BSc Economics 2010
Being part of Leeds University Business School entitled me to a scholarship to study outside Europe which is unique to the Business School and it certainly aided my decision to go to Australia.
The college I lived in was called Union College, it contained 300 people and the majority were Australians, which I saw as a bonus. At College I met many friends, and these people made my time in Australia incredible. The college was similar to first year halls in the UK and there was an infectious college spirit that you couldn’t help getting involved with through sports and huge social events. During the mid-semester break I got to go to Cairns, where I swam in the Great Barrier Reef amongst other things.
All this fun required financing, which was my biggest worry when I first arrived and I’m sure this is a concern a lot of people have when considering going to Australia. However, I found getting a job easy and casual jobs pay very well: I was on over £10 per hour as a waiter at the Gabba Cricket Stadium.
Of course the main reason for being over there was to study and experience a different teaching environment. I liked being able to pick modules that interested me and also ones that increased my knowledge of my host country.
The term dates in Australia are very different and, as a result, I finished my first semester in November and had four months off. During this time I got a job on the world heritage listed Fraser Island working as a bar tender. I thought that these 2 months would be the chore of the summer saving money. However, living on the island was a lot of fun; I made some great friends and learnt many new skills.
By this point I was starting to feel like Australia was home rather than just being a tourist. This is one of the advantages of taking part in the University of Leeds study abroad programme as most universities only offer six month exchanges. I didn’t meet one person who was ready to leave at that point.
I didn’t experience a culture shock as it is a very similar to the UK. However, be prepared to have highs and lows, especially at the beginning. The year abroad is a fantastic opportunity and I would fully recommend that anyone who can takes the risk. It has increased my overall confidence and inspired me to work and live abroad in the future.