Waking up to England!

Gina O’Donnell, University of Leeds, England (semester 1 2017)
Bachelor of Business / Bachelor of Creative Industries

Upon my exchange at the University of Leeds, in semester 1 of 2017, I learnt many things about myself and the world surrounding me. Going on exchange with a friend from Queensland University of Technology, I felt at ease having a friendly face with me on this epic journey. But soon learnt that being a duo may have been our downfall as people assumed we did not need to be invited to halls events etc. But I was able to overcome this by putting myself out there, making sure I was out of my comfort zone and made life long memories with amazing people.

A lot of these people however were themselves exchange students, I found myself shocked at the little interest the local people in Leeds had in people from other countries. An interesting prospect considering majority of their population is immigrants. It became more prominent as well after beginning my classes and I started to realise that the classes I did not have my exchange friends with were hard to make friends in. People had already formed their own group of friends and were exceptionally unwelcoming to newcomers. As I had already made my own group of friends this did not worry me, you can’t please them all.

What I did enjoy about my classes was experiencing the different teaching styles offered at the University of Leeds. One lecturer in particular absolutely astounded me going above and beyond any other undergraduate level of teaching I had experienced. This particular lecturer really shone through and definitely made me happy with my choice of host university.

Another great aspect of my exchange experience was staying on campus and in the Halls. Not only could I get up 5 minutes before a lecture and take naps in between classes, but I was also surrounded by interesting people. We did lots together dinners, birthday parties, party, errands and most importantly TRAVEL.

I cannot begin to tell you what it was like to travel to a different country nearly every weekend, other than it’s a worthwhile experience. The reason I chose the University of Leeds is because it had it’s own airport and it was close to pretty well everything in Europe.

Also the town of Leeds itself is BUZZING. A small University town with your rival University being Beckett, but it’s also a lot of fun. They always have something going on in the centre and great student deals pretty much everywhere.

I’m not trying to talk up the University of Leeds, but simply the whole exchange program. You get the proper opportunity to live and study in a different country, with government support. WHY WOULDN’T YOU. Wake up, this may be the best thing you ever do.

Aussie among the Brits: My semester abroad

Sarah K. – Bachelor of Business/Bachelor of Laws
University of Leeds, England (Semester 2, 2016)

I had the time of my life studying at the University of Leeds during Semester 2, 2016.

Leeds is located at the centre of the UK in the Yorkshire region, about 315km North of London. It is an awesome student city which meant cheaper living costs (especially compared to somewhere like London!) and the opportunity to meet heaps of university students.

The University of Leeds was really great, and incidentally while I was there, it was awarded University of the Year 2017. It was my main choice because it provided a lot of subject options which allowed me to match up all of my law and business units. It was also interesting listening to lecturers with English, Irish and Scottish accents. Different to QUT, lectures are compulsory and your timetables are configured for you, there is no option to design your own schedule. The university also offered hundreds of different clubs! I joined a number of societies, notably the ‘Leeds Snowriders’ skiing and snowboarding society. Being a member allowed me to go on the university ski trip to Andorra, located on the border of France and Spain, which was an absolute blast.

In England, after graduating from High School, most students will move cities and live in on-campus student accommodation Halls for their first year of university. During my semester, I opted for catered living in Devonshire Hall, which was only a 15 minute walk from campus and looked a lot like Hogwarts. I cannot recommend student accommodation enough – you’re living with hundreds of other students just like yourself, which makes it so easy to make friends!

Devonshire Hall consists of several houses with both catered and self-catered students. My house had 10 people in it including myself, one other Australian exchange student, one American exchange student and the rest were all English students. Being catered at Devonshire Hall (or ‘Dev’ as it was quickly termed) meant that breakfast and dinner were always social occasions used to catch up with friends and plan weekend adventures. The food was pretty good but prepare yourself…England LOVE potatoes! Dev was also a really social Hall with frequent social events, quiz nights, movie nights, hall sports teams and drama and music groups. University accommodation allows you to meet so many different kinds of people from your home country as well as international students. Besides connecting with a lot of Aussies, some of my closest friends came from various places around England, New Zealand, Iceland, Netherlands, Japan, Denmark and many more.

