In Part One, Tim shared his journey to study in the United Kingdom. Here, Tim tells us how he made the most of his study abroad and exchange in Plymouth University in the UK.
My time in Plymouth began at 3am after a late night bus from London. Waking up in a new city, after a power nap, in the middle of the night was one of the most disorientating experiences, especially when I needed to find my way to the university campus. I eventually found my way there and picked up my keys for my on campus accommodation. Conveniently enough Gilwell Halls is just a minute walk from the campus, which is just one of the great things about living on campus. It’s also a great way to meet new people, and after all that’s what exchange is all about.
The following couple of weeks were filled with orientation activities for international and domestic students. It was great to meet to plenty of like-minded students from across the globe, whilst also learning about the key differences of studying at Plymouth. One of the largest differences is the grading system, as the UK doesn’t use the GPA system. The system is as follows:
- First Class: 70% and above
- Upper Second Class (2.1): 60 – 69%
- Lower Second Class (2.2): 50 – 59%
- Third Class (Pass): 40 – 49%
In conjunction to this, all of my classes are a smaller size than what I’m used to experiencing at Griffith. As there is a much smaller cohort of Criminology students in Plymouth, my largest class has roughly 80 students, whilst my other classes have only 30 students. This makes everything feel a lot more interactive, which is great as the most contact time I have per week for a course is 3 hours. The contact hours are a lot lower as there is a stronger focus on independent learning, with approximately 60% of the coursework being completed independently.
The assessment style is also rather different as there is a focus on larger assessment pieces, and as such two of my courses are assessed based on a single assignment, which I must admit is rather daunting. Thankfully the assignments aren’t due till the middle of January so there’s plenty of time to prepare for them. Furthermore, none of the lectures are recorded, which really motivates you to attend all of your classes.
The other week, I had the great opportunity of representing Griffith University at Plymouth University’s inaugural European and International Opportunities Event. The event was a great success, especially considering it hadn’t been run before, and it was really great to chat with Plymouth students about how great an exchange is. I’ve also had plenty of spare time to explore the gorgeous countryside of Cornwall, and must say it’s the most spectacular scenery I’ve witnessed since Norway.
Some of my greatest memories since I’ve been in Plymouth have come about from joining the Plymouth University Gaelic Football Club. I haven’t had the opportunity to play sport since I started university, so I knew I had to take up the opportunity to join one of the many sports clubs at Plymouth University. For me however, it was a no brainer to play Gaelic football, due to its striking similarities to AFL which I used to play. I can’t thank everyone around the club enough for their support, they’ve taken me in like a family, and for that I’ll always be thankful.
The journey thus far has been an extremely enlightening one, and it’s an experience I know I’ll never forget. I’ve been presented with opportunities that I never could’ve dreamed of and if you’re contemplating doing an exchange semester, all I can say is go for it. I know the people I’ve met here, especially those at the Gaelic footy club, are going to be friends for life. Not only will you make some great new friends, but it is a huge boost for your resume, and will set you apart from the rest.
Thinking of going global with Griffith? Find out more about opportunities available by visiting our website.