Period on Exchange: Semester 1, 2012

What courses did you study?

  • Law and the Environment
  • Comparative European Legal Systems
  • Cybercrime
  • Gender and the Law

Why did you choose that university?

I chose to study at the University of Leeds as it’s in a large student city, was central for travelling all around the UK and had an excellent range of law subjects to choose from.

How does studying law overseas compare to studying at UNSW?

I found the contact hours to be a lot less (average of 2 hours a week per subject), with the subjects usually having 100% essays as the form of assessment. However, this was because I studied electives rather than core subjects. Despite a reduced emphasis on assessing class participation, I still found many students to be actively engaged in the subject content and doing their readings without it being enforced by the teachers.

What was the cost of living compared to Australia?

Living in Leeds is a lot cheaper than living in Australia! I stayed in one of the more expensive residences which cost $160AUD per week with all bills included. A weekly shop for groceries usually cost around $40AUD, with a pint of cider only being $2AUD! Shopping and going out at night is also significantly cheaper. Public transport was reasonably priced, but not as reasonable as the taxis, which charged by distance and not time.

What was your accommodation arrangement?

I lived in a self-catered student residence, James Baillie Park, which was a 25 minute walk from campus and a 10 minute walk from Headingley (the local student village). I had my own bedroom and ensuite, and shared a lounge room and fully serviced kitchen with 5 other students. My residence was good in that mostly English students lived there, so you got to better experience English culture, compared to other residences which were full of exchange students. You spend a lot of time with other exchange students, so being able to live with locals was a great experience!

What were the highlights of your experience?

  • Being able to travel around the UK on my weekends (Oxford, Liverpool, Nottingham, Edinburgh, London, York, the Lake District and Chatsworth to name a few!).
  • Meeting amazing people from all around the world and forming lifelong friendships.
  • The Otley Run – the 27 pub crawl through Leeds, usually done in costume.

What were the main challenges you faced, if any?

The biggest challenge for me was living away from my family and friends for the first time in my life, but Facebook and Skype made it a lot easier. I also found it helped to get involved in as many social activities as possible to meet new people – definitely stops any homesickness! The University of Leeds Exchange Office was very supportive and always able to help with any issues that could have arisen.

Melinda Norquay