I chose England for the location of my exchange because of its location within Europe. Other than the friendships I formed, travelling was what I loved most about exchange. I managed to fit in travel before, during and after my semester. I loved the ability to meet people from different countries and experience a variety of cultures. Exchange allowed me to be independent and self-sufficient whilst also completing my studies and it’s something that I think everyone should experience – you won’t regret it.

A Semester Abroad in Leeds

Kate M., Bachelor of Creative Industries/Laws
University of Leeds, England (Semester 2, 2018)

 

When I embarked on my 7 month long exchange adventure, I was nervous, teary eyed (from saying goodbye to the family), anxious but so damn excited! Ever since high school, I knew I wanted to do an exchange program at University. When the opportunity arose in the second semester of my fourth year, I took it!

I was on my way to North England, to the University of Leeds. My original plans to head to Berlin didn’t quite work out for me but I had heard incredible things about the student lifestyle in Leeds. I left a month early, dropped my suitcase off at a friend’s house in London and went on a month long summer trip around Portugal, Spain and Italy. I had never been to Europe or England so travel was my goal – I wanted to see as much as I could!

Abseiling in Ilkley Moore

After a month in the sun, I headed up to Leeds to begin my semester abroad. Unfortunately, I was not given the accommodation I applied for so I was hesitant upon arrival. However, I was thrown into two weeks of Freshers! It was a wild, exhausting and great two weeks and it really helped me kick start my friendships with my new flatmates.

The Parkinson Building – Leeds

After two weeks of partying, it was time to hit the books. I had chosen to study two languages and some other elective subjects… so to be fair, I didn’t have to hit the books too hard. Classes were really interesting and it was great exploring the amazing campus of Leeds. The university environment is very welcoming and it is easy to feel comfortable all around the campus.

The city of Leeds is quite small but there is so much to see in Yorkshire. I went on many weekday and weekend trips to nearby castles and abbeys, other cities and also did many hikes! I would definitely recommend getting out and seeing the region you choose to stay in because, lets be real… study can wait!

Kirkstall Abbey

After a few weeks settling into Leeds, making new friends, partying and exploring, I was getting restless and decided to book a last minute bus to Edinburgh. I spent the weekend sightseeing and meeting even more people. As soon as I got back to Leeds, I scheduled two more trips within the semester – one to Ireland and a week trip to France. I loved living in Leeds because it was a good cheap base and there are so many easy travel options nearby ie. Leeds Airport, Manchester Airport or London.

The main reason I went on exchange was to travel and so I made sure I planned my trips strategically so I didn’t skip too many classes. After classes for the semester ended, my boyfriend flew over and we travelled for a month around mainland Europe and Eastern Europe and also made it to the Ukraine (which I highly recommend). I popped back up to Leeds for exams and travelled again for another month before flying home.

Streets of Leeds

My biggest advice for exchange is make sure you save up some money so you can enjoy, have a good time and travel to new places! Also, be confident, put yourself out there and say yes to new experiences! As long as you have your wits about you and stay safe, you will have some life changing experiences and it will open your eyes to a whole new world. You should probably do a little study while you’re over there too!

 

University Life at Leeds

Chelsie, M., Bachelor of Media and Communication
University of Leeds, England (Semester 1, 2018)

I recently completed an exchange program for one semester at the University of Leeds in Leeds, England. To say it was the best experience of my life is an understatement! I thoroughly enjoyed every part of my exchange, from the city, to the university; the people, to the night life.

My host university, University of Leeds, is one of the most prestigious and internationally recognised universities not only within the United Kingdom, but in the world. However, this does not mean that the students and teachers were pretentious, or that it was extremely strict – it was really quite the opposite! My lecturers, tutors and fellow class mates were all extremely friendly and were willing to help with anything I asked of them, which I am very appreciative of. Leeds is a student city, so it is always full of life and buzzing with activity!

The university itself was established in 1904, so as you can imagine, each building is grand with incredible architectural features. The most recent development to the campus is its student union, which, let me tell you, is probably the most important building a student can know about. Unlike Australian universities, there is an unspoken expectation that students participate in either a club or society. So much so, that it is the minority who do not join in on the student camaraderie. It is in The Union where most social activities for the clubs and societies occur, simply because it is the perfect place to hang out.

