Living & Studying in Vienna

I’ve been living in Vienna for two months now, (which is kind of scary in itself – I’m over a third of a way through exchange and I’ve somehow survived 2 months of solo living). In these two months, I’ve realised Vienna is an incredible city to live in.

People often ask me why I chose Vienna: the locals with a tone of disbelief in their

Climbing Kahlenberg, amidst the vineyards

Climbing Kahlenberg, amidst the vineyards

voice, and Australians with a genuine curiosity, bordering on slight doubt. For me, it’s because of the experience. When else will I be able to live in such a different country? Any move overseas takes courage. I’m not tooting my own horn here, but if you want to see how courageous you are, making your first move out of home to a country on the other side of the planet is a pretty good litmus test.  I did it to test myself. I can safely say that I’ve successfully achieved that objective. Whilst there have been moments where I’ve questioned my sanity in taking the leap to go on exchange, it’s

Gorgeous buildings that are just perfumeries or apartments

Gorgeous buildings that are just perfumeries or apartments

been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, and the liveability and charm of Vienna has helped make the transition very smooth.

The metro system here (as it generally is throughout Europe) is great – it’s very efficient, interconnected, and the apps to figure out how to get from point A to B are also easy to navigate. I think when I come home, that’s going to be one of the things I’ll miss the most about Vienna.

I study at WU – the Vienna University of Economics and Business. Like at QUT, the staff are passionate about what they teach. However, the assessment style and the way classes are run are a little different from QUT.  There’s a heavy emphasis here on class participation, and assessment tends to be numerous smaller assignments, or assessed homework, rather than the traditional ‘Assignment/Mid-Sem/Final’ that we’re used to at QUT. Class length and regularity also vary considerably – some classes are 3 hours (generally semester-long), others can be 8 hours, because they’re

The QUT cube meets the WU Campus

The QUT cube meets the WU Spaceship (more commonly known as ‘The Library and Learning Centre’)

intensives (like Summer semester). Some classes may be twice a week for a month, or they may be once a week for the semester, or until Christmas: this is both a blessing and a (mild) curse. Blessing because it means you aren’t locked into a timetable, giving you freedom to traverse Europe through semester. It’s only a mild curse because you can’t remember your room or timetable.

 

The campus is also incredibly modern – the oldest buildings there are from about 2013, when the university relocated to its present location.  This lies in stark contrast to the rest of Vienna, where every building looks gorgeous, no matter how mundane its purpose.

Whilst Vienna is not quite as integrated with nature as Brisbane is, there are plenty of walks through green areas on the city’s fringes. These are all easily accessible by public transport, and you could very easily spend 4-5 hours just following the trails, like I did when I walked through the beautiful Vienna Wood.

City Walk 3, through the Vienna Woods

City Walk 3, through the Vienna Woods

Two months in and my exchange in Vienna is proving to be a fantastic adventure – I’m still always finding new things, and I can’t believe how the time has flown.

Calgary – things to do and know

5 weeDowntown Calgaryks into my exchange at the University of Calgary and I have some updates for you back home.

My last post had lots of information about the university and O Week at U of C. This time I would like to focus more so on Calgary and Alberta. Calgary is the perfect city in size, people and activity. Calgary has about 1.1 million people meaning that it has a lot of great services but isn’t too big.

 

 

 

Firstly – transportation

Calgary has two train lines, the Red and the Blue. While staying at U of C you will likely only use the Red line which travels NE to SW. Although the train isn’t all that quick around Calgary, it is convenient and takes to right into the heart of the downtown area. There is a stop at the university (although it is on the other side of the campus), and stops to all major areas including sporting grounds.

Calgary’s buses are decent. I find them comparable to ones in Brisbane, not super fast, but not horrible either. There are a number of routes traveling from the university to close shopping malls or districts, however, unless going somewhere nearby, the trains are generally easier. The best part of public transit here is that you pay $130 at the beginning of the semester to get a UPass sticker for you university ID, which you then show the drivers, and you don’t have any more to pay.

