Leeds: The beating heart of Yorkshire

Paris T. Bachelor of Entertainment Industries.

University of Leeds, United Kingdom (Semester 2, 2019).

 

Leeds. The beating heart of Yorkshire – some things that may spring to mind is Yorkshire pudding, a love of FOOTBALL (or soccer as we Australians call it), its surrounding countryside and fields, its slightly underdog attitude to things and THAT Yorkshire accent (yes we all know it, and despite some hesitancies in ability to understand it – we learn to love it – or like me, immediately fall in love with its character on exposure). This city now holds a very special place in my own beating heart. Sure, in the pool of the many Universities of England there’s quite certainly stiff competition, however, I can truly say without a slither of a doubt that the University of Leeds out-lives them all (emphasis on the live). It truly is a lively student city and University, with an incredibly exciting and infamous nightlife (I really cannot emphasise this enough – a quick google search on it will back me up), with one of the largest student unions in the UK (Leeds University Union); complete with its own nightclub, café, bars and over 300 clubs and societies (with almost everything you can think of – honestly, I challenge you to look at their website and NOT find something of interest), to its impressive intake of international students through its exchange program.

Study

Like QUT, the University of Leeds has an impressive and broad catalogue of disciplines to study. Being a creative industries faculty based student, I decided to study an eclectic mix of electives from science to photography and film. Being at a university such as UOL (University of Leeds) where cross faculty subjects were often allowed was of great benefit to my curiosity to branch out into different fields of interest. Here is what I observed about the study at UOL.

(Please note that this is just what I noticed and may be different depending on what your field of study)

A forest in the countryside on the outside of Leeds in Spring

 

The University of Leeds teaching style wasn’t too dissimilar to that of QUT:

  • Most subjects had at least one seminar/lecture and one tutorial/workshop a week scheduled (give or take)
  • The teaching and faculty staff were very helpful, adequate support facilities were provided to students (especially exchange students through the program)
  • Minerva system almost identical to QUT blackboard (just rebranded in their own format)
  • Most lectures have a recording lesson capture system in place like QUT that is then uploaded to ‘Minerva’ (University of Leeds version of Blackboard)

There were some differences however:

  • Most assessments were more formal/traditional than QUT: either in the form of an exam or essay. Almost all of my assessments on my exchange were either essays or exams. This is unlike QUT who have taken a more inventive and “real world” practical approach to their assessments
  • Not all classes/lectures were recorded and uploaded to Minerva (it was wise to attend all these classes otherwise risk not being up to date)
  • Attendance was MANDATORY (yes, you read that correctly). Most classes took a roll to record attendance. If you missed a certain amount of classes without notifying the University of your absences, you would receive an email to check on your wellbeing and to acknowledge these missed classes – occasionally there are some classes that are more relaxed on attendance, which was the case with some of my peers – but unfortunately not with me
  • Most subjects averaged only two pieces of assessment per semester (usually split 50%/50% or 40%/60%) – unlike QUT’s averaged three pieces of assessment (again, this is in my experience)
  • Pass grade is 40% (YES YOU HEARD THAT RIGHT), however, it is harder to achieve a higher grade due to the starting point for satisfactory being lower (thus adjusting the rest of the scale)

 

University Campus and Accommodation

The UOL Campus is the perfect mix of old and new. The campus is stunning with some beautiful traditional English architecture. True to the English: there’s never a shortage of parks, Hyde Park being a personal favourite among myself and my fellow students. It wasn’t uncommon for students to flock to these parks as soon as a slither of sunshine came out.

Some fellow exchange students and I in Hyde Park after class. As you can tell by the surrounding students, it was quite a popular are to hang out at when it isn’t raining

In terms of accommodation, the University of Leeds provides more than ample options in its student halls; which exchange students are guaranteed a place in if they apply before cut-off dates.

 

Entrance to one of the interestingly beautiful buildings I had a class in

I stayed at the hall of James Baillie Park (JPB!) which I absolutely loved due to its proximity to the popular student housing suburb of Headingly (full of eateries, bars, pubs, places to shop and the home of the popular ‘Otley run’). I also enjoyed it as it wasn’t right on campus but it was close enough to walk to the University each morning through Hyde Park. As well as this, JPB in the year of my application housed a large and friendly exchange student population alongside a large intake of English ‘fresher’ students.

Hyde Park in Winter on a snowy day

What most people come to learn after exchange is that fellow exchange students are the ones who become your family, and those of us at James Baillie really did become one – whether it was to hold pre-events for nights out, borrow some sugar for baking, a study session  or to just go to the park down the road together.

 

 

(ATTENTION future James Baillie kids: the park is called The Ridge and I pass this information onto you in utmost respect that you will hold this place sacred as the many James Baillie kids did before you).

My JBP friends and I all wearing UOL merch at one of our last afternoons at ‘the ridge’

 

Tips for Leeds

I could write a book on my tips for future students studying at the University of Leeds, however to be honest, no one wants to do unnecessary readings. I have included some general tips that come to the top of my head for those of you considering the University of Leeds (honestly, do it, you won’t regret it!)

  • For the love of all things wholesome; attend every social event you can in the first 2 weeks! No matter how awkward it is, in these events you will meet your exchange friends and family (you will also find yourself laughing about these first two weeks later down the line to these people, so don’t worry about being awkward and venturing outside your comfort zone – as cliché as this saying is: EVERYBODY IS IN THE SAME BOAT – you will hear this a million times, trust me)
  • Don’t be afraid to reach out to people you meet – for simple things like grabbing a coffee after class etc, the UOL has such a large exchange program, there is likeminded people for everyone
  • Try to get your assessment done before the breaks or weekends, Leeds is an incredibly vibrant city and the nightlife is unlike anywhere else, so don’t spend it inside studying (Oops, did I say that out-loud? I mean, study hard kids!)
  • While I never ended up joining a LUU society due to all my spare time taken travelling/socialising (I did attend many give-it-a-go sessions) I know many others that did join societies and loved them, I encourage you to take a look at the University of Leeds Union website and trying out a few or joining as this is often where you meet English students aside from classes

 

I can honestly say that some of the best experiences I’ve had were through my exchange at the University of Leeds, and if you have any doubts (perfectly reasonable), take the plunge and apply. I’ve met so many faces and personalities through this exchange, and I’m yet to meet anyone who’s had second thoughts on their choice: you honestly won’t regret it.

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