Incredible Architecture

There are three bars (which are super cheap and host quiz/trivia nights), a night club for the weekly Fruity events and occasional concerts (I saw Milky Chance there!), a grocery store, cafes, bean bags, lounges and SO much more! During my time there, I joined the hockey society and made so many friends and great memories. We had weekly hockey socials, training and games each week, so you definitely get to form a bond with your team mates! There is definitely a massive drinking culture in Leeds, as I found out when everyone continued to go out rain, hail or snow. 

For my accommodation, I spent the four months at Ellerslie Global Residence. I really enjoyed living here as it is basically on campus, only a 15 minute walk to the city and food is provided for you, so you don’t have to worry about grocery shopping or cooking. Having a catered meal plan is super ideal, especially if you plan on travelling every weekend, like I did.

Idyllic London Street

I could not recommend the University of Leeds any higher for a student exchange. If you are considering them for your time abroad, definitely apply. I can guarantee you will make lasting friendships and memories you will never forget!

The Ultimate Guide to the University of Leeds

Katie, Nichola and Molly – Inbound students to QUT
University of Leeds, England (Semester 1, 2019)

We may be biased, but we love the University of Leeds. It is rated one of the world’s top 100 Uni’s and is right in the middle of one of the UK’s most vibrant cities – what more could you want?! It’s part of the Russel Group (a group of UK universities than engage in intensive research) and so you can guarantee you’ll be in safe hands. In 2017, The Sunday Times voted Leeds the University of the Year, joining the award for 1st in student satisfaction in the UK. If the numerous awards and rankings are enticing you to consider an exchange here, keep reading our ‘Ultimate Guide to the University of Leeds’ for more information, from academia to nightlife – we’ve experienced it all!

Academia

The University of Leeds is one of the biggest and most acclaimed universities in the UK and is famous for its teaching and research – providing lots of different academic opportunities and ways of learning. You can study almost everything at Leeds including Medicine, Art, Law and everything in between.

Academic life at the University of Leeds is somewhat different in comparison to QUT. A full workload is 120 credits per year – the number of modules (this is what units are called in the UK) required to be studied varies between each faculty and unlike at QUT each module may be worth different credits. For example, there are 10 credit modules, available for just one semester or there are 20/30 credit modules which are studied for the full year. This means that you will find yourself studying more than the workload is required here at QUT – for the most part at least 6 modules per semester is the norm. This may seem like a lot, but all the modules offered at Leeds are truly interesting – there are both compulsory modules and discovery modules (depending on the faculty), so there really is something to suit everyone’s academic needs. For instance, I am a Law student and my very varied modules last year included – EU law, Criminal Law, Employment Law, Land Law, Torts Law and Constitutional.

Teaching at Leeds is also very different to my experiences at QUT – we have shorter, more frequent classes (most students live on to or very near to campus) so the timetable is a lot more full on. Lectures tend to be 50 minutes, supplemented by seminars, which can be anywhere from 1.5 hours to 2 hours or labs/tutorials for sciences. Classes run between 9am and 6pm – so the academic day is condensed into this.

Academic life at Leeds will keep you busy but it is always fun, engaging, practical and interesting but you will certainly still have time to explore the wonderful city of Leeds!

Parkinson Building – the most famous building on the Leeds campus and the location of Brotherton Library

 

Accommodation in Leeds

As an exchange student in Leeds, you are guaranteed University accommodation regardless of whether you are studying for one semester, or the whole year (as long as you apply before the deadline). There are both on and off campus options with varying layouts from shared bathrooms to en-suites. There is also choice of catered or self-catered options. You will have your own bedroom in a flat shared with other Leeds students. This means it is so easy to make friends as there are so many people around, both home and international students.

The view from Charles Morris Hall

Typical lounge at Mary Morris Halls of Residence

A basic membership to the on-campus gym, The Edge is Included if you stay in University accommodation too.

