage of the free time I had to do all the things I didn't have time to do back home, and the University of Manchester offers so many things for students to do! While there, I went on the very affordable weekend day trips of different areas of the UK organised by the International Society, learned Salsa, Taekwondo, self-defence, and different languages with friends, to name a few.

This experience also helped me become more independent - while there is always a support network back home, being halfway across the world, whenever I had any problems come up, I had to take care of it myself. It can seem a bit daunting in the beginning when you first move in and are doing your first round of grocery shopping and buying your kitchenware, but you get used to it very soon & will learn to really enjoy taking care of yourself!

Accommodation

I lived on the Fallowfield campus in Sheavyn House. It was a self-catered, ensuite room with a kitchen shared with 9 flatmates. I really enjoyed living in a self-catered call where I could cook my own meals at the times that best suited me, and having a common kitchen area with my flatmates meant there was a place where everyone could hang out together. I would also recommend living in Fallowfield as a student on exchange as there is definitely a more social vibe compared to city campus (where I initially started the semester).

Sheavyn House also hosts a ball in second semester (first semester UQ) which was a lot of fun and there are other social events organised by the committee such as pre drinks, movie nights and BBQs.

Budget 

All in all, I spent on average approximately $130AUD a day, which is a bit more than average. You can shop for a week's worth of groceries from the cheaper supermarkets for about £15-20 while you're in Manchester and nights out can be quite affordable. I opted to do as much travel as I could while I was in Europe as this is my last year of university and therefore spent more than the average exchange student on my travel expenses (including a snowboarding trip and a sailing tour which were both quite expensive) and entertainment expenses like concert tickets.

Professional Development & Employability

The University of Manchester's Law School provided its students with lots of professional development opportunities such as job interview preparation seminars, CV/cover letter writing seminars as well as informing its students about job opportunities, so I would definitely take advantage of those sessions.

Personally, my exchange experience helped me further develop my organisation skills and helped me learn how to cope with any curveballs thrown at my plans. It also helped me prove to myself that I am capable of moving to a different country and develop my own network of friends, which I was hoping to do as I wish to work overseas at some point in my career.

Highlights

It's difficult to pinpoint a specific highlight of my experience. Overall, I would have to say it's the people that really made the experience for me. The places I visited were always much more impressive and amazing because of the people that I visited them with, or met while I was there. It's so easy to make friends when there are so many people who are also away from home and looking to do the same things as you, and now I've left Europe with friends in so many different places that I have to go visit!

Top Tips 

I would say plan your exchange early and start saving up because you don't want to miss out on experiences while you are overseas because you are running short on money.

That being said, don't try too hard to plan every detail of every day. The best experiences I had were the last minute/spontaneous trips I took!

Don't be too worried about feeling homesick - I thought I would be the last person in the world to get homesick but still went through a bit of a downward spiral in my first week away from home, but as soon as you've settled into a routine, you'll feel like your host university is now your new home & your flatmates are your new family!

If you're worried about the weather in Manchester, don't be - it's not nearly as bad as everyone makes it out to be.