As an undergraduate student at Leeds Law School – you will have the opportunity to study abroad for a year. We work with universities around the world whose staff will continue to nurture and support you as you embark on a sandwich year.
Studying abroad provides an exciting opportunity for you to not only learn about different legal systems and practises - but to immerse yourself in another culture and enrich your travelling experiences, all the while contributing to your academic and personal development.
There are also a number of funding options which you may be entitled to - from maintenance loans to potential travel grants. Find out more.
Semester one and two
I've had some incredible experiences from being on exchange at Victoria University, including being able to explore a new country, making new friends, eating out lots and spending a lot of time at the beach.
On the academic side it has made me feel smarter, more capable of learning, as well as challenging myself a lot more. Having an abundance of choice of units to study is amazing, it’s the academic equivalent of a Pick 'n' Mix. It does however mean that picking the right combination is all the more important. But if you put the time in to choosing the right units you can study an unbelievably diverse amount of topics. In just two semesters I covered Introductory Statistics, Economics, World History, Political Science, Jurisprudence, Campaign Management/Marketing, and then built on the Introductory Stats and Economics to study Financial Econometrics and Risk Management Modelling. At times it has been full on, but it's been absolutely worth it.
In semester one I gave myself a lighter load by not taking too many intense subjects as I wanted to go out and explore whilst making the most of the academic opportunities. None of my subjects were law based and I found them extremely helpful in developing my legal reasoning. Not only because of the analytical and research skills required but because of the enriched understanding they have given me of the context in which law is applied, and I feel this strengthens any training contract applications I make.
In semester two I decided to up my game and really challenge myself. Financial Econometrics and Risk Modelling ensure any time not spent at the beach or watching Aussie rules footy (pick a team and go watch it as it is the craziest, most exciting sport in the world) is spent looking at spreadsheets, no fun right? Wrong. FinEm is fascinating and I’m sure Risk Modelling will save me a fortune one day. Being on exchange gives you the opportunity to try new subjects that you may love, with the bonus that if you hate it you can swap it pretty quickly!
Top tips for finding somewhere to stay
Before you get there definitely research the area you want to live, consider whether you want the city lifestyle, lazy days on the beach, or bohemian coffee shops. I've lived in four different places since arriving, when I first arrived I booked somewhere on Air BnB for a few days whilst I found somewhere more permanent. It was a little house-share in Flemington, an inner-suburb on the north side, the place was fine and the people were nice enough but I really would have benefited from being in the city for the first few days to properly find my bearings. I then moved into a room-share in the city for six weeks, it was hilarious, the people were crazy and we had eight people from six countries living in a little flat on Flinders Street (the equivalent of Covent Garden). While living in the room-share was great it’s not for everyone and I wouldn’t recommend it to those who like their personal space or things being super tidy, but if you can bare the mess and noise, it really is worth it for the laughs!
Six weeks passed in a flash and it was time for something a little less crazy, and so I found myself in a flat in back on the north side. It was pretty cheap and it was great to have some personal space back, I stayed until Christmas and it was nice enough, but I often found myself just staying in because there wasn’t much to do nearby, and the travel links weren’t amazing (unlike most of Melbourne which has the best public transport). When I came back from Christmas I decided to splash out a little more and move to Middle Park on the south side, as such I’m currently on my sofa, two minutes from the beach, 15 minutes from the city and five minutes from St Kilda (look it up). It’s true what they say: location, location, location. I now seldom find myself without something to do, have a garden with a BBQ, and go for a swim most days. Everybody’s different though, so take your time and research the suburbs that will best suit you, and don’t immediately rush into student accommodation. If you’re happy to move about a bit and maybe travel a little lighter, you can save yourself a fortune and live somewhere more suited to you.
Settling into life in Melbourne
Honestly, the first few days can be quite scary, I arrived in Melbourne and realised I didn’t know the place or anyone around, I was late for my first lecture and even sat down in the wrong building, however all of sudden it becomes your home. Everything was new and scary but that was so exciting, the streets and buildings were huge but everyone was really friendly.
You soon learn where everything is, from food and drink shopping, to buying an umbrella as Australia isn’t sunny all the time, who knew?! After a couple of weeks, you truly settle in, and Melbourne became one of the best places I’ve ever been.
Travelling while in Australia
Shortly after I arrived I decided to go on the trip to Lorne to meet other students at Victoria University. This was a weekend of activities including surfing, I quickly decided that sitting on the board was a lot more fun than standing as I got to chat to lots of people. This weekend was great as I met two girls that I would end up spending the next five months with. We also went along the Great Ocean Road on the last day.
At the end of September, I had a week off. My friends and I decided to fly to Brisbane and drive up the East Coast of Australia to Cairns. This was probably a couple of the best weeks of my life. We went to Brisbane, Fraser Island, Whitsunday Islands, Mission beach and finally Cairns. If you choose to go to Australia (or any country), make sure you travel outside of where your university is based. This extra year of university in Melbourne gave me the opportunity to go and travel to all these places I’d always seen pictures of and wished to go.
Favourite part about studying abroad
My favourite part has to be meeting people from different countries. I found Australians to be very friendly, they’re all quite outgoing and wanted to make friends with strangers which was really nice being in a new environment. I got to go to mixers with other international students, and it was so interesting becoming friends with people with different ways of life and definitely different humours.
Moving away for a year is a scary decision, and there will be times that feel hard because you are away from home but you learn to adapt to a new country and make a new life on your own, and taking this journey made me feel proud of myself that I took a big step and achieved something. It will be the best decision of your life, Leeds will still be there when you get home and the whole thing goes so fast.
You will 100% not regret doing a year abroad (trust me, my friends are wishing they had done the same), but you could easily regret it if you don’t.