I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that my application to study a semester in Australia had been accepted. I thought I would take some time to update you and give you a brief overview on the process itself.
Studying abroad was not really something that had fallen into my POA, but when we had a visit from the Study Abroad team during Semester 1, that changed. Unknown to me, Leeds Met had partnerships with Universities all around the world, and it was possible to participate in an exchange programme, either Internationally or European (Erasmus) without paying any extra fees for your studies.
Lots of my lovely family are based in Sydney, Australia and the opportunity to visit them again, and stay for a couple of months was pretty much a no brainer. After a lot of talking and not a lot of doing.. I finally put my application form together (within days of the deadline) and submitted it to the Study Abroad team - the staff over there (based at Headingley Campus) are very friendly and helpful. I opted to go for the first semester of year 2, as this meant I could leave for Australia as soon as my exams here finished (May/June) and I wouldn't have to return until Semester 2 started at the end of January. It also meant I would have lots of time when I returned to secure my year long placement and gain some more work experience.
I was offered two placements, one that I wanted at University of Western Sydney, and one at Canberra. Canberra was a new relationship, and it came with a $5000 scholarship and a guaranteed PR Placement. In the end, I chose Sydney. Although Canberra was an amazing offer, I was also very keen to live with family in Sydney and spend some valuable time with them, and for anyone who appreciates the size of Aus, it is not a viable commute. Living in London, and commuting to Leeds Met daily is a comparable example!
(Of course having family in your desired location isn't necessary, partner Universities offer accommodation option for international/exchange students, I am just incredibly lucky to have family based there!)
After I was nominated for UWS, I had to fill in the Study Plan, where I chose my modules/units. I spoke to several people during this process - it is important to check which modules you will be missing when you are abroad and best try match them so you are not behind the class. I spoke with my course admin about this. Different countries obviously have different formats for Universities, so I sought advice from a friend I had made from Australia who had completed a Semester at Leeds Met, from an Australian colleague at the school and from the Study Abroad team - don't be afraid to give them a ring and ask for help - they are incredibly helpful.
I have now submitted my signed off study plan and passport details and I am awaiting my official letter of acceptance from UWS in the next two weeks, enabling me to apply for my visa and get my flights booked. I am incredibly excited for the next stage of the whole process, and I plan to share it all on here, from booking flights, planning Australian activities I want to do, and deciding how to condense my beauty/clothes stash for my time away.
It does take a little time and effort to get your application together but it is such an exciting prospect that I would encourage everyone to get involved in, and apply. I really hope this experience builds my confidence and thirst for travelling, and is just the first step on a path of amazing global adventures.
Keep posted for more updates on my travels.