Taxis are not as expensive here as back home (but you will hear Canadians complain about them). You will be expected to tip though, so keep that in mind and maxis aren’t really a thing. There is sadly no Uber 🙁

 

View from Ha Ling Peak, Canmore

Secondly – activities

There is an abundance of fun activities to do in Calgary and the surrounds. Small concerts are held on the university grounds every so often as well as around the city reasonable frequently. Keep your eyes peeled for posters around campus or the city. If not in Calgary, then artists usually perform in Banff which is a rather short bus trip away.

There are incredible hikes or walks close to the city. I recently hiked Ha Ling Peak in Canmore (about 1 hour drive), which was difficult (partly due to my fitness level, but also due to the thinner air) but definitely worth it for the view. It gets quite cold up the top so bring layers!

 

Radium Hot Springs, BC

Radium Hot Springs, BC

10 friends and I also took a road trip to Radium Hot Springs, British Columbia (BC). The trip was about 3.5 hours (if the van hadn’t broken down) and absolutely worth every penny! As we drove to Radium, every corner brought new mountains and magnificent views, while the town itself was full of awesome walks and, of course, hot springs!

If you are looking for something closer to Calgary I would recommend ice skating or catching a game of Canadian football or ice hockey. You can ice skate on campus at the Olympic Oval for $5 skate and helmet hire. Entry is free. All U of C Dinos games are free and the football games walking distance from campus (the hockey is just a train ride away).

At a Hitmen game

^^This is Josh^^

Calgary Stampeders (football) games are walking distance (McMahon Stadium) and you can get tickets in the nosebleeds for $25 (if you buy a few days early). The Calgary Flames (ice hockey) games are held at the Scotiabank Saddledome a bit more expensive and worse seats but look for deals on StubHub or for student games.

 

Otherwise the Calgary Hitmen, a team in the WHL (so under 23 ice hockey) also play at the Saddledome and tickets will likely be cheaper.  Or if you’re like me, become friends with someone who gets free tickets (thanks Josh)!

 

 

Of course I should mention all of the bars and clubs around the city. Everyone has different tastes so I will let you figure that out for yourself. I will say that The Den (on campus) turns into a conveniently located club on Thursdays, and that Commonwealth is also popular. As far as bars go – Ranchman’s on Saturdays (country), Kilkenny’s (at Brentwood – about 10 minutes on the bus and great for sports) and The Ship & Anchor (17th Ave SW – great for food) are all a bit of fun. It’s a good idea to carry cash out, as some places only take cash at the bar. Ladies also get in cover-free on Wednesdays at Cowboys because it is ladies night. Remember to tip!

Stephen Ave Walk

Stephen Ave Walk

And of course, more known things like the Calgary Tower, Stephen Ave Walk and the path along the river are also great for a free day.

 

 

Finally – weather

Be warned that the weather can change quickly. One day it will be cool, but sunny and the next day will be snowy. Dress in layers!

 

That’s it for now but as usual, if you have specific questions, email me at emma.blatz@ucalgary.ca.

 

The Best of Exchange at RPI

Finances: I budgeted way under what I actually needed. I didn’t take into account the fact that the dollar was so bad, I lost almost half of my money due to the exchange rate. When I went to pay my tuition it ended being a lot more expensive because the dollar dropped. I definitely think students needs to save for at least 6 months in advance. I did however go over there a month early and live in NYC and stayed 3 months longer to travel. If I was just over there for the semester period I would’ve had enough money. The cost of living in Upstate New York is pretty reasonable, but in the US it all depends on where you live. NYC is extremely expensive, not only for living but just everything in general. Los Angeles is a bit cheaper depending on which part you live in but in general I find Brisbane is a lot cheaper. I did find that alcohol is very cheap over there though and the food portions are just massive, you definitely get your money’s worth.

