Rachael – University of Leeds – England
Semester 1, 2023
Bachelor of Business / Bachelor of Laws
Kickstart My Journey
I arrived in Leeds at the end of January with no idea what to expect from exchange and spent my first night sitting on the floor of my empty room eating a jam sandwich for dinner. Little did I know that my next four months would change my life in all the best ways.
Looking back now I can honestly say that going on exchange was one of the best decisions I could have made. I had the craziest experiences, met the most amazing people and have come home with so many memories. So in short, if you are unsure whether to go on exchange, my answer would be a massive YES.
I found classes at Leeds to be a very similar style to QUT but with a much lighter workload. I took three units which was equivalent to four QUT units. For each class, I had one lecture per week and one seminar (similar to QUT’s tutorials) per fortnight. By chance, all of my units only had one piece of assessment which was a 100% assignment. A pass grade at the Uni of Leeds is a 40% so it was pretty difficult to fail any of my classes.
I stayed in the Montague Burton student residence which I would highly recommend to anyone considering exchange in Leeds. ‘Monty B’ is in the perfect location about a five minute walk from campus and not too far from the bigger shops and the centre of town. Each flat has 4 or 9 rooms with shared bathrooms, a kitchen and common area. Being in self-catered accommodation gave me the flexibility to cook my own meals as well as to avoid paying for catered food when I decided to eat out or was away for the weekend. The international students in the flat before us left all of their cooking utensils and appliances so we were lucky enough to not have to purchase anything. Being in self-catered and shared bathroom accommodation also meant that it was very affordable compared to many of the other options.
The residence was full of international students who are mostly grouped together in the flats. I lived with 7 other exchange students, four of which happened to also be from Australia, as well as one Dutch, one Canadian and one Indonesian. A big group of exchange students in Monty B became good friends and we had numerous Taco Tuesdays and infamous Otley Runs (pub crawl along a road in Leeds) together.
Sport and music are both major parts of the culture in the UK. I ended up attending a few football games including an FA Cup game between Sheffield and Tottenham which had a great atmosphere as well as a Leeds Rhinos rugby match. In terms of music, I found that so many more artists tour the UK than Australia so there was always an abundance of big (and small) music gigs to attend. Leeds has so many good venues, including one in the Uni of Leeds student union building where I was lucky enough to see the Backseat Lovers.
I also managed to fit in heaps of travel during my time overseas with Leeds and the UK in general having great (and cheap!) connections to the rest of Europe. This included 9 weeks interrailing before arriving at Leeds as well as weekend trips to Copenhagen, Dublin, Edinburgh, Bath and London. The entire month of April was also a uni break so all of the exchange students spent most of it travelling. I visited Scotland, Wales, Amsterdam and Brussels with some of the people from my flat.
The best advice I can give you is to save as much as you can before going and say yes to every opportunity sent your way. Leeds welcomed me with open arms and will forever be my home away from home. I now have friends scattered all over the globe and a lifetime of amazing memories.
Find out how you can apply for exchange via the QUT Student Exchange website.