Ariane – Oxford Brooks University – England
Semester 2, 2022
Bachelor of Laws (Honours) / Bachelor of Justice
From September to December of 2022, I went on exchange at Oxford Brookes University in the UK and had the time of my life. I was so excited to be living in Oxford, as I’d always wondered if the beautiful architecture and colleges would look just as amazing in real life (p.s. they definitely did). Oxford is such a beautiful city. You feel like you have stepped back in time as you walk around, and the history and culture surrounding you is like nothing I had ever experienced in Australia.
The one downside to Oxford is the traffic. The roads are not built for the number of cars and buses, so if you can, avoid going anywhere during peak times, as a bus ride supposed to take 15 minutes can take 40!
While on exchange I stayed in Clive Booth Student Village, the main accommodation option for exchange students. The whole section of the building I was in was all exchange students, including my flat which I shared with 5 other girls. This allowed me to meet people and make friends from all over the world, including Canada, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands and many more. Living with and being surrounded by other exchange students meant there was always someone new to meet, someone ready to try something new, or someone to make new memories with. I loved the social aspect of Clive Booth, with many flats taking turns hosting pre-drinks before going out, parties or dinner nights. At Christmas time my flat organised a big Christmas dinner where we did Secret Santa and it was such a great night.
Oxford Brookes has a Freshers Week (similar to O-week) where they run many activities during the day and night. You have the opportunity to sign up to any clubs you may be interested in or get heaps of freebies or cheap deals at the market stalls. The clubs in Oxford also open every night and have many different student deals. It was very tiring, but I had so much fun making new friends every night.
Oxford Brookes has three different campuses. My classes were mostly on the main Headington campus, where they have a 24-hour library all semester. It’s also only a 10-minute walk from Clive Booth making it very easy to get to. My flat mates and I definitely spent some late nights in there finalising our assignments after travelling all weekend!
Oxford is an hour from London by train, making it easy to get to London or airports if you want to travel around. There are also direct buses to London or the Heathrow or Gatwick airports from Headington campus. While they take longer, I preferred getting the bus over the train as it was cheaper and meant I didn’t have to make multiple train change overs.
I used my 4 months to its full potential. On weekends I would go into London or another surrounding city or go to another country. Throughout the semester I travelled to Edinburgh, Paris, Budapest and Amsterdam. I went to Edinburgh on my first solo trip and had the best time. I also travelled to Budapest and Amsterdam with other exchange students I met at Clive Booth. They have become my best friends and I made so many amazing memories with them over a short period of time.
Overall, I would recommend a semester exchange to everyone. It was a life changing opportunity and allowed me to meet friends I will have for life. Make sure you save up as much as you can as travel (especially now) and student accommodation is expensive! But every penny is worth it, and you will learn so much about yourself. It really opened my eyes to many other ways of life, and it is an experience I will forever be grateful for.
Find out how you can apply for exchange via the QUT Student Exchange website.