Frazer - University of Nottingham

B Science / B Education
Semester 2, 2017

Academic Experience

I had real difficulty getting into the courses that I needed/wanted to and as a result I had to change my major. The courses themselves were enjoyable and mostly taught by renowned, seasoned academics, but the whole enrolment procedure and the timetabling is a nightmare. They organise their timetables before enrolment so there is a high chance of clashes if you are an exchange student not in any particular program of study. Lectures aren't guaranteed to be recorded either so clashes can actually be highly problematic. Even if you can work around a clash though, they might not let you do it simply because it is against university policy. The cut off date for changing classes is really early as well - I think it is about two and a half weeks into semester. This was problematic for me because a maths class I enrolled in turned out to be way too hard. Lucky, a sympathetic lady in Life Sciences adminstration had compassion on me and changed my enrolment after the cut off date. That's the other thing, if you do need to change your enrolment, it's not as easy as signing into beloved sinet; you actually have to go into student services and possibly wait for hours in a line so that one of the admin staff can do it for you.

Assessment is very different from UQ in that most assessments occur towards the end of semester and the exams are very highly weighted. It's not uncommon for an exam to be worth 100%. Also, many exams, even in science subjects, are essay-writing exams. This was a little daunting for me because I haven't had to write an essay in an exam since high school, but I found it to be a quite reasonable form of assessment.

Personal Experience

I got to do a lot of travelling while I was over there and saw some beautiful places and met some lovely people. I learnt a lot from travelling alone. In particular I think I became more assertive and also gained insight into the inherent goodness of all humans. During term time, I travelled to Leicestershire, North Yorkshire, York, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Manchester and London. Over Christmas I travelled to Germany, Austria, Italy and France. After semester I travelled for a week in Scotland and then did a week long piping course at the National Piping Centre in Glasgow. The course was an expensive part of my trip, but was worth every penny as I was able to improve my bagpiping skills a lot during my time there.

Accommodation 

I lived off campus on a student accommodation run by a student accommodation company in conjunction with the university. It was okay. I don't really like the boxed-in feel of student accommodation, but I survived. Everyone in my flat was an exchange student which was good because most of the British people there were first years and I really didn't want to live with first years.

If I hadn't arranged my accommodation before hand, I could have arranged it fairly easily shortly after I arrived and probably gotten a cheaper deal in a share house or somewhere else. There is plenty of share houses with spare rooms from what I observed. I probably saved a lot of hassle arranging it before hand, but I think it would have been nice to live in an actual house.

Professional Development & Employability 

My exchange was kind of turning point for me in my career direction as I completely changed my mind about what I want to do after I graduate. I also feel like I learnt a lot that will be useful in my future employment, such as increased assertiveness, as I mentioned earlier, and a greater appreciation of people.

Highlights 

The highlight of my experience was definitely my last two weeks in Scotland. I did a lot of hiking during my time overseas, but when I was in Scotland I did my favourite hike, which was a three day one along the north-eastern coast. I also travelled up into the Highlands. The scenery was amazing and the people in Scotland are among the friendliest on earth.

Top Tips 

If you are considering going on exchange I would implore you to make sure you have good backups for all your subjects. Expect everything to fail and if it isn't going to turn our well if it does, then I would suggest looking at going to another university.

There isn't any reason not to go on exchange besides the one I just mentioned. If you have no money, OS HELP and Centrelink have got you. It sounds irresponsible for me to tell you not to worry about money, but it's really just investing in your future. You may never get an opportunity like this again.