I learned to be more independent in my academic work, as the UK educational system allows more freedom and independence for students than the US system can. At Exeter, I was encouraged to develop my own paper topics and craft my own arguments—skills that will greatly assist me in my final year of university in the US, especially as I write my senior thesis/dissertation. Socially, I learned to be more outgoing and step outside my comfort zone. I'm so glad I did, as I was able to meet new people and make friendships that I certainly hope will be lifelong. I look forward to the day when I can return to the UK, either for a visit or perhaps a more permanent stay in a graduate school program.
Deirdre Sheridan, Kenyon College, USA
At home in Australia I chose to do a double major in Environmental Science and Geology because I loved Biology in high school. I cared about the environment and realised that environmental issues were going to be a major area of importance in the coming century. Furthermore I wanted to work outside and a degree in Geology and Environmental Science would give me the opportunity to do this.
I decided to undertake study abroad because I thought it would be a great adventure and would look good on my CV. Studying at the University of Exeter would allow me to go and visit my English side of my family, and to spend time in Cornwall where some of my family roots originated.
The things I enjoyed most about my semester at the Penryn Campus were all of the great people I met and the laid back, summer-like, friendly atmosphere that this campus exudes. Oh and the volleyball! I joined the FXU volleyball club and it has allowed me to make great friends and play in a charity volleyball tournament in London; a Student beach volleyball cup; and I’m about to embark on a weeklong trip to Majorca with the team.
Studying at University at Exeter has helped me improve my decision making, organisational and time management skills and I’ve gained a greater sense of responsibility through having to organise my module selection, washing up, food shopping, cooking, cleaning, trip around Europe, as well as participating in the Food For Thought Grand Challenges Programme! I have also improved my self-confidence and interpersonal skills through entering into an environment where I knew no one and friendship groups had already been established.
If I could go back and give myself any advice about preparing for my time at the Penryn Campus, I would have booked my flights to the UK earlier and not packed as much heavy-duty winter clothing! Also on arrival, my advice is to exploit the fact that you’re foreign (and as I once put it much to the amusement of my friends “Exotic”) - it helps to break the ice and gives you something to talk about to the poms (Aussie term for the English)!
Paul Brandon, The University of Western Australia, Penryn Campus, 2013/4