I found out about the 360 International exchange programme when I was applying for a place at the University of Auckland. I was impressed by the number and quality of choices of partner universities and it was one of the reasons I chose to study in Auckland.
When I arrived in London, I was intimidated by the city. London experienced some scary incidents before I arrived, and a lot of people told me to “be careful”. I found it difficult to relax in the first few weeks – I remember walking around with my shoulders tensed, and being hyper-aware of my surroundings and belongings. I did relax gradually and came to love being in London though!
My accommodation was the university’s Champion Hill residence, which was around a 40-minute bus ride away from the university (which was in the centre of London) or a 20-minute train ride. The room had its own bathroom, desk, a bed, and a view of the city. I shared the kitchen with eight or nine other students, and most of them were first year students. I surprised a few people in the residence when I told them I was a fifth year student! The people in the kitchen were friendly and I enjoyed getting to know them.
King’s had a week of orientation events and talks. There was a general talk on living in London, studying at King’s, and a faculty specific talk. Aside from these formal sessions, there were a number of fun events to get to know the city and other exchange students, such as a pub night, walking tours, and a trip to the theatre to watch the “Lion King”. At King’s, I did four modules in law: Competition Law, Finance Credit and Security, Law of Personal Taxation, and Public International Law.
As I was only there for a semester, I had to arrange an alternative assessment with each of the lecturers. The professors were approachable and I enjoyed having a mix of class sizes. The lectures were structured similarly to those I had in Auckland, although we only had one lecture and one tutorial for each module per week. I enjoyed getting to know how different the UK is compared to New Zealand, especially in the way the EU influences the law.
The highlight of my exchange was taking advantage of the affordable access to theatre. I managed to see a number of musicals and plays in London, including Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (thanks to the advice from a fellow exchange student in my kitchen), Hamilton, Aladdin, Book of Mormon, Kinky Boots, Dream Girls and Lion King to name a few. I managed to watch most of these for just £20, some of them in the front row, which is unthinkable in Auckland.
An advice I would give to students thinking about the exchange programme would be to apply. You don’t lose anything by giving it a shot! It’s a great experience to live in a different city, and going on exchange means that you can do so without the commitment – you’ll always come home (whether you want to or not!).