The Edge gym

There is information about each of the residences here: https://accommodation.leeds.ac.uk/residences

Alternatively, there is the option to live in private accommodation. Unipol is a charity which works with students to help you find suitable private accommodation. Hyde Park is an area a 10-15 minute walk away from  c ampus and is filled with students.

A typical house in Leeds

A typical street in Hyde Park

The Union

A huge part of my student life at Leeds is centred around the union, which you will automatically become a member of as a student at the uni. The University Union is a charity that is run for students by students, helping provide opportunities, help create change and really allow students to love their time at Leeds! Activities are run throughout the year, enabling you to have fun and try something new, including specialised events for international students. The building itself, which is right in the centre of campus, contains shops, bars, cafes, nightclubs and study areas, to name a few. It is also home to the 350 societies the university has on offer. From football to food and wine, as well as every course having its own society, there really is something for everyone!

The Union building, right in the heart of campus

I myself am part of Leeds Modern Dance Society, where weekly classes are held for all levels of ability in tap, jazz and contemporary. Dancing with this society really has completely enhanced my university experience, from weekly socials to all the different friends I have made, and so to have 350 societies to choose from, Leeds is pretty special! I’ve put some pictures below of the type of events held by societies, including competitions and weekly socials at bars and nightclubs. This part of Uni is quite different to QUT – there is a much bigger sense of community and much more emphasis to join as many societies as you can! Here’s a link to the union website so you can browse all the things it has on offer! https://www.luu.org.uk/

Modern Dance Society at Newcastle Dance
Competition in Feb 2018!

The annual dance show held in the Union!

 

The City and Social Life

Leeds is located in Northern England with great transport links to other parts of the country – only 2 hours from London and 3 from Edinburgh by train. There is also an airport close by where you can find cheap flights to Europe for the holidays, making it the perfect destination for your semester abroad!

The city itself is a vibrant, multi-cultural haven that will draw you in with its wide selection of shops, restaurants, music venues and nightclubs. There is always something going on and so you’ll never be bored, and because Leeds is such a cheap city, you’ll be able to take part on a budget! Despite the hustling bustling city being the location of most students’ free time, the Yorkshire countryside is also right on your doorstep and so you can easily visit beautiful country villages if you fancy a change of scene.

With multiple colleges and universities in Leeds the student population is HUGE! It’s very different to Brisbane student life, and sometimes it’s quite easy to forget that others’ lives there too (maybe don’t go shopping on a Saturday afternoon if you want to miss the mad family rush!). The city has adapted to the student body well, with so many facilities catering to student life.

Leeds is such a great city for a year abroad!

Leeds Trinity Shopping Centre – the biggest shopping centre in the city which is home to more than 120 national and international brands as well as cinema’s, bars and restaurants.

Leeds city centre – a haven of activities!

Ilkley Moor – a peaceful destination only 40 minutes away for
when you want to escape the busy city

We hope this has given you just a little idea about what life in Leeds is like. We truly love it there and hope this has inspired you to consider it as your study abroad option!

Hope to see you in Leeds sometime soon!

Katie, Nichola and Molly x

Discover the UK’s picturesque countryside

Jordan W
(BCI student Majoring in Drama, Minors in Scenography and Literature)
Leeds University, UK

 

The landscape is stunning in England, if you’re a painter or creative type it will make your mind wonder. I was fortunate enough in my weekend explorations of the England countryside to come across an exhibition holding some of Francis Bacon’s most famous work on tour.

You’ll meet so many friends while on exchange. I will give some advice, you will notice on your return home that you will have more international student friends than English students, as they tend to stick to their own crowd (usually). This is not necessarily bad, it was my own personal experience and made friends with plenty of non-student English friends.

So, you’re probably wondering about Europe. Do it. It’s one of the best things. In the middle of Semester 2 (which is our Semester 1 at QUT), there is a month break in the middle to study, I suggest do some study then take some time off to travel to Europe, it is at a very good time in March / April where the tourists have not yet arrived, but it is not blisteringly cold like Winter – it is just right.

Nothing is more rewarding than travelling

A highlight I would suggest is to do Italy – it is magnificent, you will not regret – climbing Mount Vesuvius was indeed my favourite as it snowed while I was at the top.

