University of Westminster Exchange- Go west (or north, south, east…) and discover!

Alexander Aikman- Bachelor of Business/Bachelor of Creative Industries

University of Westminster, England (Semester 1, 2019)

Watch a vlog about my exchange experience here (, or  read on below instead! 

UK, England, London. The University of Westminster is located in central London. The campus is compact and modern in its layout. One of the best parts about university life for me was playing rugby for Westminster. Joining a sports team was a great way to connect with people and I would highly recommend it for anyone going on exchange.

As expected, the cost of rent and groceries within London was steep. However, there are a lot of discounts on offer for students including a discounted travel card for the tube and bus services. There were also a lot of free attractions to be taken advantage of during my exchange. These included the British Museum, Borough and Camden Markets as well as Hyde Park to name a few.

Another one of London’s perks is the travel. Trains from London go across the UK allowing for easy exploration across the country on weekends. Better still were the cheap flights across Europe. I spent much of my free time travelling to other countries. Every holiday and long weekend I would travel somewhere new. Travelling to Norway with friends from Uni and travelling solo across southern Europe were true highlights of my trip. And I would encourage anyone to try travelling both in a group and on your own.

The exchange program is an opportunity to try new experiences. The best advice I can offer is explore as much as you can. Travel to someplace different. Meet new people from other countries and experience their culture. Finally, if you’re going to a big city such as London, then be travel smart. A healthy dose of paranoia and scepticism will save you a lot of grief. But above all, make your exchange memorable.


London, Tehran, and Back

Holly C., Bachelor of Business / Bachelor of Laws (Honours)
A Legal internship at Lawyers Without Borders, United Kingdom, October 2019


Hello! I’m Holly, a Law and Business student passionate about advancing human rights.

Lawyers Without Borders (LWOB) seemed like the perfect home for my International Legal Placement. Like all other LWOB outlets, the London office is dedicated to protecting marginalised persons across the globe through advocacy and legal aid. LWOB’s purpose is simple: support organisations that provide justice for those who cannot access it.

I joined LWOB on board as a legal researcher; I was promptly tasked with researching and creating a memo for marginalised Iranians who have had their personal property confiscated on account of human rights violations.

Over the course of this internship, I canvassed legal precedent in other Islamic Republics, investigated societal and political constructs that perpetuated such violations, and provided advice as to how non-governmental organisations could assist victims in recovering assets.

Throughout law school, we are constantly asked ‘why’ we do what we do. But we are infrequently asked ‘for whom?’.

This internship was an immense challenge and privilege. I felt honoured to be assisting individuals who had faced adversity that we cannot fathom in the West; yet, I was daunted at the responsibility of playing a part in shaping their future.  The fact that these people had already endured so much only increased the pressure. I was amazed at how the staff at LWOB worked so tirelessly for their clients in a resource-constrained and high-pressure environment.

Amidst a backdrop of a cold, grey and busy London, our decisions at a desktop dictated the outcomes of people’s livelihoods, homes and property on the other side of the world.

In many ways, my days looked like that of any other law student. However, rather than researching contract law precedent, I was scouring cases for rulings on governmental victimisation of LGBTIQ communities; rather than accessing Austlii, I was downloading a VPN to search Iranian, Iraqi and Pakistani legal databases.

This experience no doubt developed fundamental legal research capabilities. More importantly, though, I built a tolerance for risk, learning invaluable problem-solving techniques in situations that were rife with legal uncertainty. I learnt how to make decisions about what course of advice to include in my task memo. This, in turn, fostered my ability to discern reason from irrational fear in high-pressure situations.

More broadly, I was exposed to a novel culture, language and social structure. In this way, I developed an appreciation of the complexities in navigating to cross cultural communication during delicate legal proceedings.

