Exchange to the University of Leeds – by Sam Fotheringham

My decision to go on exchange was made over a year and a half ago and it has turned about to be one of the greatest choices of my life. I arrived in Leeds in early September 2014 to deserted student accommodation with absolutely no friends at all. Four months later at the end of my exchange I now have friends from all over the world including Canada, Sweden, Malaysia, Spain and of course Australia (we’re everywhere).

Being on exchange has not only allowed me to experience a different system of teaching and learning, but also different cultures and ways of living. Every couple of weekends my flatmates and I took the opportunity to travel to different places in Europe including Scotland, Ireland, Spain and even a daytrip to Morocco in Africa. These were amazing opportunities that served as mini holidays during an already relaxed semester of University.

Along with these international trips I got to experience travel and events in England. I went to the annual varsity rugby match between The University of Leeds and Leeds Metropolitan which was crazy with over 20,000 student packed in to a stadium for the grudge match. My Canadian flatmate got a bit homesick and decided that my flatmates and I needed to be educated in some ice hockey and so a trip to Sheffield was organised to see a game. My flatmates and I also went a Leeds United football game which was definitely an exciting experience.

During my exchange I was living in student accommodation on campus which was a great change from living at home with my parents. Being on campus allowed me to get to lectures in only 5 minutes which was great for allowing me to catch up on much needed sleep. There are less contact hours per week at The University of Leeds, allowing me plenty of time to travel, study, and try many new things within the university. The University of Leeds offers ‘Give it a Go’ sessions, for example I attempted to play water polo for a couple of weeks. Whilst I found out its much harder than imagined I met and made some local English friends. I also played some inter-mural soccer with some other international students from my apartment which was great for something to do on weeknights during the semester.

Looking back at this semester it feels like my time here has gone too fast. It has been the most rewarding experience of my life and has changed my outlook on life. This experience has definitely ignited my passion for travel and experiencing other cultures and I’m already looking to organise further international travel in the future. I’m very grateful that I’ve been given the opportunity for exchange by The University of Adelaide. I would encourage anybody who is contemplating doing an exchange but is unsure as I was in the beginning to grab the opportunity with both hands as it is a decision you definitely won’t regret.

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