Caitlin - University College London

B Secondary Education/ B Arts
Semester 2, 2017

Academic Experience

At University College London I was enrolled in a History program where I studied courses covering various points in history. These included British History 1850-1990, Bronze Age States in the Ancient Middle East, Building the American Nation, and Enlightenment Ideas of Ethnicity and Race. The Enlightenment course that I completed was an advanced third year course, and as I was an international second year student I found the course to be quite challenging. However, I overcame this by making the most of my tutor's office hours and not giving up hope. As a result of this extra effort, this once challenging course quickly became my favourite class to attend. 

Personal Experience

The most important thing I gained from my exchange was increased confidence. By flying to the other side of the world by myself, having to make a whole new set of friends, living out of home for the first time, and having to navigate life in London, I was definitely forced out of my comfort zone. And as a result amazing things happened.

Accommodation 

I lived in university run halls. My accommodation was a quick 15 minute walk from uni and was located in central London, which made my free time very exciting. I had my own room and shared the flat with five other people with a large communal kitchen and two bathrooms between us. My flat mates were from all over the world- The Netherlands, Germany, The United States, Italy, and Hong Kong. It was so amazing to be able to live with so many people from all over the world and share our stories and experiences. I would advise everyone to live on campus, or in university managed accommodation as it is a very special experience.

Budget 

Rent was very reasonable for the amazing location my accommodation was in, however this was because it was managed by the university. My accommodation was self catered so each week I would walk to the local grocery store and stock up on my food for the week. At the start of each week I would make a massive curry or pasta dish that would last me the whole week. This proved to be a great money saving exercise. I hardly had to pay for any transport as my accommodation was in such a good location. This was lucky as public transport in London can be quite expensive.

Professional Development & Employability

Due to constantly socialising and making new friends everyday for the entirety of my exchange, I now feel far more comfortable and confident in meeting new people. Also, by studying at such an excellent university, and observing the teachings of the esteemed academics that worked there, I have gained great insight into how I wish to model my own teaching.

Highlights 

The highlight of my experience was all the great friendships I made throughout my three months of living in London. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience and I am so glad I grasped the opportunity and made the most out of it.

Top Tips

I definitely recommend participating in an exchange. I was incredibly scared and nervous the months leading up to my exchange, but now I wish I had just been filled with excitement. I only did a one semester exchange, however I fully recommend considering doing a full year abroad. Also, plan travel either before or after your study. I did a month of travel around Europe with a friend after completing the semester and it was such an amazing way to finish off the whole experience.