Alexandria Jarell

Date: Study Period 2 2017
Degree Program: Bachelor of Media Arts
Host University: Lancaster University
Host Country: United Kingdom

Alexandria Jarell

Why did you choose your host university?

I chose Lancaster because I had always wanted to study in the UK and it seemed like the perfect opportunity, plus the fact that they had a fantastic Film program was a major bonus.

What was the university like?

The university campus was amazing. Though it’s not particularly international student friendly. As international students, we were told to submit course selections before our arrival. As a collective we assumed that this meant that we were guaranteed places in the selected courses, it did not. The classes themselves were very much catered to the home students and there was very little help or advice for international students who were only there for a semester, other than “make it work”. That’s not to say that there weren’t resources available for us, there was, and the international office and on campus colleges were always available to help in any way they could, but the tutors and lecturers were a lot less helpful.

What did you gain from your exchange experience and has it changed the way you think or altered your approach to life?

I gained a lot of self-confidence that I didn’t have before I left. It has made me a more determined and driven individual. It also ensured that I became better equipped with managing my time and budgeting skills.

What accommodation options were available to you?  How affordable was accommodation and would you recommend the same option to others?

There were on campus flats, or off campus private student accommodation. I would recommend getting on campus accommodation in one of the colleges, I know people who lived both on and off campus, and while off campus could be slightly cheaper in the long run, wellbeing wise being on campus is better. We all agreed that living on campus made it easier to socialise and not feel as isolated, which is important when you’re away from home and needing a new support system.

Describe your travel experiences; did you travel locally or to neighbouring countries? 

I travelled both locally and in other countries around the EU, being able to do this really enhanced the overall experience as it was so easy, and affordable, to do so.

Describe how you adjusted to life in a different country and how you met new people.

I was lucky enough to have some family in the United Kingdom so the adjustment was slightly easier than with some of my other friends. I also think the fact that I had a really great group of friends, that I made while over there, really helped make a difference when it came to adjusting. We were all going through similar things, feeling similar emotions and to be there for one another is so important. One of the best things about the international program at Lancaster is the fact that there are a lot of opportunities for the international students to meet up and spend time together, getting to know one another. I’m an introvert by nature so going on exchange and having to step outside my comfort zone was anxiety inducing, but important.

Can you see any benefits from this exchange to your future career?

Absolutely. This exchange taught me how to adapt to new situations, learn quickly, and work with people who were often difficult to communicate with.

What advice would you give to a student who was hesitant or considering joining the exchange program?

It’s scary and exciting, but it’s well worth it. The people you meet, the experiences you share, you’ll make friends for life. If you’re hesitant or considering joining the exchange program sit down and get all the information down in front of you, if you know everything there is to know, and have planned and budgeted everything you’ll need while abroad you’ll be able to make the right decision.

Top Tips:

Don’t be afraid to talk to new people and try new things, it’s scary but it’ll be well worth it.                                 

Areas of study and research

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