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 Challenges: I didn’t have any culture shock, America is pretty similar to Australia. It was weird being so ‘fascinating’ to everyone over there. I don’t know how many times people just stared at me in shock while I talked and when I stopped they’d tell me to keep going. They love Aussie’s over there which is kinda cool because you’re treated like you’re really important or something! Safety wise I just made sure I didn’t put myself into any dangerous situations, which I do anywhere I go. I also took out Gold Insurance with InsurenGo so I was covered for basically everything. The only challenge I experience was with my friend Gemma on a flight from Miami to LA, mid-flight the plane filled with smoke and there was apparently an issue with the right engine. We had to make an emergency landing in the middle of nowhere in Texas and sit in a dodgy airport for 6 hours until a new plane came. Then when we went to take off the luggage was apparently too heavy so we had to go back to the gate and then the bag scanner broke so they had to count the bags manually. It was just a disaster. We ended up sitting on the plane for 4 hours running out of water and there was no food to serve us. We ended up getting to LA 12 hours delayed at 4.30am. It was December 23rd so we missed a lot of Christmas plans and so did a lot of other people which caused some issues on the plane.

Tips: I advise anyone going over there to never book a flight with American Airlines, they were the airline we flew with when we had the 12 hour delay. They refused to put us up in a hotel in LA until the next morning when we were able to get a bus to central California and they refused to reimburse us for any of the delays. We ended up having to pay for a $400 Uber to the place we were going to. Other than that I had no issues with flights or anything. I will say this also, if you’re looking to hire a car and are under 25 ensure you have a credit card, because they wont let you hire a car if you’re under 25 and don’t have a credit card. One must have on exchange is a working phone because you will get lost sometimes and need to have a GPS to figure out where you are and where you need to go. And also a backpack, because when travelling it is so easy to throw it on your back with all your valuables in it and not worry if its going to go missing on a flight or if someone is going to go through it.

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Benefits: I absolutely loved Exchange, I met so many amazing people and have made lifelong friends. It’s just an awesome experience, you get to travel a new country, experience college life outside of Australia and you just grow as a person. I just feel like I’m more open-minded now and unfortunately for my bank account I have the travel bug now. It is just basically 4 months of fun and if you stay longer than it is even more fun. I would 100% go again if I had the opportunity.

 

Creative Industries in Berlin

Impressions

I chose HTW based accounts from students who had previously done semester abroad there. It was also in Berlin and I knew this is where I wanted to spend my semester abroad. It was an amazing opportunity to live and study in Berlin at a time when it is flourishing.

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My first impression of HTW were not exceptionally great. The campus which we had our orientation was physically very ugly, however this style of architecture is common around Berlin so was not of a great bother, and the excitement of starting the semester was greater.

Location

Berlin is an amazing place. There is an intangible sense of freedom within the city. At the moment it is in a very dynamic period, lots of young creatives are living there and you really can do anything. It was also a very interesting time to be there, in the beginning of the Syrian refugee crisis and to be a witness to this mammoth human migration, and see how it will affect Europe.

The buildings of HTW’s second campus, where I had most of my classes were redeveloped from an old cable factory and the facades were really cool, all brick buildings and alongside the river. HTW had fashion specific facilities which QUT does not, including extensive knitting machines and screen printing equipment.  However to use a basic sewing machine was harder than doing any of this specialist stuff, there were not a lot of machines and time to use them was very restricted, which was nonsensical considering that the cohort was really large.

Accommodation

Based on accounts of students who had previously done a semester in Berlin, I chose not to live in student accommodation. Student accommodation was in a far out suburb and I wanted to experience living right in the centre of Berlin. I knew I would be harder to find something, and it was, but I also wanted the challenge to put myself on another level of independence, and it did.

However finding accommodation was extremely difficult.

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All that said finding accommodation was extremely hard and difficult. Friends of mine rented through Airbnb, this worked out well for them as they were three, and could rent a whole apartment. I arrived about a week before university started and began to hunt. There is a massive amount of people arriving in Berlin all the time, especially students at the beginning of semester and mostly everyone wants to live in the same few central neighborhood. There is only a finite number of rooms and this makes things incredibly difficult.

It was very stressful at times but it was a period of growth and it worked out in the end. I ended up living in a flat with an Albanian girl, in a great location. In hindsight it was a great learning experience and when it worked out it was great. I was sort of homeless, living in short term rentals for about three months but it stretched me and made me think about myself and how I react and cope. So it was a learning experience.

