Faith - University of Sussex

B Health Science
Semester 1, 2016

Academic Experience

I studied a full load with three subjects (one subject was worth 2 UQ courses). I did microeconomics, sociology of medicine and politics of the body. I loved my courses. The structure of university at Sussex was very different to UQ. Classes weren't compulsory, which was good for travelling and also meant that only the people who really wanted to be there went- which made for better discussion.

The university itself was small and this was great for classes. I found it challenging that they only had one or two assignments for classes and I felt that they didn't assess you on enough of the content. I loved how they promoted your own thinking and opinions on all matters which was great for stimulating critical thinking.

Personal Experience

Studying at Sussex University was an amazing experience for me. It is located in Brighton, an extremely liberal part of England which allowed me to be informed about lots of different perspectives I hadn’t really explored before. I participated in protests and met people who have completely changed my view on certain topics. This allowed me to grow as a person and I think has allowed me to better critically think about subjects, especially in my studies. Exchange is a different experience for everyone, and know two are alike- although most are positive experiences. For me exchange was about individual growth. I learnt so much about myself whilst at Sussex University, who I am and who I want to be. I think that this was the most important part of my exchange.

I travelled to a couple of places by myself (Edinburgh and Krakow) and this was completely out of my comfort zone but I had so much fun! Travelling by yourself is a unique experience and you can make what you want of it. It allowed me to make new friends and meet people I may not have if I was with others. Whilst studying I travelled A LOT, I went through the whole of the UK (Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England), Paris (twice), Spain, Croatia, Switzerland, Italy, Denmark, Poland and the Netherlands. I personally liked to stay in one place a little longer so I didn’t do as much travelling as others but I did see a lot of amazing things. A lot of the travel I did was with other exchange students I met at Sussex, who will now be my life-long friends. Most exchange students want to see and do as much as possible so it’s awesome to meet all different kinds of people- you then also know people from all over the world.

Although travelling is great, make sure you explore the local culture. Brighton had a lot to offer, street food, beach, a pier and easy access to the rest of England. My personal favourite was the Brighton fringe festival, a celeb ration of the arts. There were so many free and cheap events that made for great things to do at night. Brighton also had heaps of student discounts from food to clothes, which made sticking to a budget a bit easier!

Accommodation 

I lived on campus and this meant that I met a lot of English University students as well. On campus there are lots of student nights and activities to do throughout the week; as well as sport on offer. As long as you put yourself out there you will never be bored. Whether it’s going out to the vast amount of nightclubs in Brighton, strolling the national park and looking at cows, playing a team sport or joining a society- there is always something to do! I would recommend living on campus just so you are fully immersed in the university culture.

Budget

When I went to England it was EXPENSIVE. However, I believe the dollar may have gotten better, just as I left. Make sure you keep on top of your money and you'll be fine. Take a OS-help loan to be safe and then you can always pay it off straight way when you get home if you don't use it. That way you won't stress as much about money. I would say spend your money on experiences not things. Especially since you can only take so much luggage! I had about $15000 for the semester and came home with some leftover and did everything I wanted to do.

Professional Development & Employability

I believe that I have become more comfortable with who I am. I feel like I am able to more easily express my opinions and thoughts on subjects and love that feeling. I find it easier to meet people now just because I was forced to so much on exchange! I also think I am more aware of cultural differences and being more understanding that not everyone has come from the same background as you and you have to take that into account when working with people from different cultures.

Highlights 

The absolute highlight of my experience was the people I met. I have made life-long friends. From just hanging out together after classes, to travelling to different countries. The experience of making these friendships was my favourite.

Top Tips

I would say to go in with a positive attitude but realise that there will be times when you miss home and that's OK. Be mindful of how you are feeling and reach out for support if needed. There are a lot of exchange students and the exchange community is really supportive. The university is always there to talk to as well and the faculty are really helpful!