Nicholas - University of Glasgow

B. Arts/Laws
Semester 1, 2018
I became very self-sufficient and now easily have the confidence to embark on solo adventures!

Academic experience

The academic experience at the University of Glasgow was an interesting one (and I mean good-interesting and not-so-good-interesting). First off, the enrolment experience was a big-old disaster. None of the courses that Glasgow said were available were, in fact, available (for a whole host of courses). This turned out to be, in effect, not a big deal and is what most domestic UK students expect. Essentially, Week 1 at most UK universities is spent going to speak to lecturers/tutors (who are all super lovely and helpful) and asking if you can have a spot in their class. This is nice as you get to know the staff well, but also can be stressful if you are worried about credit. This ended up being all a storm-in-a-teacup and I was enrolled in my courses by mid-way through Week 1.

I studied Honours-level History subjects. A full-time load at Glasgow was 3 Honours-level subjects. My courses were:

  • Patriarchy, Sex and Gender in Early Modern Europe
  • The Slave Trade
  • Union between Ireland and England/Scotland and England

The courses (with the exception of, perhaps, the Gender History course) were significantly harder than your usual History course at UQ. They required a significant amount of reading and the assessment invariably required original research and significant archival work. I learned A LOT as a result of this, but it wasn't necessarily a walk in the park in order to do well. The other thing to bear in mind is that most Honours-level courses have an exam, which for History students in Australia probably comes a bit unnaturally.

Personal experience

Despite the slightly more significant workload than first expected, I just had the best time. Glasgow is an incredible city, filled with a vibrant nightlife, awesome food, proximity to the Highlands (and continental Europe) and a great diversity of people. I have made some lasting friendship with people I have met and 2 of my best friends (from Calgary, Canada) I keep in touch with regularly and I will absolutely make it my mission to see ASAP.

I travelled widely from Glasgow - to Portugal, Spain, Italy, The Netherlands, Hungary, the Czech Republic, France, England, the Highlands (including the Isle of Skye) and Austria. Each of these experiences was incredible and I would go back in a heart-beat. I became very self-sufficient and now easily have the confidence to embark on solo adventures!

Accommodation

I lived in student accommodation off-campus. There is no "on-campus" accommodation as such, although there are student apartments which are very close. Accommodation tips are hard to give because it depends so much on your personal preferences. But I would say the following:

  • Kelvinhaugh Gate (this is where I lived) is great if you want some solitude, your own bathroom but still want to be in the thick of it. The rooms are pretty soulless but are in the heart of the West End (10-15 min walk from campus). I don't regret my choice as the price was excellent.
  • Kelvinhaugh Street is very similar to KG with the only difference being a shared bathroom (which makes the rooms cheaper). They are on the same street.
  • Student apartments are private apartments that are centrally organised and allotted to students. They vary greatly in terms of size and general vibe - they are a bit of a gamble as you can end up with flatmates that are not ideal with no way of getting away or in a not great building. I did, though, have 3 friends (2 x US, 1 Aussie) who all ended up sharing a really nice apartment
  • Murano I gather was a bit like KS - I personally can't really speak to it. It isn't in the West End which may be a negative for those who like bar proximity.
  • Private accommodation - this is the most expensive option (BY FAR) but is also probably the nicest. If you like control, it is a good way of knowing what you're in for.

Glasgow Uni helps a lot with accommodation. The only stressful bit is making a decision. I would suggest deciding quickly so you can get the one you want!

Budget

Glasgow is quite similar to Brisbane in terms of cost-of-living. Eating out is not cheap and public transport is expensive. But it is a walkable city, so that isn't a big concern. I paid $5000AU for my accommodation for 6 months and didn't particularly keep track of other expenses but if you eat in, go to clubs and bars on their cheap nights you will not find Glasgow prohibitive.

Challenge

The biggest challenge I faced was probably coming down with a couple of bouts of horrible sickness. At the time it was pretty awful, but the NHS is very good and easily accessible. The Uni will tell you to "Register" with a GP as soon as you have enrolled- for the love of God DO IT (even if you "Never get sick").

Professional development and employability

I feel like I have a much greater confidence-level with making connections with people quickly and deeply which is a skill I think is going to be really useful.

Highlight

Going on a weekend trip to the Highlands and the Isle of Skye and having a massive snowball fight overlooking the most beautiful view. OR, driving around Yorkshire in our own car having the best time and blasting terrible music.

Top tips

  • Be organised and across what UQ requires to give you credit.
  • Be confident and make friends as quickly as you can.
  • If you feel anxious when you first arrive, don't worry! So does everyone! Get out of your room, see a movie, grab a solo dinner. You'll have a great time but the "first night" blues hits us all hard!
Nicholas - University of Glasgow