Finally, I learnt the importance of ensuring all material is appropriate for the client in question. The humanitarian and legal aid sector has a reputation in some parts of the world for generating solutions without consulting those who will be most affected – that is, solving the problem from a Western perspective which fails to appreciate local customs and norms. As such, the advice provided for this groups must differ greatly if it is to be effective. Cases such as these demonstrated the crucial importance of always keeping the client front and centre, even when they are more than 5000 kilometres away.

My placement at LWOB in London was formative, both personally and professionally. Yet, development did not come in the way I expected. This internship was a valuable stepping stone towards a career within humanitarian law. Yet, it also illustrated the limitations of providing aid within the legal system. If we are to achieve meaningful improvements in access to justice for marginalised groups, I am now of the firm belief that legal professionals must engage in structural and political reform within the countries from where their clients originate.

My London Adventure

Tammica C, Bachelor of Business (Marketing)
Cass Business school – City University of London, UK, (Semester 2, 2017)

My journey started when I first entered QUT and looked into doing an exchange. I gather a little info but enough to tell me I had to wait until my second year to apply. The application process was stressful. Waiting so long to hear back was really hard. I felt like there was no time left to do anything and I hadn’t even found out if I was approved to go overseas! In the end it all worked out okay and I was on a plane to London.

I arrived in London and went to my first apartment (I sorted my own accommodation) which was horrific. Thankfully I had my sister who had been living in London already to stay with. I eventually moved after two weeks into my final house for the 6 months. It was a mission moving two massive suitcases through London in peak hour on the Tube but it was all part of the fun.

After 2 weeks it was time to start university! The campus was old and classic, so different from the modernised campus of QUT. I went to my welcome lecture and met my first friend who was from Spain! As we were leaving to get a coffee a rather tall young man came running over to be and with little breath asked me if I was Australian. And that is how I met Daniel, my best friend from QUT whom I met in London.

The first week was full of crazy activities for the exchange students to experience London. This included experiencing the night life, and bowling. I met some lovely girls in that first week and had some great times even though I skipped out of half of those activities. Class started and I participated in London Performing Arts, Creativity, Innovation & Design, New Venture Thinking, and PR planning and management. I had groups in three of these subjects and met more people from Spain, Canada, and America. My classes consisted of me seeing various plays and playhouse throughout London, facing entrepreneurial problems every week, creating creative work spaces, and analysing recent PR campaigns.

Outside of Uni I spent a lot of time visiting key locations and working. I would do many things with Daniel and a few other girls we had met. We went to the Shard, ate donuts on Primrose Hill, went to Wales, attended a lantern festival, and visited the Camden markets many times for the halloumi fires! I went to concerts and even a boat party organised by Cass. Daniel and I tried to go to as many cafes as possible during our time and spent many hours drinking peanut milkshakes and pancakes. It truly was the best time I have had and I would do it all over again tomorrow.

After Uni had concluded I shipped off and visited many countries throughout Europe. I went to Marrakech and rode camels, Barcelona and sat on the beach ( for the first time in forever!), Paris and Disneyland, Munich and snowboarded, Iceland, Greece, Scotland, Wales, Ireland. I spent 6 weeks travelling and saw so much of the world and loved places I thought I would hate and hated places I thought I would love.

Overall, my exchange was life changing. I made friends, saw places I never thought I would, did things I never thought I would do. I changed for the better and grew up so much. I would never and could never regret my amazing experience on my QUT Student Exchange.

Getting Creative in Glasgow

Anna Banszel, Bachelor of Design (Architecture) 

Short-term Program: University of Glasgow ‘Scottish Urban Landscapes in Film and Glass’

Scotland (July 2018)

While Brisbane shivered this winter I was over in sunny Britain studying Scottish Urban
Landscape in Film and Glass at the Glasgow School of Art (GSA). This intense
one-week course combined research with technical experience in the renowned
photography and glass workshops at the GSA.

Through my research I discovered that Glasgow has been settled since prehistoric
times and rapidly expanded during the 16th century when traders and craftspeople
converged in the city. Glasgow still maintains that legacy of quality of craftsmanship,
with the GSA being an exemplar of world-class art education.

