Host University

University of Essex

Host Country

United Kingdom


SP2, 2018


Bachelor of Arts (History and Cultural Studies)

Why did you choose your host university?

I chose my host university after looking at all of the Universities in England and coming to the conclusion that the University of Essex was the best fit for me. Prior to me looking at all of the possible locations I already had in mind where I wanted to go which was England. It was a place that has always been on my bucket list and it worked out that the University of South Australia had partners in England.

Cameron HemleyWhat was the university like?

The University was in most parts quite similar to what you find when going to a University of South Australia campus. There was however differences in the way everything was run. The University of Essex has an extremely large number of International students, I believe on orientation day they made reference to number being close to 500 International Students. 

The classes for the most part are the same as ours, the semester’s structure is slightly different to ours and there marking structure is the biggest difference however with their passing grade being 40. The library on campus was easy to use, the computer rooms were easy to find, and the stores on campus are extremely easy to find. The University was accessible and your teachers will be just like the teachers at UniSA. 

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

I have gained a lot experience while being on exchange; it has changed my mindset a lot. It has taught me a lot and I have brought back everything I’ve learnt with me and hope that these experiences will help me through life.

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

They had numerous accommodation options available to you to choose from. My accommodation was the cheapest available, but it was still very good. The accommodation options available to you are the South Towers and North Towers, I was in one of the two South Tower buildings, and in these buildings each flat has 16 rooms. There is also South Courts, the Houses, the Meadows, and the Quays. They have plenty of options for International Students to choose from.

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

I was fortunate enough to be able to travel locally and over to neighbouring countries. I enjoyed trips to Bremen, Germany, Marseille, France, and Amsterdam in the Netherlands. I also was fortunate enough to make numerous trips into London which was easily the most beautiful place I have ever been. I also made several short trips around England to see some of its sights. Useful tip for travelling Overseas from England is to go to London Stanstead Airport, which is about an hour by National Express coach from Colchester which is where one of the University of Essex’s campuses is, and use Ryanair, who although may be inconsistent, they are the cheapest airfare deals I’ve ever seen.

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

I was lucky enough to live in a flat with 15 other people so it was very easy to meet people, and it just evolved from there that the people I met in my flat would introduce me to people they’ve met and so on and so on. Adjusting to life was a little more difficult but still relatively simple with the help of those I was living with as they were in the same position as me and we all helped each other get through it and adjust to life in England.

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

I can definitely see plenty of benefits. It was a huge learning experience for me, whilst I was over in England I learnt things I would never have learnt if I was still at home. I learnt to rely on myself, I learnt the difficulties of living away from home, which forced me to adapt and I was fortunate enough to have others around me going through the same thing and helped me.

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

Research, research, research. I needn’t say much more really. If you are struggling to figure out whether this is for or not than my top tip is to research, read these Exchange experience reports to see how others who have already done an exchange managed it. Besides from being a huge risk financially I can only see the positives of doing an Exchange. If I could I would love to do one again.

Top tips

I actually have two top tips and that is to do your research like I mentioned above, but I don’t just mean about the exchange, I mean research everything that could be involved around an exchange especially one that lasts 6 months. The second being money. If you go in unprepared in terms of money than you are dooming yourself, especially in England where for an Australian is quite expensive. Start saving early and you will have no problem especially with the help that the University provide in the way of loans.