I can’t say I had heard of Leeds before my studies there. Kind of weird, since it is the third biggest city in England, with a whopping 2,4 million residents in its metropolitan area. The truth is that I never even applied there; I got to find out during my application process that in order for me to study in the UK, I need to take a spot in Leeds. And so I did.
What I really applaud Leeds for, is that as a small town girl who thinks even Tampere is big, Leeds never felt overwhelming. The city centre is big compared to Tampere, for sure, but it’s also oddly compact. If you leave the central area you will quickly find yourself in the suburbs and more sparsely populated areas. Our campus was not in the centre either, but in an area called Headingley, which I really liked despite having to travel a bit more to get there.
I felt like the studies in Leeds more or less matched with what they are in Finland. I had three modules (that’s what the Brits call their courses), and I think it was just the right amount for an exchange student, since you really don’t want to spend your whole time just studying. Even though my schedule felt quite empty, the modules did require a lot of time and effort, so it was a good balance. I really enjoyed the lectures and the assignments we got, so could have not been better in my opinion.
I think the biggest difference to Finland is just the sheer size of the campuses. They are absolutely massive! Headingley campus alone had over ten buildings you might have your lecture in, there’s a huge library that’s literally open 24/7 (I mean how cool is that?), the campus cafeteria had three restaurants to choose from, and each campus has its own bar. Yeah, a real bar you can get a drink at. Oh, and campus shops. Reasonably priced campus shops. Definitely miss that.
On my free time I did quite a bit of travelling around UK with my flatmate and classmate Tiia. We visited York, Whitby, Alnwick, Durham, Edinburh (twice!), Bath, Stonehenge, Lake District and London. I also visited Glasgow and Manchester. Dublin is definitely something I would have liked to see as well, but we only had so much time and resources. I have so many memories from this entire journey, so many pictures, so many people I met, I wouldn’t change it for the world.