After about 3 weeks in England, I have overcome jet lag and started university. There haven’t been any major problems, although whenever there was any sort of inconvenience was when I really missed my family the most. I would definitely recommend that everyone use Facebook or something similar to talk to their families and make sure that you are set up to make video calls, because that has really helped me.
I have had the chance to walk around and be a tourist in both Leicester and London, and it was amazing. All of England has such a rich and beautiful history that is visible around every corner. The house that my flat is in looks like a perfect little English cottage. I have a studio flat which means I have a little bathroom and a kitchen. If you are used to having your own space, however small, I would definitely recommend that you have at least your own bathroom. I also like having my own kitchen, because I can cook exactly what I want when I want and I don’t have to hope that the kitchen cooks something that I like. It does mean that I have to be more organised, but I have a freezer, so I always have something in there that I can just heat up if I have to.
The train system in England is amazing and, overall, the public transport system is a million times better than Adelaide. It is very easy to get from the village to the university and pretty much anywhere else. It only took an hour by express train to get to London.
My birthday was this past Wednesday and it was a very hard day for me. I always spend my birthday with my family, even if it’s just to go for dinner, and spending the day on my own on the other side of the world was rough. This was when video calls to my family were really important, as were using university to distract myself and making sure that I had friends here that I could go out with for dinner with.
One thing that has confused and bewildered us as students is the differences between the UK and Australian university systems. Here, all classes are compulsory, so there is a lot more attendance and, as you would expect, a lot more likelihood that you will get sick (and yes, freshers flu is a thing. I have personal experience now). You will also use a lot more textbooks, but they are available at the uni library and also at several sources online that allow you to download them, that the university pays for, so you almost never buy them (Helpful if you don’t want to have to pay a ton in excess baggage or shipping to send them home). There are a lot more food places on campus and food here is so cheap (usually a lunch on campus will cost you about AUD$6).
There are also a lot more events run by or on the university/student village campus. The Village Hub has at least 2-3 events running every night, and the bar is open every night, along with the best pepperoni pizza I have ever eaten. The student village runs cocktail making, postcard writing, English tea parties, live music nights, and other events, and the bar staff are extremely nice. In fact, all the staff here are really nice, especially the staff at the Student Union, which is completely independent from the university and the people who work there really care about the students.
I’m loving my time in England so far, and am really looking forward to starting to travel next weekend with a trip to Edinburgh. I almost don’t want to come home!
Rebecca Spry, Bachelor of Mathematical Science (Honours)/Bachelor of Letters (French) student, Semester 2 2017 exchange at University of Leicester, the United Kingdom
- Read Rebecca’s 1st blog post here