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Exchange to the University of Leeds – by Alice McKeough

In Semester 1, 2015, I travelled to Leeds to undertake a study abroad program at the University there. Although apprehensive, I was looking forward to experiencing winter and studying in the United Kingdom. When I arrived it was snowing, which was exciting, as I had never seen snow, but it was also freezing cold.  Leeds wasn’t what I imagined, but I got used to the university campus and the close city centre, only about a 15-minute walk away from my accommodation. Leeds was a typical English city and it had a large number of clothes shops and food places in and around Trinity the shopping centre in the middle of the city.

I was able to stay in university accommodation in the middle of campus. It was a catered residence, where you could get your food from the refectory a building right next door, either eating in or getting take away. It was easy not having to cook each night, however the refectory food didn’t have much variety and limited choice. I enjoyed living on the campus, as it was close to my seminar and lecture rooms, it was safe and convenient.  When I first arrived I thought the university was huge, however I soon knew where everything was. The university also has a phone app like Adelaide to show you where everything is. The teaching, I originally thought was similar to that of Adelaide, however the contact hours were much less, which meant a lot of the learning was left for ‘private study’. For me I also had three 100% exams, which meant I didn’t have much work to do during the semester. The university also has an endless amount of clubs or sporting teams to join, which is a good way to get involved and meet people, they even have a quidditch team! Leeds is very much a student town, the students of Leeds love to go out and socialise, there is always a different thing on each night.

Travelling to other parts of England from Leeds was very easy, you have the option of the train or the bus, both cheap as well. I was able to do day trips to Liverpool, Newcastle and travel to London on several occasions. The University also has Saturday day trips to different parts of the UK, which was a good way to see everything. Im not a huge soccer fan but I had the opportunity to see an English Premier League match, which was exciting and different. I was also able to visit Spain and Germany on the month long mid semester break, the two countries I really wanted to visit, travelling from Leeds was very easy too and plane tickets were reasonably priced.

Although very daunting, a study abroad is a great way to get outside of your comfort zone and experience life in a new country. You get to experience new things, meet people from all over the world and it is also beneficial for your future studies/ career.

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