Jack T., Bachelor of Business and Engineering
Oxford Brookes University, England (Semester 1, 2017)
My time abroad as part of QUT’s semester exchange program was one of the best experiences of my life. Studying at Oxford Brookes University in Oxford, United Kingdom, I spent my time between making friends, studying hard and travelling around Europe. Leaving in early September, I arrived in England during a heatwave which was in stark contrast to the expected chilly temperatures the country is renowned for.
After staying first in London I made my way to Oxford to settle in, attend O-week and explore the world famous city. As the semester kicked off, I began travelling through both the United Kingdom and Western Europe. In total, I visited over 10 countries, ranging from the rural coastal towns of Portugal and the snow capped mountains of Switzerland to alpha cities such as Paris, Berlin, Madrid, and Rome. When in Oxford, I spent my time between exploring the city with my roommates, dining in at local iconic British pubs and taking day tours to nearby sites such as Stonehenge and Oxford University.
The main reason to be in Oxford was to study. Oxford Brookes University was a fantastic, modern university with a huge variety of international students. The university was very helpful in setting myself up and made all the exchange students feel at home. The subjects were both interesting and challenging, however I still made sure I had plenty of time to explore and travel as well. By the end of the teaching period, I was able to pass all my subjects with high distinctions and leave on a positive note.
My favorite moments of the trip were the opportunity to travel so quickly to so many countries, all with different cultures, geography, and landmarks. One day you could be at the top of the Eiffel Tower or riding down the canals of Amsterdam. The next day you could be back in Oxford, studying in library’s which were used in Harry Potter films. It was such an unreal experience which I never believed I could achieve until I arrived at QUT. The biggest challenge of the trip would’ve been the regular planning of travelling essentially nonstop for five months which eventually can have a mental and physical toll. At one point, I arrived back home from Portugal at 4am when I had an exam at 9am. Fortunately I survived and passed the subject. Another challenge would be living completely independently. For a person who still lives at home, the responsibility of having to wash clothes, cook dinner, and maintain a clean house was a difficult, eye opening, but rewarding experience. I certainly have a lot more respect for the parents now!
Overall the experience was a once in a life time opportunity which I will never forget. It allowed myself to develop personally, professionally, and academically. I have made lifelong friends who I’m still in contact with and memories which would seem like fantasy to myself only a few years ago. I would highly recommend a semester exchange for anyone considering applying. Trust me you won’t regret it!