University of Bradford (UK)
Name: Jessica Faithfull
Program of study at CQUni: Bachelor of Nursing
Host Institute and Country: University of Bradford, England, UK
Period and year of Exchange: 1 Semester 2013
The University of Bradford is a very multi-cultural university with people attending from all over the world. Whilst I was attending the University I had classes almost every day of the working week ranging in 1hr lectures to 8 hour days of lectures. The academics were all very welcoming and always helped me out when I needed it. My advisor who helped me sort out my classes, as well as any other problems I had, was amazing and she was available to talk if I needed to. The university has a multi-level library with a full floor dedicated to health studies. There were also many online resources that were provided through my courses online pages. There were only exams for the modules I was involved in. The University had an array of societies and clubs that ranged from religious groups to sporting teams even a medieval society. On campus there was always people walking around, on the sunny days there would be people having a barbeque on the grassed amphitheatre and when it snowed there would be people tobogganing down the hills, sometimes on toboggans other times on cardboard boxes and cooking trays. The student union also held an event called FND, every Friday night which was a great way to let off some steam from a week of study. Each week was a different theme. The main differences between CQU and the University of Bradford were the size compared to the Bundaberg campus; the entry process for nursing students and how the nursing program is structured. In Bradford prospective nursing students have to go through group interviews to get into the Uni as well as their high school grades. The nursing cohort is divided into different branches of nursing and the students have to decide before they apply, they can choose mental health, Child or Adult nursing. I have always loved travelling and meeting new people, as well as the idea of living believed it would be a fantastic way to meet new people from many different cultures and backgrounds. This trip was also an opportunity for me to experience so many amazing places in this world.
There were many options for student accommodation in Bradford. These included on-campus accommodation, which are either ensuite or shared bathrooms. There was also options of off campus student accommodation which was a short distance from the campus or another option was houses which are tailored for student accommodation however are not run by an organisation as such like the on campus and of campus student accommodation. I stayed at the on campus accommodation called The Green. I stayed in a shared bathroom house on the green. I lived in the house with 11 other students we were spread out over 4 floors. The ground floor was our kitchen and living area and each floor above had 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. The facilities are Eco friendly and well maintained. The staff on site were friendly and very helpful. The accommodation was all self-catered with ovens, stovetops, microwaves, fridges and ample cupboard space. The main places to buy groceries were Morrisons and Sainsbury's, these are the closest facilities to the university with being in walking distance and also a reasonable priced. Tesco and ASDA (a part of the costco family) are also a possibility to shop at. These are however further away from the university and may require a taxi to get to and from the shop. There are also plenty of take-away and dine in options for food, especially an abundance of Indian foods because of the ethnicity of Bradford.
Before leaving I was placing upwards of $100 a week into a savings account to have enough spending money whilst over there. I also received a scholarship from CQU to help with my funding overseas. Whilst overseas I had no set budget but when shopping I purchased food that could be made into meals that would last a few days.
On my time off in Bradford I was able to travel to many places. The university has links to a travel company called Don't be a Tourist, they offer weekend trips to domestic and international destinations at a discounted rate. With this company I went on two trips, one was to the coastal fishing town of Whitby famous for their fish and chips and also known as the birthplace of Dracula. In this trip we also were able to visit a set where the filming of the first Harry Potter took place. The other trip was to Edinburgh that is famous for the castle that is set on a hill overlooking the whole city; Edinburgh is also the setting for many stories over the years. I attended the trips to Manchester, the home of the industrial revolution and of course Manchester United football club, Liverpool, the birthplace of the Beatles, Wales, where we went to Conwy and visited the Conwy castle and Llandudno which is a seaside village and has one of the oldest operational tram cart services. I was also able to go to London on a few occasions. To travel to London from Bradford it can be reasonably cheap. The bus takes 5 hours and can range from 5£ to 10£ depending on how early it is booked. The train takes about 2 hours and can be expensive but if brought at the right time (not too early not too late) it can cost around the 20£ mark. Both these modes of transport to London are very effective and comfortable. In London I went sightseeing and saw all the major attractions including going to Madame Tussaudes, a musical on West End and we also went to the Warner Brothers Harry Potter Studio tour.
