University of Nottingham Exchange- by Samuel Read

On the 29th of August 2015, I embarked on an incredible opportunity. I flew to the UK with a friend both of us unsure of what was to come. We were to attend the University of Nottingham. Going overseas gave us a great opportunity. Having never been overseas before, I eagerly took the chance to travel around Europe on a tour, just before university started. Doing a tour turned out to be a great idea it was a fantastic way to meet new people and see as many of the sights around Europe in a limited time! This made me even keener to get to Nottingham and find out what my life was going to be like for the following five months.

My friend and I arrived in Nottingham in a taxi which we quickly realised was very abnormal. We saw fellow students everywhere getting dropped off by their parents and carrying boxes and boxes into their rooms. We however grabbed our suitcases and proceeded to our rooms and try to start making some English friends! The first night was filled with awkward hellos as people quickly tried to make small talk and suss out the people they would be spending the next year with. I quickly found out having an Australian accent was a great conversation starter, and as a true Aussie, hello was closely followed with greatly exaggerated myths about the Australian wildlife!

Uni life in Nottingham was a very different experience to home. Living in halls was full on! There were 10 halls on campus, the hall I was in was one of the smaller ones, however it still had 200 people living in it. This meant that I barely had any time by myself, there was constantly someone to talk to or something to do. I made a solid group of friends within the first couple of weeks, living in such a big student based area of course meant that there was something on every night. We took advantage of this at least a couple of times a week, hitting up the night clubs, Nottingham had a reputation for being a bit of a party city for students and it did not disappoint!

The exchange to the UK gave me a great opportunity again, my mum was originally from England and I had a whole heap of family there that I had not seen for many years. The best thing about this was that it gave me an amazing opportunity to meet my little cousins who I had never seen before. They were great kids and they loved to listen to everything I had to say about Australia.

My time overseas was fast paced and incredibly character building. It really forced me out of my comfort zone as I got to meet so many new people and learn so much about places I hadn’t even thought I’d ever go! I would definitely recommend to anyone considering an exchange that they should do it, and go with an open mind and a smile.

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