Academics

At times the language barrier was a problem. My German was below par and some of the lecturers would not/could not speak with us in English. I don’t believe they should have had to, but their refusal was really frustrating especially in Patternmaking, where we were learning technical methods and had to rely on other students to translate. In this situation, and when we were figuring out the specifics of assessment, it was really useful being in such a big group (there were 7 of us from the BFA) as we shared information.

As exchange students our work was not graded on a scale , only pass or fail and so in that regard the academic intensity was lesser. I was however doing six subjects and at QUT I would only be dong 4, so in that regard it was more intense. It was interesting to experience another studio system, as QUT focuses much more on technical production than HTW did and I appreciate this more and I believe that it shows within the work.

Finances

I left Australia with $14 000 AUD. This was comprised of personal savings as well as all the HECS loans/grants etc and I was also receiving centerlink while studying. This money lasted me for the whole six month exchange and two months of travel prior.

The day to day cost of living in Berlin is cheap! Transport (which is great) was covered within our university fee, food is cheap and so is alcohol. Rend was not however, I paid 450 euro ($650) a month for my room.  I used a Citybank account to access this money, as they do not charge withdrawal fees. As a backup I also had a traveller card with my normal bank.

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Challenges

Lots of challenges come with moving to another city and establishing life there for however short amount of time. However cliché it may sound, these challenges are what grows you as a person and makes the experience so rewarding and enjoyable.

Quite quickly I fell into a quite a large friendship group, which was great. It was somewhat easy to make friends with other exchange students as most people are quite open and are wanting to have the same fun time.

I did not find European culture that drastically different from Anglo-Saxon Australian culture to incur culture shock. But there were enough differences to keep things interesting. The change in weather was a large challenge for me. I know that I do not cope very well with the cold, and I learned to manage this, but another factor was the drastic lack of sun. You can get used to anything though.

Benefits

I find travel a sort of secret ingredient to creativity. It allows for time and space away from the familiar and mundane, you learn and see things, which then changes your perspective on many facets of life. Then it is about taking with you what you have learnt, and integrating it back into your life and living in a sort of new and improved way. Exchange has allowed me to see a part of the world and expand myself, my expectations and my capacity. It is an amazing opportunity to not only travel, but live in another country as a student, I would absolutely recommend it.

 

 

 

 

Andrew explores Hong Kong

My exchange to the Hong Kong Polytechnic University was one of the most rewarding and enjoyable experiences of my time at QUT. I was exposed to new cultures, new ideas and new ways of thinking, and met an array of interesting people from countries all around the world.pic1

I chose to study at Hong Kong for several reasons. Firstly, Hong Kong is an international hub with a diverse population, food and culture. In a similar fashion, Hong Kong stands as a centre for the business world which aligned well with my passion for finance. Finally, I wanted to explore Asia and see what countries like China had on offer.

Arriving in Hong Kong was initially a very challenge experience. From my very first taxi ride into the city, I noticed that there were language barriers, though many people had a working understanding of English. I also shared a room at the campus halls, which was an entirely new experience altogether. Since my roommate was Chinese, it took some adjusting to accommodate for our different habits and sharing what was a particularly small living space. Ultimately, we became good friends and often assisted each other in day-to-day Hong Kong life.pic2

Hong Kong itself is a busy city. Everything is expected to move quickly, so service is fast, and the people move faster. There are plenty of attractions in Hong Kong; the shopping, great nightlife, unique restaurants and also tranquil natural areas. I found myself enjoying time spent at Hong Kong’s various beaches and hikes. Taking a break from the city life in the more peaceful areas of Hong Kong is quite special. The pictures below are of Hong Kong’s natural infinity pool and the view from Lion’s Rock.

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Milk in Japan – yogurt

I didn’t have a problem with culture shock because I had been to Japan before. I honestly think the biggest culture shock I experienced was visiting the grocery and trying to figure out what was milk (It turned out the stuff in bottles was actually a yogurt drink…) Japan is a pretty safe country so ensuring my safety wasn’t much different than what I do at home; don’t walk down dark alleys, keep an eye on your purse, etc.

