Week 2 | Exchange Student Diaries

Week 2 of my exchange has flown by in the blink of an eye and it’s a little unsettling to think how quickly time flies whilst I’m abroad. I know I definitely need to make the most out of this semester and the opportunity before me, because it’s not every day you get to be an exchange student!

While last week was mostly about attending Orientation sessions and getting into the swing of things, this week was more down to business – classes have begun and I attended my first actual week as a student at my host university.

I only had lectures this week, as tutorials do not start until the third teaching week, meaning I only had two days of classes and had plenty of spare time to myself. I found that actually I ended up with too much time on my hands. I spent some of this spare time traveling and going to numerous sights and attractions, but it was difficult to plan anything larger than a day trip on such short notice and by myself.

Classes were okay, and the teaching style wasn’t too different from what I was used to at home in Australia, but I didn’t like that I could not customise my timetable in anyway or have control over when I wanted my classes. Back home in Aus, we have an online system called Allocate+ which allows us to choose lecture times and tutorials that suit our needs best. At Sheffield, all classes and timetables are prearranged for you and there is no way to move a class at an unfavourable time to another lecture stream or tutorial slot.

Some highlights from this week:

  • I went solo traveling for the first time in my life and spontaneously booked coach tickets to Manchester. I did a day trip within the city centre and saw some beautiful sights including the Town Hall and Albert Square, the John Rylands Library (my favourite!), the Roman fort and the National Football Museum. I plan to make a separate post on my day trip and the places I visit, so stay posted!
  • Visiting Mayfield Alpacas, an alpaca farm in the outskirts of Sheffield, and feeding the alpaca and looking at the other animals – including ostriches, pigs, geese and sheep! The farm was not very conveniently located though, and there are only buses running there at specific hours of the day – I also had to walk for about 30 mins to get back out into Bents Green, when there wasn’t a bus back and by then my feet were soaked from walking in the wet grass!
  • Seeing Chatsworth House, a massive country estate located in Peak District National Park. Chatsworth House is the home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire and has housed many other notable persons. I was amazed at the extensive collection of fine art, sculptures and other beautiful historical gimmicks inside and loved the massive lush gardens, fountains and river surrounding the estate. The house is actually the film location for the 2005 BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice starring Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFayden!
  • I’ve been getting to know my roommates better and we discussed travel plans, including going down to London together and a trip during reading week (mid-sen break) to Belgium, France and Italy! I’m so excited – more details to come!

The beautiful town hall and memorial at Albert Square, Manchester

IMG_0791The John Rylands Library is beautiful!

IMG_0858Alpacas at Mayfield Alpaca Farm!

Candid photos of me admiring alpacas and the beautiful English countryside

Chatsworth House

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