However, transport and travelling to other places is quite expensive due to the class system on trains which interlink England. I suggest using the National Express bus service that allows extremely cheap tickets around the U.K. – it takes longer to your destination point but it saves you money.

By the end, you will wish you could never leave – but that’s okay because at the end you would have made connections and can meet up with those friends again, traveling and searching the world together.

Learning and living at Leeds

Jordan W
(BCI student Majoring in Drama, Minors in Scenography and Literature)
Leeds University, UK

 

Leeds University is built on-top of a mountain that looks over the town. It is known to be one of the prestigious universities of England known as the Red Brick Universities. Don’t let this fool you. It’s very much a community, with teachers and academics giving you insight into the living and academics of the institution.

Here, the teachers do throw you in the deep-end. But if you have a level-head ask a lot questions and confer with your tutor teacher specifically tasked with helping your academic needs, you will have a great time. The assignments are much larger than QUT which is around 2500 – 5000 words, so be prepared for more rigorous researching and studying which you can do at three separate libraries on campus, the Laidlaw, Brotherton and Parkinson libraries.

The Brotherton Library

The campus has numerous dorms surrounding it. I stayed in Storm Jameson Court West that was considered the ritzy part of campus, I did not know this at the time. I only wanted a place with an ensuite bathroom. It was a gated complex with its own reception area with two computers, multiple desk areas for work and a free pool table. It made it very fun in with roommates late at night with a cup of hot cocoa.

I enjoyed my time here at the dorm, I was on a floor with seven other occupants, one a friend of mine from QUT which made the trying times without vegemite that much easier to complain about. I had three fellow roommates from the New York City / State area, a Nigerian, and one Londoner who accompanied me on so many journeys around Leeds and the places surrounding such as York, which was magnificent with its old castle wall and cathedrals.

Just some of the friends you will make on exchange

The U.K has so much to offer and so does Leeds University, it is situated in the heart of a town where it is built around student life. Any student will have fun here studying. The dorm life is what you’ll remember, have long chats into the night with fellow strangers as you turn into family.

Leeds Survival Guide, Part 3: The Studies

Having just finished my final class for the semester, I now have a one month break before exams and so, I decided to let you all know what the studies here at Leeds have been like.

To get an idea of where I’m coming from, I did the following three modules this semester:

  • Understanding the Audience
  • Beginners French
  • Career Development

Here are some of the differences I’ve experienced between studying at QUT and the University of Leeds:

1. I received a lot of handouts at Leeds

  • For every class I received at least one piece of paper per lesson, which rarely happens at QUT
  • Buy yourself a display folder before leaving because they are extremely hard to come by in Leeds for some unknown reason
  • They’re also handy to keep your travel documents in while travelling

2. Referencing is different to QUT 

  • I recommend downloading EndNote (A free referencing software) because Leeds has their preferred referencing method available to be downloaded and it makes referencing so much faster and easier
  • QUT has this available too if you didn’t know!

3. Most classes take attendance

  • The amount of times you can miss class depends on your course but for media, missing 5 classes resulted in being contacted and questioned
  • Be careful with planning big trips during class time; I recommend travelling before the semester starts or during December before the exams

4. Not all lectures are recorded

  • None of mine were, which meant I had to actually pay attention
  • It was definitely difficult not being able to go back and rewatch lectures, but this just made me listen harder and take more notes

5. A passing grade is 40/100

  • This changes depending on what you study but this is the passing grade for most courses
  • It’s definitely a lot easier to pass at Leeds, but from my experience, it’s a little more difficult to do well

6. For all my media students out there, be aware that media at QUT is a lot more modern and practical whereas at Leeds it’s a little more traditional

  • You’ll most likely find powerpoint slides with plain black text on white background and no pictures or videos
  • For the assignments, Leeds wanted a lot of academic study examples, whereas QUT usually prefers that students find their own examples from tv shows, articles or other media
  • With that being said, Axel Bruns who works at QUT did make an appearance in my reading list one week for his work on convergence, so the content isn’t that different from QUT, it’s just a little more bland

7. Finally, less of a difference but a great recommendation, if you have a free elective, do Career Development

  • Career development is a 20 credit module (60 credits makes up 48 QUT credits) so I only had to do 3 units to get a full study load (this left me with time to travel on weekends!)
  • It was pretty much a big reflection unit on what I want to do in the future
  • Along with it being quite easy it was actually pretty useful in helping improve my resume and my interview skills

Even though it’s been different here in Leeds, it’s definitely been a worthwhile experience, mainly because I get to study in buildings such as this:

So, I highly recommend you come to the University of Leeds to experience studying here yourself.

