When and what did you study in Leeds?
I studied in Leeds from September 2011 til January 2012 and did an Erasmus exchange in Law. Specifically, I took the following courses: Law of Obligations, English Legal System, Victimology, Privacy, Free Speech & the Media and Constitutional Law.
What made you choose Leeds as your study abroad destination?
I definitely wanted to study at an English university, and based on the courses I still needed to complete my Masters in Belgium, Leeds had the most interesting courses to offer.
Besides that, I had never been to the north of England, and Leeds turned out to be a very good place from where to visit other surrounding cities and places.
What was your favourite module as a study abroad student?
I really enjoyed all of the courses. The professors have a very different style from the ones that taught at my home university in Belgium. The atmosphere was a lot more relaxed, and my fellow students were a lot more motivated and prepared.
What was your favourite aspect of life on campus?
I lived in St Marks Residences (which has since been renovated, I’ve seen – we were the last to be in the old buildings) along with other Erasmus students from various nationalities. In my apartment, there were people from Australia, Uruguay and Turkey. Life in a dorm like that is very pleasant. We often cooked together, went to the gym together (membership was included, but only at funny hours) and we joined the Film Society to see movies in that little cinema in one of the buildings on campus.
My favourite place on campus was The Eldon. Joking, that’s not really on campus. It might have been the Brotherton Library, where I usually went to study. Apart from that, the whole campus is a lovely place. I cannot remember all the names, but I definitely enjoyed walking around.
What were your favourite places to visit in Leeds and Yorkshire?
We visited another city every weekend, sometimes with the Erasmus International Student Society or with the Give it a Go programme. York was beautiful, but also Manchester, Scarborough and Skipton. In Leeds, there are many nice places to go have a coffee after doing some shopping, and plenty of bars to go out.
Did you visit other UK cities as a study abroad student, and what was your most memorable travel experience?
I stayed in England the whole time during my Erasmus, except for a Christmas trip to Dublin. The most memorable experience? All of them were great. We had a wonderful time in Scarborough, and one of the best sunny days in the park at Harewood house. But even just the Otley Run, or our visit to the rugby game were memorable.
What are you doing now, and how do you think your study abroad experience prepared you for your career?
I am working at the prosecutor’s office in Belgium, as a legal advisor. One of the things I learned in Leeds, maybe the most valuable, is taking care of myself. When I arrived at the beginning of my Erasmus, I knew no one and I was in foreign country. I spoke English well enough to live there, of course, but the daily life and meeting all those new people, making friends from other places and getting used to other people’s habits definitely were very valuable.
Apart from that, for many of the courses I took in Leeds, it wasn’t an exam, but an essay, something which was new to me. Doing the research and writing the essays prepared me a lot more for my current job – in which I need good writing skills as well as analytic skills.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
My time at Leeds University (and just the city of Leeds in general) was the best semester of my studies. It still makes me happy thinking back to it, and it was the best decision I have made so far, both for my professional development and my personal life.
by Laura De Schryver – Leuven Catholic University – Belgium