Thomas - Royal Holloway, University of London

B Economics/ B Commerce
Semester 2, 2017

Academic Experience

During my Study abroad semester I studied three economics and one finance course which were; Intermediate Microeconomics, Economic Growth, International Trade and Financial Management. Royal Holloway strongly encourages class participation throughout there courses and this enabled me to have a thorough understanding of each topic. However, this was also the greatest challenge for me. Preparing for classes in advance was necessary because of the strong focus on class participation.

Personal Experience

The university students at Royal Holloway were very friendly and seemed to enjoy the novelty of having an Australian student studying at their institution. I was able to build many friendships very quickly with the local students and I still keep in contact with them to this day. The time I had was not all study and prior to my semester starting I was able to travel to Iceland for a week holiday with my wife. During the semester we were also able to sight see around London on weekends and travel to local cities such as Oxford and Brighton.

Accommodation

My experience was unique because I travelled with my wife and therefore it was not possible for us to obtain on campus accommodation. This was positive experience for us as were able to live in London and I travelled by train to Royal Holloway. In my opinion living off campus was a great opportunity to have a real cultural experience and live independently. Although I would not advice this for students who are travelling by themselves mainly because living on campus provides a great opportunity to build friendships with like minded people.

Budget 

Our rent cost $1000 per month and transportation from West London to Egham cost between $15-$25 round trip depending on the time of travel. I purchased a 16-25 year old railcard which saved me 30% of all travel in the UK. I recommend this as transport can get quite expensive. Travel from London to Europe is extremely cheap, (I purchased flights to Norway for 60 pounds return) the biggest cost will be accommodation overseas. The entertainment in London varies depending on the activity, if your willing to hunt around there is often deals for cheaper options that the full price version. West-End shows vary from $80 to over $150 for a ticket. However if you go to the door just before the show starts, they offload the remaining seats cheap. Leicester Square is great for discounts and you can purchase half price tickets on the day of the show. For a 3-4 month trip I would recommend having $10000 to cover rent, weekend travel and food comfortably. More may be needed depending on the amount of travel that you plan to do.

Professional Development & Employability

The skills that were most beneficial to me were the ability to network with other cultures and apply myself in a foreign environment. London is a very multicultural city and studying there was a great opportunity to build a network of friends who came from different backgrounds and cultures. I believe this will serve me well in the future as I want to work in the international business environment, this will require me to connect and network with various people who have different experiences, beliefs and cultural norms.

Highlights

The highlight of my experience was all the places that I was able to visit during my time off from study. I made the most of the railcard, booking plenty of train trips throughout the UK.

Top Tips 

Obviously planning in advance is important. It may be time consuming and boring getting the paper work and preparations in order, but once it is done it will be less stress for you once you are abroad. I would recommend studying hard, I learnt so much from the high quality faculty staff that will provide me good foundations for continuing courses. Take time out of your study and enjoy all that Europe has to offer such as a weekend away skiing or hiking.