Self-Budgeting

The accommodation I had was located in a great part of Glasgow about fifteen minute walk from the campus.  The building itself was a four floor tenement with a fantastic view over the city.  Facilities included a bathroom, toilet, well-equipped kitchen and laundry.  The room sizes depended on which room you decided to pay for but most were adequately sized.

I didn’t really have a solid plan for saving.  In total I went with about $8000, but didn’t have to pay for flights so this amount was more than enough.  I spent around £60 a week on food and drink (including alcohol) but this will come to more or less depending on how much you like eating out.  A good quality meal can be found in most places for between £15 and £20.  Accommodation came to about £120 a week.

Most weeks I tried to stick to about £140 a week (not including accommodation) for everything but this will increase depending on how much you want to go out on weekends and how much travel you would like to do.  Keep in mind the university will have you pay the total of your accommodation amount by a month into the semester so you WILL NEED this money available.

View from the window of my kitchen on a really, really foggy morning!

View from the window of my kitchen on a really, really foggy morning!

 

The cost of living in general is cheaper than Brisbane but the exchange rate was a huge killer.   Groceries for example will come to less a week than in Australia but because the amount is paid in GBP it ends up being roughly equal or a little more than the same amount of groceries would cost in Brisbane.

If you are planning to set up a bank account when you get there, forget it.  Most banks I tried told me I could only set up an account with them if my visa was for 12 months, but the student visitor visa only lasts 6 months.  As I didn’t expect this I just ended up withdrawing my budgeted amount once a fortnight from an ATM.  This isn’t recommended though as it will end up costing you around $400 in fees.  Try and set up a traveler’s card (or something similar) with your bank at home before going over.

Make memories all over the world

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The world is a book and those who choose to not travel reads only one page. QUT has partnership with over 200 universities worldwide in Africa, Asia, Europe and America.

Find out more at the QUT Exchange Fair as you meet representatives from each partner university.

RSVP now at QUT Exchange Fair

Always have a laptop

The one must have item is a laptop so you can keep in touch with family and friends back home.  The whole experience is very exciting but you will have down time when you aren’t travelling, studying or partying and you will begin to miss everyone at home!  My one travel tip is to always go with a friend if you are going somewhere after dark.  It doesn’t matter how smart you are or how able you are to navigate yourself around, you are in a foreign country and something could always go wrong. I flew over with Qantas and bought travel insurance through World Nomads.  Both companies did their jobs well.

Halloween! I’m in the middle in blue.

Halloween! I’m in the middle in blue.

Personally, the exchange experience made me more willing to put myself ‘out there’ for people, and to communicate with people I’ve never met before.  You will meet a lot of people overseas and you won’t learn anything new if you keep to yourself!  Academically, I took on subjects that may have been a little out of my competency but pushed myself to ensure I learned the content.  This helped me understand the value of hard work while at university: sometimes, you’re not just going to understand something straight away.  You need to keep chipping away at it.

Professionally, exchange made me realise the competition for graduate spots once uni is over.  There are millions of students out there, and sometimes you forget this while at QUT.  Going overseas exposed me to other students around the world who are all fighting for a job once they’ve finished studying. I would definitely recommend the exchange experience!  There’s the opportunity to travel, meet plenty of great people and learn new things about yourself.

Embracing the journey

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When you go for and exchange, the journey doesn’t take you but you embrace the journey into yourself.  QUT study abroad and exchange programs offer you the opportunity to:

  • study and live in another part of the world
  • experience something outside of your comfort zone
  • learn a new language and culture
  • make lifelong friends and develop your professional networks
  • add something unique to your QUT degree
  • challenge yourself personally and academically.

Come to the QUT Exchange Fair to speak to returning students about their exchange experience. RSVP here.

Campus looking like Harry Potter

Christmas market ice-skating in the town centre.

