Sarah - City University London

Bachelor of Arts/laws
Semester 1, 2018
My exchange was a wonderful and exciting experience and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to have had so many adventures.

Academic experience

While on exchange at City, I studied four law courses. I studied Intellectual Property Law, International Human Rights Law, International Criminal Law, and Media Law. I enjoyed the smaller class sizes and the opportunity to study law in another common law jurisdiction. I also found the lecturers to be engaging and approachable. 

One of the challenges I encountered while on exchange was three out of four of my lecturers participating in a union strike, which meant that several of my classes were cancelled and the course content had to be revised and reduced. As I result I engaged in much more independent study. I found the content of the courses at City to be easier compared to UQ, but it’s possible that if I hadn’t been on exchange during the strike period that my academic experience might have been different. 

The group of law exchange students was small so I felt as though we had a good level of support from the staff during our enrolment and registration process. We were also given the opportunity to select our courses online before arriving. I felt comfortable contacting the exchange staff if I had any issues.

Personal experience

I was fortunate to meet some lovely people while overseas and my exchange gave me the opportunity to have some amazing adventures while travelling. So many incredible places are easily accessible from London so I was able to visit France, Austria, Italy, and Ireland. I also did several trips within England itself. 

I was especially grateful to have the opportunity to live and study in London. The city is filled with so much history and it is constantly changing and evolving. I loved being able to constantly visit new sights after finishing uni for the day and exploring new areas on weekends. I truly grew to love London and revelled in everything that it had to offer.

Accommodation

I was fortunate to live in a wonderful studio apartment, which was only a fifteen-minute walk away from the Clerkenwell campus. I originally applied to stay in the university’s student accommodation, but my application was rejected due to the high volume of students applying. The university accommodation team contacted at a later period to let me know that a position had come available, but by this point I had already made a booking somewhere else as it was close to my leaving date. 

It can be quite difficult to arrange student accommodation for a single semester so I would recommend looking at potential fall back options early. If possible, I would recommend living centrally in order to save on transportation costs.

Costs

London is a very expensive city to live in. For me, my biggest expenditure was accommodation although things such as transport and food can add up. Entertainment and eating out can be costly ( for example, a student movie ticket is around 13 pounds) so I would advise having a budget before going on exchange. I would advise getting a 16-25 railcard and applying to have a student discount attached to your Oyster card. Also getting the bus instead of the tube is a good way to see the city while saving money. 

I lived comfortably because I saved for a long time prior to going on exchange and was over prepared. But I would recommend saving at least $15 000 before going on exchange.

Professional Development

While on exchange I become more independent and resourceful, which has positively contributed to my professional development.

Highlight

I had many wonderful experiences while on exchange, but some stand out moments include seeing snow for the first time and being in the crowd during the royal wedding at Windsor. I also saw Prince William and Kate attending a charity event while I was walking home from uni one day!

Top tips

I would advise any student considering doing an exchange to definitely take the leap. I would recommend saving as much money as you can before leaving as London can be very expensive. Buy a 16-25 railcard if you plan on doing a lot of trips within England. Also download the Citymapper app to help navigate around London. I have a terrible sense of direction so I found this app indispensable! 

Look at Voxi if you want a mobile plan with a lot of data. I found it extremely helpful when I was travelling in Europe.

Also walk around London as much as you can. You can find the most wonderful spots just by picking an area of London and exploring it by foot.