On day one and two I learnt 35mm photography. With a camera provided by the
university I roamed the gritty streets of Glasgow capturing moments of urbanity in
one of the most beautiful and diverse cities I have ever experienced. Developing my
film in the dark rooms was both technically and creatively challenging. There is a lot of
scope for creative expression after the film is shot. In making my prints from my
negatives I experimented with exposure and filter to get the results I was after.

Photography lab.

For days three to five we moved into the glass studios to learn glass art. The
photographs I developed on my first two days informed the design of my bespoke
stained glass panel. In this studio I learnt how to design my panel, cut the glass,
solder the lead, apply the putty between the lead and glass and paint the glass.

Glass art studio.

On the last day all the international students were invited to a gathering were we
met other students and saw the work people had produced. All the staff at GSA
were really friendly and approachable. Though it’s part of huge university the vibe
at the GSA is more like a boutique studio run by artists who value collaboration and
push the creative boundaries.

Glass and photos.

Before I took this course, I’ll admit Glasgow was never on my list of places to see. I
had been to Edinburgh and the Scottish highlands and considered Scotland ticked
off my travel list. Big mistake – Glasgow is brilliant! If you’re after culture it’s home
to fine institutions like the Scottish Ballet, if you want a social atmosphere head to
the West End and explore the bars. If you want history there are loads of museums
and if fancy gardens the Glasgow Botanic Gardens can take a whole day to
explore. It doesn’t get dark till after 10pm either, so you can take your time. One of
my favourite nights out was seeing Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing in the
Botanic Gardens for five pounds.

Glasgow skyline.

Glasgow university.

I stayed at the GSA accommodation where I had my own ensuite room. It was
modern and clean with a shared kitchen with all the facilities needed to cook meals.
With so many places to eat out I only really used the kitchen for breakfasts but if I’d
been there for longer I would have been cooking up a storm. Washing machines
were also available for laundry, it was five minutes walk from the studios and
staffed until 7pm every day. Price of living is similar to Australia. For lunch I usually
went to a convenience store and got a sandwich or salad for about $5 AUD. Once I
was in Glasgow I walked everywhere, or took a black cab if it was late at night.
Getting to Glasgow from London or Edinburgh is easiest by rail and prices are
lower if you book online in advance.

My experience at GSA differed from my experience at QUT in that GSA was all
studio based. Other than that it was similar – we learnt the techniques, studied the
context and worked from a design brief under the guidance of our tutors.

If I could offer advice to anyone considering taking this course is to go with an open
mind and willingness to push yourself creatively. I’d also recommend you give
yourself a few days either side of your course to explore the city and meet some
locals. I extended my trip to three weeks to visit London and Copenhagen. It was
great to have that down time to balance the trip with work and play.
My only complaint about this course was that it wasn’t long enough!

Me in London.

My Short but Sweet Time in the United Kingdom

Su Jin Lim, Masters of Business

Short-term program: University of Exeter ‘International Summer School’

England (June/July 2018)

It had always been a lifelong dream of mine to study in the UK; therefore when I saw QUT’s Global Exchange Portal advertising the International Summer School Program at the University of Exeter, I knew I had to do it.

In order to make full use of my winter break, I made the choice to extend my trip and arrive 2 weeks before summer school began. In that time span, I took the opportunity to sight see around London and the beautiful Welsh countryside. I had the opportunity of visiting, Highgate Cemetery (The burial place of Karl Marx), shopping along Oxford Street, and most importantly going to the Harry Potter Studio Tour in Leavesden (It would have been blasphemous for me not to do so!). I spent one week in Wales with my relatives at their smallholdings estate up in Lampeter. Over there we drove around to different places and visited historical sites and museums.

One of the “must-have” shots for anyone who visits the Harry Potter studios.