Christmas market ice-skating in the town center

Glasgow is a cold, windy city that rains a lot!  While the weather is average by Australian standards, the city makes up for it with a fantastic music and cultural scene.  There are always bands to see, venues to go to and bars to enjoy.  There are plenty of students floating around with lots of talent, lending the place a really exciting feel.  There was always something going on!  The people are very friendly, although it might take a while for you to get used to the accent.

While the campus at QUT is new and for the most part has primarily modern architecture, the main campus at UoG looks like something out of Harry Potter: it’s very old and consists of many winding corridors and spiralling stairs. It is the fourth oldest university in the English speaking world!  The facilities are top notch, with a number of well-equipped libraries, sporting venues and lecture theatres.

Dreaming for an adventure

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The best way to learn isn’t having just eyes in the books but the heart for an adventure. QUT offers a variety of opportunities for students to enhance their studies experience from a range of exchange programs. Programs offered are:

  • Semester exchange in another part of the world
  • Short term programs during the semester break
  • Other programs such as study tours and Work Integrated Learning (WIL)

Find out more information at the QUT Exchange Fair. RSVP here.

Lecture in a converted church

UoG paid a lot of attention to students and made a real effort to ensure we were receiving a quality education.  The tutors and lecturers were always available and willing to engage with class members, and the small class sizes meant that there was always quality discussion.  Two active student societies also meant there were plenty of student events going on at cheap prices in locations close to the student accommodation, which allowed for entertainment all the time without needing to worry about transport. The university is fairly strong in all of its departments but the schools of Law and Medicine in particular are very strong and receive large amounts of funding

One of the lecture halls for Jurisprudence, held in a converted church.

One of the lecture halls for Jurisprudence, held in a converted church.

While I was in Glasgow, I studied Labour Law, Jurisprudence, Business Law and Advanced International Law.  Studying over there was much more intense than at QUT: there were three to four lectures for each subject a week, and a tutorial once every three weeks.  The study in general required much more reading and discussion of the topics rather than focusing on answering questions after attending lectures.  End of semester exams were worth 75% so the rewards/price of studying/failing to study were much higher than at QUT.  In general I would say the teaching method over there was much more focused on ensuring students completely understood the theory compared to QUT’s method of ensuring students could use the theory in a practical situation.

Places to visit in Paris

Favourite hangouts (drink and food, going out)

  • Le Barav (practically lived there) – cute French wine bar – better to book the day before for drinks and food – great ambiance, cheap food (<15 euro) and cheap wine; buy a bottle at the neighbouring (linked) bottle shop and drink at the bar/restaurant
  • Max y Jeremy (practically lived there too) – Spanish/ south American wines and tapas – good value and great ambiance
  • La Candelaria – cheap Mexican food and awesome cocktails • VIP club – great for girls nights out and dancing, don’t buy drinks there – v. expensive
  • La Fee Verte – for food / hot drinks and study / or evening drinks

Favourite (less mainstream) landmarks/ places to visit

  • Viewing platform level 9 of Printemps (must) •
  • St Chapelle •
  • Claude Monet’s garden in Giverny •
  • Jardin des Plantes •
  • Chateau de Fontainebleau (40 min by train out of Paris)

Personal Food Favourites in Paris

Restaurants

  • La Cuisine de Philippe (6th arrondissement) – specialises in soufflé but all meals were incredible – ~31 euro per meal
  • Au Bon Coin (5tharrondissment, a little tucked away) – delicious French food – 24 euro for entrée + main
  • Chez Papa (9th arrondissement) – specialises in foie gras– about 25 euro per dinner excl. drink
  • Au Bougnat (on the Ile de la Cite, close to Notre Dame) – superb French fine dining for 24 euro (entrée + main)
  • Breizh café (3rd arrondissement) – delicious pancakes, galettes and french cider; cheap
  • Le Relais de l’Entrecote (6th arrondissement) – best steak/frites, but ONLY steak/frites and desserts on the menu

Coffee/Brunch

  • La coutume cafe (7th, coffee, brunch and lunch)
  • Ten belles (10th, coffee, light lunch, snacks)
  • Les enfants perdus (10th, delicious and filling brunch on weekends)