Keele University here I come!

This is unbelievable, for what feels like forever I have dreamt about embarking on exchange and now it’s a reality. It’s been such a long time coming, months of preparation, applications and planning amongst a very stressful semester of studying. I just completed my second year of study at Flinders in a Bachelor of Engineering (Civil), a Bachelor of Environment and a Bachelor of Letters (Indonesian). With four and a half years to go before I graduate, I thought it was about time to spice up my Uni life, and what better way to do that than immersing myself in a totally new place with totally new people on the other side of the world.

I didn’t begin my planning process with the thought of the UK immediately in mind, but after a lot of research in all of my options, I decided that not only the UK ticked all of the boxes, but Keele University specifically. Flinders is quite flexible and I am permitted to study three degrees, overloading with a fifth topic each semester, however this is not something I wanted for myself abroad. I decided that in undertaking exchange I would purely focus on studying Environment, and I found out that Keele University is a leading body in this field in the UK. One of the main reasons I decided I wanted to study in the UK is due to its central location in the world. From there I can easily travel to a number of destinations whilst at Uni as well as after exams, before commencing Semester 2 in Australia.

Through the Learning Without Borders Team I was introduced to another girl who is also going to Keele University. We met up after the first Pre-Departure Information Session and decided to buy our flights together. This was mainly a convenience thing, we both thought it would be comforting to have someone to be with as a safety net as well as providing good company. We both decided that the flights we booked should coincide with the Welcome Programme offered by Keele to pick us up from the airport and take us to the University. I had considered other options, but it just seemed like the most convenient one as I didn’t want to have to carry all my luggage around on public transport in a country I’d never been to before.

I’ve been working like crazy to save up as much money as I can before I depart as my Short Term Study Visa will not allow me to work whilst abroad. Between now and departure there’s not a lot I have to do, so I guess it’s just a waiting game. I think I will start to think about what sort of things I’ll need to pack and where I’d like to travel in the next couple of months so that I’m not going to be totally unprepared when I arrive.

I applied for accommodation in one of the halls of residence at the Uni. I did this so that I would have every opportunity to make new friends and be totally immersed. Also, this happened to be the cheapest accommodation. I have to make my own food which shouldn’t be too much trouble, the hardest part will probably be sharing a kitchen with 8-24 other people. I’m not sure where I’ll keep my groceries…I’m sure I’ll figure it out when I’m over there.

The thing I’m probably scared about most is the fact that lectures aren’t recorded at the Uni I’m going to. I’ve relied on lecture recordings so much over the past few years and that’s all about to change. I know I will miss my family very much too, but I have been away from home for months before in the past so I think that I will survive. This is going to be one of the highlights of my entire life I just know it. I’m excited for the new places, the new people, the new weather even, I just can’t wait for it to begin.

Georgia Hill, Bachelor of Environment/Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) (Honours)/Bachelor of Letters, Semester 1 2017 exchange at Keele University, the U.K. 

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