I then returned to Convent Garden in London where my summer school program began. By this time, London was experiencing one of the worst heat waves, which really was equivalent to a typical Brissie Summer, except it was a lot more humid. We were scheduled to stay in London for the next 4 days for sightseeing. The summer school coordinators planned the trip such that we had plenty of leisure time to explore the city on our own. Luckily for me, I managed to meet friends on the first day of the program, they became my travel buddies throughout the trip. During our stay in London, we were taken to see iconic places such as Tower Bridge, House of Parliament, Trafalgar Square, and the British Museum. The most memorable part of the trip was having the opportunity to watch Shakespeare’s “A Winter’s Tale” at the Globe Theatre just like how people used to watch it back in the day (i.e. standing up for the whole play!). Never have I ever cried and laughed so hard watching a play, the acting and the whole experience of it was honestly quite moving.

Waiting for the play to begin at the Globe Theatre.

Bright and early on our last day in London, we boarded our buses for the 4 ½ hour journey to Exeter. The moment we arrived in Exeter, we were greeted with typical British weather which quite ironically I found to be quite warm and welcoming. I think it was because it was the English weather I was expecting to experience rather than the warm sticky weather. We were all assigned rooms at the on campus accommodation at the University of Exeter. Each of us had our own ensuite toilets, a bed, and a large desk. I technically shared a “flat” with 5 other students and we all had access to a common kitchen. Meals were not catered for, which allowed us full freedom to plan all our meals. Quick tip: I highly recommend you try eating-in when you can; it gives you the opportunity to learn how to cook for yourself but to also to learn the cuisine of other international students cooking in the flat as well. My accommodation was a 10 minute walk to campus and all its facilities which was really convenient for us.    

The Iconic University of Exeter “Rock”.

Class picture on our last day of class with our two module facilitators (Standing on the far left and right).

I enrolled for the “Adapting Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to Improve Accessibility to Psychological Therapies” module at summer school. Classes were 4 hours a day, in 2 hour blocks. Despite the intensity of our classes, I thoroughly enjoyed them as it was highly interactive and very much hands on. I only had 12 other students in my class which gave us the opportunity to really bond with one another and having sessions better tailored to our needs. The assessments for our course were broken down into two parts. Firstly, we had to design a psycho-education leaflet tailored towards international students from a specific country/region. Secondly, we had to give a 30 minute presentation explaining our target sample, design of our leaflet, and how we worked together as a group. 

Visiting the underground tunnels of Exeter.

The town of Bath.

During the two weekends we had at Exeter, we made it a point to do as much sightseeing as we could. We took day trips to the town of Bath (a UNESCO World Heritage site), St. Ives, and we were even adventurous enough to cycle 44km to visit the nearby port town of Exmouth. All of these places were truly amazing and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Overall, I will say that the International School Program at the University of Exeter was amazing such that it allowed you time to learn and having enough time to sightsee, it was really a rewarding experience. Not only did I get the opportunity to visit the beautiful places the UK had to offer, but I was also able to form lifelong friendships with students from all other the globe. To anyone reading this and is interested on going to the UK, I highly recommend applying for this program. You will not regret it, I definitely didn’t J

Misleading York Pudding

As I’m sitting here about to post yet another entry, I look out my window and I finally feel like I live in London. If the constant rain and overcast skies aren’t an indication I simply have to look at the temperature which is a barmy (ha) 12 degrees Celsius! It even got down to 9 degrees on Wednesday (funny funny – good one London)! Read more

Hugh and Jake who?!

Hi there!

So I’ve officially been on exchange for just over two weeks in London! So far I have loved everything about this city! From the transport (amazing compared to Brisbane) to the fashion and shopping, it’s going to be very hard to come home in January. However, just for now I’ll do a quick recap of some exciting things that have happened in the past week! Read more

London calling…

Well Hi there! This is the first of many entries I intend to create whilst on exchange. I haven’t left home yet as my exchange doesn’t start until September (the three month break has been fantastic). While I wait I’ve been working as much as I can in order to fund my trip! Something I knew but severely underestimated was how expensive London is! It seems every week there is something else I have to buy in order to take over or ensure is in my possession! Anyways, I’ll leave it there for now! Hopefully next entry I’ll be in London with more exciting news to share!


