For many students, there is a difficult trade-off between completing your studies as quickly as possible and engaging in enriching opportunities while at university. Before I started at UQ, I was afraid that focusing on one of these paths would be of detriment to the other. However, it wasn’t until I spoke with UQ global experiences staff that I discovered that a short-term experience program would be perfect for me because it would allow me to broaden my perspective without taking any time off from my usual studies.
I recently attended The London School of Economics to participate in their Summer School – a three week program in which you undertake one subject at a full-time capacity. For me, this involved the study of ‘Behavioural Economics’, a topic I was extremely excited to enrol in to grasp the intersection between psychology and economic thought. Whether it be in the classroom, enjoying the delicacies of Borough Market or venturing out to The British Museum, Tower Bridge and Buckingham Palace (all of which are within walking distance from the university!), studying abroad has unlocked a previously unknown potential to incorporate an international perspective into my everyday way of life. Since returning from my travels, I hope to pass on some helpful notes to students considering exchange:
Engage in your study, but enjoy the liberties of a new culture
While the course was demanding in terms of a 3 hour lecture and 90 minute tutorial every weekday, there was still plenty of time to explore outside of class. In the London summer the sun doesn’t set until 9.30pm, allowing for plenty of day trips, which for me included The London Film Museum, Tate Modern, Abbey Road and St. Pauls Cathedral amongst other journeys. The Summer School also organises a wide range of tours to expand upon your time there, such as theatre tickets and a running club around the city - so be sure to take advantage of those on offer.
Connect with your cohort, but don’t be afraid of independence
One of the fascinating things at Summer School was the breadth of international outlooks, which facilitated powerful discussion on global issues. Meeting students from diverse countries was an excellent insight into ongoing political discourse and greatly enhanced the delivery of course content, especially tutorials where each student had a unique message from their home backgrounds. This was the first time I had travelled overseas by myself and, as daunting as that may be, I thoroughly enjoyed the balance between connecting with others on global mindsets and being independent. Upon the culmination of my time studying at The London School of Economics, I spent several days exploring the English seaside, resulting in getting muddy and soaked at the White Cliffs of Dover, as well as enjoying the radiant sun on Brighton Beach.
Make the most of global opportunities available to you
Making the most of your time at university doesn’t have to come at the expense of your commitment to study. I really encourage all students to consider international opportunities as a valuable resource to enrich your education and test your cultural preconceptions to form a more inclusive way of thinking. If you’re thinking about participating in a global experience, I’d highly recommend that you contact the UQ Global Experiences team – they’re a great resource and will provide you with all of the assistance and support you need to embark on an inspiring adventure.
About the author
Hi I’m Daniel Collins, currently in my third year of a dual degree in Economics and Commerce at The University of Queensland. I am originally from the Gold Coast, making the move up to Brisbane in order to engage in opportunities provided by the university and city life. Outside of study, I am a Student Ambassador for UQ Business, Economics and Law and I also work in Financial Services for The Department of the Premier and Cabinet QLD.