My motivations for participating in an international exchange experience were abundant. There were many skills I hoped to improve and qualities I hoped would be nurtured to develop both my professional and personal self. As a member of the workforce in the 21st century, great consideration must be given to the new and constantly changing global environment we live in. Work places extend way beyond the boundaries of the local community, calling for individuals who are adaptable and resourceful, effective communicators, culturally aware and tolerant. International exchange has undoubtedly enriched my university experience and developed these skills and insights. I chose the University of Sheffield for my international exchange, as I believed the institution would support me to achieve my goals.
Firstly, I found the studying and teaching methods at Sheffield to be quite different to those in Adelaide. Largely in the way that it is more independent in Sheffield and it was more student driven which required discipline. Despite the difference, I felt that I have learnt a lot here in Sheffield and the courses I have undertaken will hold me in good stead not just for their content but for the differing culture in which I studied them.
The social experience encapsulated by the University of Sheffield provides another reason for why I applied to this institution. When I was selecting my preferences for overseas exchange, I researched the social sides of each university I was looking at and found that the student union was ranked number one in the UK for student experience. One of my motivations for participating in the exchange program was to cultivate contacts that will assist me in my future endeavours and meet peers from all parts of the world. Working in England, or elsewhere overseas, is an ambition of mine and I feel that I have developed a strong network whilst studying in the country.
Another large aspect of the social element was living in student halls with people from all over the world. I have made friends from life from many parts of Europe, North America, Australia and England, which, whilst sad to see them go, excites me for when I will see them again in the future.
Between new friends I also joined a 6 a side football team (or should I say soccer as I’m speaking Australian now?) which ran on Tuesday nights and was a great opportunity to bond further as well as exercise.
The ultimate highlight of my trip was definitely the travelling element. I travelled with friends from Adelaide for almost three months over much of Europe, which was definitely the best trip I had ever been on. However, after arriving in Sheffield and making new friends, we went on numerous trips around Europe to places such as Ireland, Prague and Budapest among many others, which was absolutely amazing.
I have enjoyed my time in Sheffield so immensely that I have extended my stay here for another semester and whilst I do have a few close friends that are also staying, I am excited to meet new friends from new places and have more amazing experiences with them.