Renz – University of Westminster – England
Semester 2, 2022
Bachelor of Business / Bachelor of Creative Industries
This might be to cliché to say but joining the student exchange program is probably one of the best decisions I’ve made in life (so far). Not only was I able to explore Europe and be immersed in various cultures but I got to meet amazing people and have the best experience that I will forever treasure.
I did not have any regrets about choosing England for the exchange program, I’ve always had a hunch that I will love it and I did! I was not prepared for all the drinking and partying, but I was so here for it. I’m someone who usually stays in my comfort zone, but I felt like studying abroad gave me an opportunity to try new things and step out of my own little bubble.
One of the most tedious and annoying parts of the exchange is the application process. It involved a lot of patience, doing a great deal of research and lots of excruciating waiting. It can be a lot if you don’t get on top of it and I’ve had lots of sleepless nights trying to match QUT units to several universities in England. There was a time in the period of my application when I was about to give up, but I just pushed through it, and honestly, it was so worth it. Huge shout out to the exchange faculty for always being so gracious and helpful throughout my exchange experience. I don’t think I would’ve made it to England without them. <3
Although there are similarities between English and Australian university culture, my study abroad experience was very different from what I was used to. Since I was studying creative industry units, I spent most of my time at the Harrow campus, which is located about 35 minutes away from London via the tube. Fortunately, I was able to secure accommodation near the campus, which happened to be the official student housing for the University of Westminster. I consider myself lucky because my room was only a 3-minute walk from the university, and I had the luxury of having my own toilet. In addition, there was a communal kitchen shared among six people, which was used for both partying and late-night studying. Most of the other residents in my building were fellow exchange students from around the world, and some of them have become good friends of mine. One of the most memorable experiences I had during my exchange was a Thanksgiving party we hosted in my friend’s flat, where everyone brought food that represented their culture.
At the beginning of the semester, my university held a welcome week, also known as freshers’ week, that included various activities and events for students. However, these mostly consisted of drinking, partying, and visits to pubs and clubs, which was somewhat of a culture shock for me. Despite this, I was able to adapt quickly. The university’s grading standards for assignments are a bit more rigorous than what I’m used to. For instance, I received a 66/100 score on an assignment, which apparently translated to a B+. The university also mentioned that it’s uncommon for students to receive an 80.
One of the highlights of my exchange program was when it snowed on my birthday. Since arriving in London, I had been hoping to see snow, as it was something I had never experienced before. Many people warned me not to get my hopes up, as it had been a long time since it had snowed in London during December. However, on the night of December 11, it happened – it snowed! It was truly one of the most magical experiences of my life.
There’s an endless array of things to do and see in London and all throughout England. Even after spending four months there, I felt like there was still so much left to explore. I was fortunate enough to visit many museums and landmarks, both in London and in other cities across England. I highly recommend taking advantage of the free admissions to museums and taking day trips outside of London to explore other cities. Fortunately, I only had classes on Thursdays and Fridays, which gave me ample time to travel and experience everything London has to offer. I was also able to travel across Europe during the exchange period. I recommend looking early at your timetables and planning trips ahead to avoid expensive fares.
If you’re planning to study abroad, my advice is to save up as much money as you can. Additionally, I highly recommend using Wise for their services, as it helped me save a lot of money on travel expenses by avoiding insane exchange rates.
Another tip I have is to pack light. Trust me, you don’t want to end up paying $800 for shipping, like I did.
Finally, I encourage you to go out and make the most of your study abroad experience. While it may be intimidating to step out of your comfort zone, it’s truly worth it. Just remember to make smart decisions along the way!
Find out how you can apply for exchange via the QUT Student Exchange website.