Joe - Loughborough University

Bachelor of Arts/Social Sciences
Semester 1, 2018

Academic experience

The European Union, Security Studies, The Asia-Pacific in Global Politics, Foreign Policy Analysis, Cold War Europe, Modern Germany- From Radical Dictatorship to Recivilisation. 
The Loughborough academic system was largely the same as the UQ one, for each subject I had one 2 hour lecture and one 1 hour tutorial. Additionally each course had a research essay and an exam. This made it easy to transition to their system. 
The enrolment process was all online on 'Lear' their equivalent of our blackboard so that was also very easy to work with.

Personal experience

There is no limit to how much I gained from this experience. I made countless friendships with people all over the world which has given me a global network of friends and acquaintances which I will have for the rest of life. It allowed me to visit many new places and experiences new cultures. Prior to my exchange I had only traveled overseas to New Zealand so this was absolutely an eye opening experience for me.

Accommodation

I lived on-campus which was 100% the best option for me. Loughborough was not the biggest town, but there was a large student population which largely lived in on-campus student accommodation. By living there I was in the centre of university life and was able to get the most out of my experience. On top of this I was in catered accommodation which meant that all my means were cooked for me during the week. I found this good because it allowed me to relax knowing that my food was taken care of, it was one less thing I had to worry about.

Costs

My accommodation which accounted for food and rent cost me $10,000 for the year and I also took another $10,000 on top of this for spending money. This was more than I really needed but it gave the ability to act freely and travel to all the places I wanted. Throughout the year I traveled to Ireland, Scotland, The Netherlands, France, Spain and Portugal. It also allowed me to have an active social life at Loughborough.

Professional Development

My time overseas allowed my to detach myself from Australia in a way and view the world from a more global perspective. Studying International Relations from a European and UK perspective defiantly altered my approach to international issues and gave me further analytical insight into global issues. 
Furthermore, being overseas on my own with no one else to rely on made me a more responsible and mature person. I had to make all me decisions and motivate myself to tackle all the task put in front of me, I could make no excuses or rely on anyone else to help me. In short it made me more of an adult. Of course this will translate to my professional development as I am more mature now.

Highlight

The highlight of my trip would have to be the friendships that I made throughout the year. In addition to the friends I made from the UK, I also made friendships with people from Ireland, Spain, Germany, USA, France, Belgium, The Netherlands and Finland. These friendships will last a life time and I would not trade them for anything.

Top tips

My first advice would be to go! It is defiantly worth it and the pros by far outweigh the cons. Everything I was worried about: making friends, having trouble with the education system, being homesick, clashing with the cultures I faced, all melted away when I got there and it was all very easy. Most of the troubles you think you will face are in your head. 
Secondly, I would say make friends with the other internationals, they are all in the same boat and eager to make friends and go exploring. I would also recommend going in out second semester and their 1st semester. This is because all the freshers are coming in at that time and it allows you to make friends easier with the locals. The alternative is to enter uni halfway though their year when friend groups are largely already made.