Chemistry student Jessica Turner

Jessica Turner

Where did you go for your year abroad?

The University of Vermont, USA

Why did you want to spend a year studying abroad?

I’d always planned on doing the 4-year MChem course from my initial UCAS application.  I wanted the opportunity to study in a completely new environment as well as experience different culture.  It also allowed me to push myself out of my comfort zone and live half way around the world from everyone I know!  The opportunity to travel the USA was pretty appealing too.

What were the best or most memorable experiences you had?

It’s honestly hard to pick just one.  Skiing every weekend from December until March was pretty memorable but my 3-month summer road trip across the country and down the west coast was my absolute highlight.  We did the whole thing on a super-tight budget, ate microwaved hotdogs and instant ramen every day, but saw most of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to (and, of course, Disneyland).

What were the key differences between studying your subject at Leeds and at your host institution?

The teaching style in the US is totally different to that in Leeds.  For starters, the cohort for third year chemistry was a measly 8 people!  This automatically changed the teaching to more of a classroom-style, almost like going back to school.  Additionally, we were set homework, mid-terms and quizzes throughout the year, taking the emphasis away from 100% exam-based modules like Leeds (both have their benefits).  As much as it was hard work, it was great to have a close, first-name basis relationship with your professors, something which just isn’t possible in Leeds with the larger year sizes.

Has studying abroad changed your outlook on your course or your career ambitions?

Not really, simply because I’m still not 100% sure what it is that I want to do! However, what it has done is encouraged me to look outside the UK when I’m applying for jobs.  As we speak, I’m actively looking at employment opportunities abroad, something which I never would’ve considered before last year!

Do you have any advice for students considering studying abroad?

Just go! I was so unsure about the whole thing, but it genuinely was the best decision I’ve made since starting uni (so cliché but genuinely true). I’ve had THE best year of my life, met some amazing people from all around the world and done things which I never would’ve done without this opportunity.