Varun - University of Leeds

B Advanced Science
Semester 2, 2018
Absolutely amazing. Can't wait to travel again.

Academic experience

I studied 2 physiology courses relating to my biomedical degree, as well as 2 electives. It took some time to get used to their system of lecturing and assessment, but I didn't have many troubles in that respect. The biggest challenge was balancing the academic and the adventuring/fun of the exchange, with many weekends spent traveling when I could have been studying. My advice would be to work hard to keep up to date during the week, so that your weekends are free to explore. The enrolment and registration process was extremely easy and straightforward. The administration team at Leeds is great at answering any questions you might have.

Personal experience

As corny/cheesy as it sounds, the experiences I gained on exchange were undoubtedly life changing. I developed social skills to make lifelong friendships, many of which I have already made plans to go and visit. After traveling solo, I gained a deeper appreciation for life, and learnt a lot about myself. Traveling with friends, I had the craziest most exciting experiences, that I will never forget.

Accommodation

I lived on campus, at Charles Morris Hall. My living arrangements were great, with a big bonus being the catered food provided. My accomodation was very friendly, and everyone was very social which made it much easier to meet new people. It was also very close to university, which made the trips to classes extremely easy. My advice would be to choose an accomodation depending on what exchange experience you wish to have. The large halls are often great for meeting like-minded students who wish to have fun. On the other hand, the intimate sharehouses are peaceful and often much more home-like. Additionally, the applications to swap accomodations was very easy at Leeds.

Costs

I backpacked for about 2 months through Europe beforehand, which we budgeted about $8,000. As for the actual exchange experience, it really all depends how much you want to travel and go out. My accomodation was one of the more expensive options, but this was because of the catered food. The only money I was spending was to go out, and to travel. I think the budget that UQ suggested of around $10,000 was quite appropriate for me, as I spent around $5,000 on the accomodation cost, and another $6,000(ish) on traveling and going out.

Challenge

Biggest challenge was constantly throwing myself into every activity and social setting I could. It can be extremely daunting at times, but making yourself todo things that you wouldn't normally do are how the best memories form. Similarly, talking to people that you wouldn't normally talk to is how to meet people with similar interests and mindsets, and possibly create long lasting friendships.

Professional Development

This exchange experience enhanced my social skills and maturity, with this ability to connect and converse with new people being a vital tool to have in all aspects of life. Further it made me appreciate life in its entirety and enabled me to start living in the moment, instead of dwelling on past and future problems. Also, the ability to independently adapt to a situation gone awry is another great skill that will undoubtedly aid me in the real world.

Highlight

The highlight of my trip was going to the Oktoberfest closing weekend in Munich. Absolute scenes.

Top tips

Grab this opportunity with both hands, and throw yourself into it. I realise how daunting and scary it might seem, but I promise you will not regret it one bit.

Start saving money early. Write down a list of all the things you want to experience while traveling, and work out how you can achieve each and every one. Connect with as many people as you can. Enjoy and savour it.