England Europe Study Travel

A Totally Different Culture in England

Ella – King’s College London – England

Semester 1, 2023

Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)

I went on exchange to Kings College London for about 4 months. The university culture is very different in the UK, wanting to experience this I stayed on campus which is usually reserved for first years but I could luckily share my ‘flat’ with other exchange students. Living with other exchange students was definitely my best option because like me they all wanted to focus on exploring London and travelling around the UK and further abroad. It also meant I made friends with people from so many different countries and they shared their cultures with me which is definitely one of my favourite and most valuable parts of my exchange. I also got to introduce them to Australian culture which they loved.

Joining Clubs

I also joined a few clubs – the space club, the f1 club and joined a social netball team. This also helped me make friends with common interests and friends who were full time students and could show me around London, giving me more of the ‘true’ London student experience. Making friends with both locals and exchange students were equally valuable, I wouldn’t prefer one to the other I was just lucky to make friends with both.

Life in London

Living in London was such a unique experience, the city is so diverse. You can walk 10 minutes or go one tube stop and it’s a different culture with so much to do in each place. I spent 4 months in London, utilising each day and still didn’t see and do everything I wanted to. My favourite experiences in London were definitely the things I couldn’t do back home. Such as the interactive Great Gatsby play, I dressed up with my friends in 1920’s outfits and we got to interact with the actors who took us on side stories of the play. Also, the ball on a boat down the Thames, going past all the iconic sights such as Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Tower of London etc. There is something for everyone in London, my friend loved the theatre and probably went to about 10 plays. The theatre in London is amazing and there is so much to choose from, and a big bonus is the gorgeous theatres it’s played in, they’re decked out in gold and jewels.

Going to university there was a bit challenging. Starting with finding classes. Being an exchange student is quite unique, the courses available can be limited. So even if you think you have set options I would recommend having as many approved backups as possible.

Travelling in Europe

I didn’t take how easy and cheap travelling around Europe is once over there for granted, on either side of and during my exchange, I travelled around Europe. I travelled with friends and my family around Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, and the UK. I also travelled solo through multiple countries, including Northern Sweeden to see the Northern lights. This is something I never imagined I could do by myself.

Opportunities and Downsides of Exchange Experience

Despite the shiny reflection, the exchange was very challenging. Being on the other side of the world from my family and friends was very lonely and made difficult tasks even more daunting and challenging. I called back home more than I expected to, and this kept me sane.

My exchange consisted of so many unique experiences. Opportunities that aren’t easy to come by were at my doorstep whilst on exchange. Such as countries that are usually hard to travel to, becoming friends with people from all over the world, and spending so much time overseas with few commitments.

Having to navigate the six months away from the comfort of family, friends, and Australia has broadened the boundaries of what I believe I am capable of, it has made me more resilient and more confident in myself.


Find out how you can apply for exchange via the QUT Student Exchange website

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