I opted to live in University Halls of Residence so I would have a guaranteed flat ready for me the day I arrived, so bills were inclusive and so I could easily meet fellow students. I would recommend this as a preferred option over private housing as not only are the halls usually located closer to the University (all are within 30 minutes walking distance) and other facilities such as supermarkets, public transport and pharmacies, but there are so many extra-circular activities you can get involved in which makes meeting people so much easier. Sheffield Hallam has a great website which lists all the student halls available (there are around 30) and what facilities and amenities they include. The application process was then simply completed through this website, and all international students are guaranteed a room.
The cost of living in England is also very similar to Australia (inter-city and travel to Europe is extremely cheap however), but I would advise potential students to consider the exchange rate whilst budgeting. Once the exchange rate is considered, a student can easily compare the cost of living in England to Brisbane, with the extra money due to it being slightly cheaper being put towards travelling! Llyods bank in England offer short term bank accounts which are ideal for international students. I used both this account as well as a multicurrency cash passport to transfer my finances. Another strength of Sheffield Hallam is that they offer support for setting up a bank account for all International students.
On the whole, studying in England is extremely similar to Australia and QUT. It is a great option for those who want to travel and experience living abroad, yet don’t feel comfortable in being immersed in a new culture and language. It is undoubtable that I gained valuable skills through completing the exchange such as confidence, self-reliance, cultural sensitivity, resilience, flexibility, enthusiasm, initiative, determination and the ability to take risks and work under pressure; as well as international travel experience. I also joined the Sheffield Hallam University Architecture Society independent of my study requirements where I conversed with likeminded Architecture students and professionals at corporate events, networking functions and guest lectures. Therefore, exchange not only gave me the opportunity to gain personal skills but professional and academic alike.
If I wasn’t in the last six months of my degree I would have done a yearlong exchange!