Lauren - University of Manchester

B Science
Semester 2, 2017

Academic Experience

At Manchester, a full-time study load is 60 credits with courses being worth either 10 or 20 credits. I decided to take 6 x 10 credit courses as they had less course work during the semester than the 20 credit courses. I took 3 biology courses, 2 geography courses and one history of science course. Taking 6 courses seemed overwhelming at first but it was very manageable. Each course only had 2 hours of lectures every week and the assignments were minimal. However, this meant I had 6 exams at the end of the semester which were worth my entire grade for those courses. This made exam time stressful but the semester was pretty relaxed so I could travel a lot. The pass mark is only 40% so this made exams easier.

Personal Experience

I had an amazing experience on exchange and this is mostly due to the people that I met. I made so many friends from all over the world. A couple of American exchange students lived in the flat above me and they became my travel buddies. I travelled most weekends either around the UK or to Europe. I went on a few trips with the International Society and this was an awesome way to meet other exchange students. I also joined the Manchester Swing Dance Society which was really interesting. I’ve always wanted to try out swing dancing and it was a cool way to meet people from the UK. This was my first experience living away from home and I have definitely become more independent from having to adapt to a new lifestyle away from my family and friends.


I lived in Oak House which is a university hall located 15 minutes away from the university by bus. It’s organised into flats consisting of 4 girls and 4 boys. It is the cheapest accommodation option, so it isn’t catered and the bedrooms are small. However, the kitchen and common room is a decent size. I loved living in Oak House because it was the easiest way to make friends as soon as I arrived in Manchester. My flatmates, as well as the people in the flats surrounding mine, became my best friends in Manchester. Oak House is located in Fallowfield which is a really fun and lively student area so there’s always something happening. I thought I was going to be homesick on my time abroad but being thrown into such a social environment really helped. Oak house became a home away from home. If you are looking for catered accommodation or bigger bedrooms, I still recommend staying somewhere in Fallowfield.


Manchester is a pretty cheap place to live compared to London. Rent cost about £95 a week. I got a bus pass that was £110 and lasted the whole semester. From Fallowfield, you reach everywhere else in Manchester by bus so this was good value for money. I spent about $50-$60 a week on groceries. Social activities in Manchester are quite affordable because they are mainly aimed at students. Most of my budget went to travelling. When travelling in the UK I used Megabus as it was a lot cheaper than getting the train. Flights to Europe were relatively affordable and I used Skyscanner to get the best deals. Booking flights far in advance saves you money so I suggest planning your travels during the semester well ahead of time. 

Professional Development & Employability 

The biggest skill I have gained from being on exchange is the ability to adapt to a new lifestyle away from my friends and family. I was by myself in a new city where I didn’t know any one and I had to adapt and make new friends to create a life in Manchester. This will help me professionally once I graduate as I will find it easier to adapt to a new lifestyle in a job with new people.


The amazing time I had on exchange is mainly due to the friends that I made. I met some incredible people and they made my exchange the best experience. One of my favourite moments with my flatmates was when we made a Christmas roast dinner before everyone left for the Christmas break. The ability to travel a lot was also a huge highlight for me. Flights to Europe were cheaper than flights from Brisbane to Melbourne. I took advantage of this as much as possible and I loved being able to travel so easily. 

Top Tips 

My main advice for people considering exchange: DO IT! Exchange has been the most incredible experience. My main concern before going on exchange was that I was going to be homesick. I was rarely homesick on my time abroad because the accommodation I was living in was so social. Being surrounded by people all the time really helped. It was also difficult to feel homesick when I was constantly busy with either uni work or travelling. Time goes so fast when you’re on exchange, and before you know it you’re back in Australia wishing you were still overseas. Take every opportunity you can to meet new people, try new experiences and travel and I promise you exchange will be the best time of your life.

My top travel tip is to use Megabus when travelling the UK. Although it takes a few more hours longer than the train, it is way cheaper and saved me heaps of money. I also went on a few trips with the International Society to areas of the UK that weren’t as easy to access by public transport, for example Wales and the Lake District.