However Japan is a cash based society so I sometimes end up carrying a lot of money for hotel payments and stuff which was a little nerve-wracking. Going to the dentist was an unexpected challenge as firstly I had to find one that spoke English and that I could book without a phone. However it turned out to be pretty simple actually and even cheaper than back in Australia!

Tips and Benefits:

  • One must have item: is a computer that accepts a LAN cable. A lot of students had problems with their tablets since the dorm only has LAN and wireless routers aren’t allowed.
  • Research what you want to see and do before you leave. Time passes quickly and it’s easy to run out of time for trips. But don’t actually book anything until you get there as it’s more fun to travel with other students.
  • Nagoya is quite hot and humid in summer and gets rather cold in winter so you’ll need both summer and winter clothes.
  • I like Jetstar as they fly direct to Osaka or Tokyo from the Gold Coast and you can buy up to 40kg They also use the new Dreamliner which is nice.
  • STA Travel will sell you travel insurance for after the QUT insurance ends; unlike most which wanted me to pay for the full 4 ½ months.

This exchange has given me a greater understanding of both Japanese culture and how Japan does business. Doing 7 classes in a semester also pushed me harder academically as I had to time manage more since I had 7 classes worth of assessment not just 4 classes. It’s also gave me the opportunity to make friends and work with people from many different countries. I would really recommend that students should go on exchange as you learn a lot not just about the host country but also about yourself and it’s a great opportunity to make friends and work with people from all over the world.

Celebrating Holi Festival in India

We are officially half way through our exchange period here in Mumbai. Whoever thought that 3 months could go so fast? Going on exchange has been one of the most invigorating, challenging and life changing experiences- the chance to explore another country as part your studies and converse with our students who share the same passion as you has been an opportunity that I couldn’t recommend highly to anyone else.Ind1

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Whilst being on exchange in India, it has given me and my partner Dom the opportunity to learn about the history behind traditional Textiles and local folk stories as well as the many techniques which influence these textiles. We have been able to put these in to practice by making our own scarf using a traditional styled loom; a hand woven mechanism which is still used throughout Indian culture today. To say this was a long and tiresome process would be an understatement, but the end result was absolutely pleasing and made me appreciate the hard work and art form that goes in to making hand woven goods. We have also had the chance to learn about various block and screen printing forms; another techniques which is still prominent throughout Indian culture today. From designing our own collections to learning the compositions behind fabrics, to learning the business side of the industry, the university offers a vast knowledge base on everything that you need to know before taking the leap into the Fashion Industry yourself. University here is extremely different to that of QUT. Here, it is 5 days a week, some weeks even 6 from 9.30-6.

Since being here we have explored a lot of Mumbai. Our first trip into the city, or CST as it is referred to here, we took the ‘local’; a train where your sense of personal space becomes a distant memory. The many times we have been to CST, there is always something new to see or something different to taste. Going to Marine Drive at night was very incredible. Kilometres of street lights, lining the harbour, replicating that of the ‘Queens Necklace’. Laying on the sand at Chowpatty beach was another highlight as it gave us a chance to sit back, relax and experience how other people live. Flying kites, lighting lanterns, picnics by the water and enjoying one another’s company is a daily ritual for the people of Mumbai. Whilst at Chowpatty beach there was the annual kite flying festival, where the colour was full of brightly coloured kites. As part of a university report, we had to visit Kala Ghoda, the arts and crafts district of the city. Here a yearly festival takes place and we were fortunate enough to go, showcasing the best of Indian textiles- both old and new as well as viewing the works of some of Mumbai’s up and coming designers.

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Whilst being here my taste for Indian food has definitely developed. A common food here in Mumbai is Pani Poori, an afternoon snack which has become popular amongst college goers. Homemade Indian curry, freshly toasted roti’s and lassie are another of my favourite, some I will definitely be taking back to Australia to replicate at home.

The beauty about India is that each state or town offers something completely different. We have just gotten back from our first trip out of Mumbai. Last Thursday India celebrated Holi. We decided to venture to Goa, to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and catch up on some R&R. Goa was great, a completely different scene to Mumbai- with beaches, paragliding, night markets, river cruises. We plan to travel more after the semester is finished as we are limited for time at the moment! Something to certainly look forward to.

