My little escape to Oxford

Alexandra C., Bachelor of Law (Honours)/Bachelor of Behavioural Science (Psychology)
Oxford Brookes University, England (Semester 2, 2017)

For semester two of 2017 I undertook an exchange to Oxford Brookes University in Oxford, England. Oxford is a beautiful city and is very well connected to London and Birmingham which is great if you’re planning on escaping to Europe throughout the semester. I would highly recommend taking a walking tour when you first arrive, especially if you are a Harry Potter fan, as many iconic scenes from the films were shot in Oxford. It is also a great way to get orientated with your new home as you can learn where the best shops and restaurants are.

In regards to accommodation, I stayed at Clive Booth Student Village, which is one of the on-campus colleges and is closest to the main campus, Headington. The college is divided into several blocks that all contain a number of connected flats, with each flat being shared by between five and six students. I would highly recommend applying for on campus accommodation as it is a great way to make friends very quickly and meet students not only from Oxford but from around the world.

One of the strengths of Oxford Brookes is their clubs and societies. Not only were they really easy to sign up to but all the students were incredibly welcoming and there was always a huge variety of events happening each week throughout the semester. The university also provided the opportunity to take part in weekend trips that took you to many of England’s infamous sites and cities for example, Stonehenge, Brighton and Bath.

Overall, my time in Oxford was an amazing experience and I would recommend anyone thinking about doing an exchange to take up the opportunity, you won’t regret it.

Nice – a nice change from Brisbane

Thomas M., Master of Business (Applied Finance)
EDHEC Business School, France (Semester 2, 2016 & Semester 1, 2017)

Over nine months, I spent two semesters in France at the EDHEC Business School campus in Nice from September 2016 to May 2017, completing the dual master programme in applied finance/corporate finance and banking. During this time, I lived in central Nice and studied at the EDHEC campus about 5km out of the city centre. The classes, assessment, academic organisation, cohort and campus at EDHEC were all quite different to my studies in Brisbane at QUT, with both advantages and disadvantages.

Firstly, at many French colleges, class attendance is mandatory and unjustified absences can result in academic penalties. However, the system of marking attendance is somewhat inefficient as it relied upon a sheet of paper circulated throughout the students and as a result, incorrect and unchangeable class absences are a somewhat regular occurrence. The campus itself is quite nice and modern but is much smaller than that of QUT Gardens Point or Kelvin Grove, lacking sports fields, bars or study rooms and having only a single canteen. The library is also quite small and finding a desk can be very competitive so many students tend to study inside vacant classrooms or at home.

Outside of the administrative aspects, the content and assessment of classes was overall more challenging than that at QUT and very case study-based. This was useful in gaining more knowledge in applicability of theoretical concepts to actual business cases. The school has quite a strong focus on case studies and recruits many lecturers from corporate positions for short stints of teaching, including from accounting and law firms, investment and corporate banks and consultancies. I found this a great way of teaching because it helped me to gain insight into the work-life practices of people within these careers and see what their roles really entailed, and it offered good opportunities for networking.

Living in Nice was obviously quite a large change from Brisbane in several ways. Firstly, it is much smaller in size and population than Brisbane making it quite easy to get around town without a car. While the general culture is also different, I found it generally pleasant and a fun place to live and didn’t experience much of a “culture shock”. The cohort of international students often has similar backgrounds and interests and there are often student-led functions and events, so socialising with other exchange students is easy and fun. While I tried to improve my French, nearly everyone understands English so getting around and meeting people is often easy. The city of Nice itself is also a great holiday destination and really fun to live in as there are numerous restaurants, bars and public gardens to explore, and the French Riviera has some great beaches and views of the Mediterranean.

Moving to France was daunting at first but overall, a great experience that helped me to meet people, make lots of new friends and learn finance from a European perspective. Finding a job in Europe is also far easier with a European qualification and while living in the region, which is something that wouldn’t have been as easily available from Australia.

10 Things to Love About Bishop’s University

Let’s be honest, there’s more than just 10 great things about Bishop’s. I could rave about this place all day. But instead I’m keeping it brief and bringing you 10 things I’ve enjoyed about going to school here!

  1. Small School Size

You see familiar faces everywhere you go and are always bumping into friends.

  1. Residence

You can choose to live off campus in one of the many nearby houses and apartments or on campus in one of the residence buildings. There are lots of great options to make you feel right at home.

  1. Dining Hall

It’s been declared the 2nd best in the country and it’s easy to see why. With an ever-changing menu, made-to-order omelette, crêpe, stir-fry, pasta and grill stations, long opening hours and plenty of space to eat with friends or catch up on some television on the projector screen.

  1. Sport

There’s something on every weekend from football, basketball, lacrosse, hockey, soccer or rugby. The atmosphere at these games is incredible. There are varsity and club teams meaning everyone gets a chance to play.

  1. Classes

They’re engaging and taught by professors who know you by name and are always up for a chat.

  1. Clubs

From the Environmental Club, Investment Club, Social Justice Collective or Bowling Club, there’s something for everyone.

  1. The Gait

The campus bar hosts Happy Hour every Thursday and Gait Night every Saturday with free entry, drink specials, DJs and live bands, and themed events.

  1. The Plex

There’s a lot to do in one place. This building has a gym, study area, pool, ice skating rink, basketball courts, combat room, dance studio, health clinic and café, all available for student use.

  1. Diversity

The university is made up of 2300 students of all sorts of different nationalities, races, sexualities and genders.

  1. Location

Small town life is great. You can walk to everything you need, no cars needed. There’s a supermarket, service station, pharmacies, banks, restaurants, various shops (liquor store, bookstore, dollarstore) and the local pub. And for when you’re feeling that city life, Montréal is a bus ride away.