by Jane Xu
Lancaster University is the break you want from your normal city campus. Situated over 560 acres of the parkland site 3 miles from Lancaster City Centre, it looks like a picture from a fairy tale from any angle.
Accommodation and Societies
Being one of only a few universities with a collegiate system in the UK, if you are after the American college life style but love the English culture, Lancaster University if your best choice. With 8 uniquely different undergraduate colleges to choose from, you are bound to find one that aligns with your goal of exchange; whether it be the party college of Lonsdale (which is the best from personal experience) or the sporty college of County. Exchange students who choose to live on campus are placed with other first year students and Fresher’s week (the week before the official start of term) provides a whole range of activities to get to know one another. Other accommodation options which are more affordable include living in student housing in town and taking the bus to university (frequent buses with a journey of 10-15mins).
Chancellor’s Wharf at Lonsdale College
Some may prefer the convenience however the university campus is basically a small town with banking, medical, gym and shopping facilities.
Lancaster Uni operates slightly differently from the current UNSW system with trimesters which is why it’s a more popular choice for exchange students studying there for a whole academic year as the trimesters workload is the same as two semesters at UNSW. Even though it’s a trimester system, it is most likely that you will only be studying for two of the three terms. In the first and second term (which are 10 weeks long each), you will take 4 subjects in each term – similar to UNSW. You will undertake assessments that will count to your final mark however no finals will be taken. All finals are during the last term where there will be no lessons (unless it’s revision) and will be timetabled; you are looking at 8 finals in the span of 2-3 weeks with each final worth 50-75% each. In other words, your first 2 terms will be a breeze and the last term will hit you like a tonne of bricks.
Having said that, the campus and student life that you get to experience in full in the first two terms (and in half in the last term) will make those last minute late night cramming sessions worth it. If you think UNSW Campus life is vibrant, you haven’t seen anything. Memories made with friends and flatmates in the time you are on exchange you will carry for a long time. If you want a fun and vibrant student life on a campus filled with greenery that is in the top ten universities for the UK, Lancaster University if your destination.
Quick tip on travelling – since you are in the UK, and Lancaster is only a short train ride away from Manchester where you can catch most international flights, always book your flights early as possible to get the best deal. If hostels aren’t your thing, try AirBnB. That was my choice of accommodation for most of my trips as they are relatively safe (read through all the reviews carefully) and also cheap – esp if you are sharing with a friend. Keep in mind any “budget” you have, will likely go out the window so if you want to be frugal, i would recommend saving on accommodation seeing as you will only be using it to rest.