Happy New Year!

Happy New Year Australia!

As of the 30th of December (2011), I have been residing with my Great Aunt and Uncle in St Albans, Hertfordshire. I’ll be staying with them for the duration of my exchange. It’s a lovely area, hopefully I’ll get an opportunity to take photos.

For New Years Eve (Day), I had my first adventures into London. My first stop was Oxford Street, which is apparently the busiest street in the world. Full of retail stores and a great deal of double decker buses. Next on the agenda was a personal favourite, Abbey Road! This is where the Beatles had recorded. Several tourists were rudely interupting traffic to mimic that album cover everyone knows. You know the one. Honestly, It’s kind of sad to see grown adults be so ignorant and rude to inhabitants of a foreign country, but hey, I guess that happens everywhere. That being said, I don’t see that kind of behaviour in Brisbane, but I suppose I haven’t seen a tourist attracting like that in Brisbane (that would literally halt trafic).

Abbey Road Studio

Abbey Road

Farewell to Lennon

Next was Buckingham Palace. Supposedly the Queen was in, as the flag was raised. I seriously wonder why such sensitive information is made public. The Guards look so cool though, they don’t even twitch. Interesting trivia, Scotts Guards don’t have a plume, whilst the other Guards of Buckingham Palace do. I wonder if their is a reason for that. There is also a park near the palace (it’s name I can’t remember) abundant with squirels, swans and the like. Apparently it’s illegal to kill a swan, as in, it carries a prison sentence. Yet its legal to kill a Scottsman with a crossbow from a certain number of paces in some place in the UK. They should probably consider amending that law.

Next was Big Ben and the London Eye. Big Ben actually refers to the bell within the tower itself. The London Eye looks awesome (unfortunately I don’t think I have any photos of it).

Big Ben Clock Tower

Buckingham Palace Gate

Statue outside front of Buckingham Palace

Unicorn Statue at Buckingham

As it was New Years, I decided to wait for the fireworks display. I stood in the one spot for 8 hours to get the best view. They were brilliant. At around 10 pm, A live radio show was broadcasting an event, then at 12, their was a massive fireworks display. After all the fun had occured, it was a mission to get back home. I live about 30 minutes away from London. It took 4 hours to get home. Thousands and thousands of people came to see these fireworks, and as a consequence, it actually took up to 5 minutes to move even 10 metres, the streets were so heavily congested it was insane. Apparently, strike action occured with the people who ran the London Tube, thus it was very difficult to get onto a tube. Heres a condensed version of what happened:

Wade through a massive mosh pit of drunken, rude people for 6 kilometres, going from station to station, to find a station that still had the capacity to accept people. Avoid drunken lunatics, try not to stand on glass, and follow police on horseys directions.

A lot of people were understandably pissed off. I’m not quite sure on the numbers, but for a city with an infrastructure as efficient as London, it’s hard to imagine that it lacked the capacity to deal with such a large number of people. I wish I actually knew how many people were out and about that night, because it was enough to halt the Tube, and the lives of the people in the city itself. I feel sorry for the poor suckers in their cars, took them 10 minutes to travel 100 metres. When I got home, I had someone elses vomit on my boots. All in all, A FANTASTIC evening (Full serious, not being sarcastic).

Still feeling a little alienated I guess, minor cultural differences make me want to shake my head. Brittish seem to smother everything in butter. Guess they need the cholesterol to survive the winter. Also, esculator ettiquette, they stay to the right to allow people to pass. I was scolded for not doing this, as I assumed it was the same as Australia (keeping to the left, like how we drive). Oh well, It’s all a learning experience. Have university orientation next Monday. Wish me luck.

Stay class Australia,