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Exploring Goa

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Holi festival

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£1 berries and unit issues at Strathclyde

I had issues in my first few weeks trying to figure out classes. I had enrolled into Journalism 2 which I had presumed would get me full credits at home, however when I attended my first class no-one else came in, not even to the tutorial. I went to speak to the head of department and he told me that this class wasn’t running until the following semester. All of a sudden I didn’t have enough classes to get me direct credits and I wasn’t sure what to do. Professor Higgins (HoD) then suggested taking on an Honours Course if I was prepared for the workload, and so I did. In the end I was enrolled into Journalism 1, Journalism and Politics and America in the 1920s. Of these three subjects, not only had I fulfilled my credit point expectations but was also taking two honours courses. Journalism wasn’t a huge Bachelor at Strathclyde, the university is mostly known for its Business and Engineering Degrees. I only had a total of 12 people in my Journalism classes and maybe 9 in my Honours classes. This was a surprise to me, however this allowed me to meet more people and truly build an awesome relationship with my Professor and classmates. The classes were fantastic and I really enjoyed learning about Scottish and British Media and Politics. In fact, because of this class I have become more interested in perusing Political Journalism. I wish I had thanked my Professor for inspiring me in such a way!

I was unaware that there was an on-campus living option for exchange students, so I went about searching for my own flat prior to leaving. I found a flat for £280 a month, which was pretty reasonable I thought! I was 5 miles from the university, but in truth it was only about 20 minutes walk. I shared my flat with a 23-year-old guy named Luke who studied Engineering. Luke ended up becoming my best friend and a person I will genuinely miss! Glasgow was incredibly affordable, not only my rent but also general living! Luke constantly laughed at me when I got excited about £1 berries and vegetables. Furthermore, the affordability of socializing and events was incredible! I have never experienced nightlife like Glasgow! It was phenomenal and affordable! I managed to go to 5 live bands, all of which cost under £20!!! It is easy to see that I took advantage of social opportunities! I had been saving for almost two years and tucking everything away so whilst abroad I made sure I did everything! Any opportunity presented to me I took up, and now I have no regrets! I went on the Ski Trip to Val Thorens in France and it was by far the greatest experience of my life and I cannot thank the SUSC Team enough! Overall, I did spend a lot of money but I have not come home broke and as I said before I do not regret a single thing!

Arizona: a great cultural experience

The location of Arizona provided for a great cultural experience, as I was able to travel a few hours up north with my friends and be on the beaches in California, or travel an hour up the mountains nearby to watch it snow. The extremes of the climate were unbelievable, and were a lot of fun to experience as I have never seen snow before. I didn’t think I’d see snow in Arizona for my first time. It was still warm enough to be in the pool in December (middle of winter), and I had the opportunity to make many new friends through the many pool parties which were held at the apartment complex. Through the new friends I made, I was also able to experience the professional sports leagues, where I was able to attend NBA and MLB games, which is my favourite aspect of American Culture therefore was truly an amazing experience.

The biggest expense incurred was rent for accommodation, which ended up being around $800 a month for 5 months. This was definitely more than expected, however the convenience of its location was well worth it. Other expenses included general expenses such as food and utilities and internet costs which were very cheap. If I was looking to travel anywhere out of walking distance, I was required to take a taxi as I did not own a car in the USA and the public transport system was very basic, therefore did not cater to locations other than the campus. I believe that was the issue I disliked the most, and recommend future students to make friends with students who have cars so they can avoid that cost.

Food in supermarkets were a lot cheaper than Australia – almost half the price. Take-away was significantly cheaper than Australia too therefore I was able to live very comfortably. Season tickets for football and basketball were $150, and something I recommend strongly because it was such a unique experience. I spent more money than I expected as I had the opportunity to travel frequently and experience much of the American Culture I love. I recommend students set aside money for music and sports tickets, and even entertainment events such as going to the movies was almost a third of the price as Australia where adult tickets were seven dollars. The scholarship I received from QUT helped out significantly as it helped to pay for accommodation and also the school textbooks I was required to buy.

Settling in Sheffield, England

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!