Need to know where to find icecream in Leeds? Read on…

Jordan W
(BCI student Majoring in Drama, Minors in Scenography and Literature)
Leeds University, UK

 

Leeds is an extraordinary place it has the same population as my home city, the Gold Coast except its city centre is perhaps the same size as one of the suburbs. Everything is small and cramped. This is not necessarily a bad thing, it’s a more of a cultural difference – a heritage difference.

The buildings are quaint, the grass is (actually) green, unlike Australia and the air in England is fresh. There many boutique stores and lots and lots of cool book stores. Visit all of them if you’re a book lover and make sure to visit my personal favourite Water Stones, it’s right in the heart of town near a giant supermall called Trinity Leeds – where all your shopping needs will come true.

Heritage buildings in Leeds

There are numerous stores near campus where students can buy takeaway food and groceries at Tesco (IGA equivalent) and Morrisons (Coles and Woolworths) – they even have ALDI which is around a 25-minute walk behind the campus. I suggest Morrisons for big shops and Tesco for those late-night snack appetites.

There are two Tesco’s on the outer rim of the campus for students – they are open to 11pm at night and are your lifeline in ice-cream deprived situations – Ben and Jerry’s and Hagan Daz are so cheap in comparison to Australia – so is cheese. One thing that was noticeable was that food is a lot cheaper to buy in England than in Australia. That’s always a plus when exams stress kicks in!

 

 

Leeds Survival Guide, Part 2: Leeds Lingo

In the past few months of being in Leeds, there have been plenty of interesting and strange Yorkshire sayings that I’ve encountered. In Australia, we have words such as “snag”, “arvo”, “grog” that are native to the Australian language. Similarly, there are newfound words found in the ‘Yorkshire’ dialect found in places like Leeds, York and Sheffield.

As part of my Leeds Survival Guide, I’m going to share a few crucial and the most interesting words I’ve heard so far.

Most importantly, when you first make eye contact with a Yorkshire person you’ll most likely be greeted with “you alright?”. This happens to mean “how are you?” but if you’re not expecting it, it feels strange being asked if you’re alright by the cashier at a supermarket or a stranger you pass by.

Why yes I am okay… Do I not look okay?!

You are supposed to respond with something like, “yes I’m good, and you?”, but it is definitely something I had to get used to.

Aside from that, the following are some more intriguing things I’ve heard that I thought would be good for an incoming student to wrap their head around:

  • Ey up – Hello?
  • Aye – Yes (Kind of like a pirate with a British accent)
  • Clever clogs – Conceited person
  • Egg on – To urge someone to do something
  • Endways – Forward
  • Fancy dress – Costume (Not in fact nice clothing, but something like a Halloween costume)
  • Jiggered – Exhausted
  • Jock – Food or lunch (similar to the Australian use of ‘tucker’)
  • Lark – Good fun
  • Teem – Pour (e.g. “It’s teeming!” – “It’s pouring rain!”)
  • Us – Me, my or our
  • Usen – Plural of ‘us’ (Kind of like the way some Aussies say ‘youse’ as a plural of ‘you’)

And here are some Yorkshire idioms that are fun to say:

  • As daft as a dormhouse – Not very intelligent
  • As sharp as a Sheffield – Someone who is quick-witted
  • Catch as catch can – Everyone for themselves
  • Where there’s muck there’s brass – Where there’s hard work, there’s money

There are plenty more England ‘easter eggs’ like this to be found and it is most definitely worth it to explore and find them all. To quote a plaque I found in Whitby, I personally really ‘luv it ere’.