Get outside and take in the beautiful surroundings! Whether that’s taking a day trip to Malham Cove organised by the student union or simply walking through Hyde Park on the way to Uni instead of taking the bus. Yorkshire offers plenty of amazing landscapes to immerse yourself in.
Visit nearby towns such as York and Harrogate! They are so close on the train and wonderful to meander around. I particularly recommend walking along the city walls of York. Why not go even farther afield? Organise some spontaneous trips with your newfound friends! You are only here for a short while and it goes so quick. There is honestly no better time to explore places like Liverpool, Glasgow, Dublin or Europe for that matter than when you are on exchange in Leeds. Europe and the rest of the UK is only a short train, bus or a flight away, so see as many cities that you can.
If you happen to be here for Semester 1 around Christmas, the Leeds German Christmas markets are a must! There’s so much German food to take your fancy and many Christmas decorations to choose from to send home or to have as a souvenir
Speaking of markets… the University has its very own food market every Monday outside the Union. You can buy organic fruit and veg, chow down on a crepe or buy some cakes from the homemade bread and cake stall, you’ll want to try the brownies…your flatmates will too!
Leeds as a city is so architecturally pleasing, so wander around the streets, visit the docks, the Corn Exchange and take in the gorgeous window displays under the arches of the Victoria Arcade. But it doesn’t stop there! The first time I saw the Clothworkers building at the university, I was super excited to learn that it was where my school was and so I’d essentially be having my classes in what looked like a modern day version of Hogwarts. And don’t forget to visit the Brotherton library in the Parkinson Building!
Try at least one class at The Edge and if that didn’t please you, try another! There are so many different classes and activities offered everyday of the week. What’s more is that the classes are free if you are living in the University’s student accommodation. But book early! As it is such a beautiful gym with great facilities, the slots go fast for each class- I’d suggest booking in on the website around 7:30am.
In the first few weeks, it’s so important to be social. As much as you may want to Skype your dog at home or watch your favourite program to combat your homesickness, the best way that helps with settling in is to create a new routine. Organise to go out for a coffee to get to know your new flatmates, explore the university to see where your classes will be, decorate your room to make it feel more homely, just make sure you do activities that make you feel more comfortable in your new surroundings.
Attend the Rugby Varsity Match held in October we managed to finally win against Leeds Beckett in 2016! You have to experience the atmosphere for yourself as it’s indescribable. Everyone’s wearing their University colours and cheering for their team! I recommend getting a jumper or some other merchandise for the occasion, you’ll want to join in!
Join a society and go to ‘Give It a Go’ events that are organised to meet heaps of new friends from all over the world and discover new interests while you are at it! There’s even a Harry Potter Society and yes… they play Quidditch!
Try token English delicacies like Yorkie bars, Yorkshire puddings and Hula Hoops! One of my favourite things to do when I travel is just browsing around a supermarket to see what goodies are on offer. The food in Leeds certainly didn’t leave me disappointed… and there’s always the Edge!
by Annie Gray – Monash University – Australia