As I was in England for ANZAC Day I was lucky enough to find a company who does reasonable priced tours to the Western Front for ANZAC Day, this company was The Fanatics. I was able to visit Villas Bretonneux for the dawn service and we were then able to visit the many war cemeteries of the France and Belgium region, these included Adelaide Cemetery, Tyne Cot, Flanders Field the Hindenburg Line, Ypres and the Menin Gate.
This was an amazing experience and something I am so grateful I was able to do. I learnt so much about the ANZACS and all that happened in WW1. I was even able to visit the grave of one of my relatives who died in Belgium in WW1.
On my travels around Europe and the UK I was always with a group of people and felt safe when travelling. I did go to London by myself to pick up tours and meet up with some friends I had made and when travelling although it was very daunting getting around on the London Tube I was able to adapt and get around. In Bradford itself it can be a bit daunting as it is renowned to be a dangerous city but I found staying in the vicinity of the Uni and also in the main city area it felt safer and if I ever went anywhere I wasn't confident there was always the friends I met over there who would come with me. To get around Bradford I would either walk or take the free city bus. On the weekends I wasn't on trips to other cities I would study or spend time with my housemates or I would go to the Uni sports bar with the other international students to play pool or just hang around and have a chat.
Whilst studying at Bradford it was amazing to meet and get to know so many people from so many countries, ethnicities and backgrounds. I met so many amazing people through so many different ways. I met a lot of people from many different places in Europe from France to I also met many people through the dance group I joined who were from many different places in the world. I, of course, met a lot of people through my course who are from a range of different backgrounds. Even walking around the streets of Bradford the cultural and ethnic diversity of the city was quite evident. I felt that this exposure to so many different groups of people has made me become a more tolerant and worldly person. One of the main events that the university held was an international food evening where people from different parts of the world came and cooked a local dish from their respective countries, this included pastas, goulash, curries and many more exotic dishes. It is so hard to narrow down all my experiences to just a select few highlights of my entire trip. Some of the major highlights included being able to experience how nurses on the other side of the world are taught and learn how a different and larger university operates. It would be hard for me to write a list of highlights without mentioning the amazing people I met over there, from the other international students to the nursing students I attended classes with to my housemates and the friends I met through the society I joined, these people made my time what it was over there and I am still in contact with some of them to this date. The travelling I was able to achieve was also a major highlight as I never would have thought of going to some of the places I did go and it was because of the opportunity to study in a country like England which is rich with history and so close to so many other amazing countries.
Some handy hints I discovered whilst staying in Bradford included if you need textbooks for a subject try finding the book on Amazon.uk as it may have them cheaper than the bookshop and its free delivery within the UK. Don't be afraid to use the Library, it is a three-story library and for me was daunting going into but it is full of such useful references and defiantly a must for assignments and study. An important part of studying abroad is to be outgoing and confident in yourself to just say hi to people. On my first day I knew no one and I sat next to a girl in orientation and just said 'Hi my name is Jess, can I sit here' and from then on we became great friends and I am still in contact with her today. If it weren't for me having the confidence in myself to sit next to her and say Hi we may never of become as good a friends as we did. That is why being able to put yourself out there is such an important tip when doing something like this. Before this experience I thought I knew a lot about who I was and what the world was like. I thought I had experienced a lot for someone who was only 18.
Whilst in my Outbound Mobility program I was able to experience so many amazing opportunities to grow as a person but also try things I wouldn't have if I did not go on this adventure. I have become a person who is now willing to give everything a go and put myself out there to make new friends and meet new people. I would recommend anyone who thinks this is an experience for them, even if they choose another institute or another country to give it a go and surprise yourself with what you can discover. And remember this quote from Mark Twain "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."