Leeds is a wonderful city
My name is Christian, I study at the University of Leeds and I am enrolled in their PhD programme in Biological Sciences, studying systems neuroscience specifically. I was attracted to this university because of their research in the field of neuroscience and the principal investigator I work for was interested in taking me on as a student and regularly kept in contact with me over the entire application process.
Settling in at the university was an easy and comfortable experience. Currently I live in halls, moving in and learning about my accommodation was explained by the staff. I find the staff to be good natured and willing to help you resolve a problem. Cost of living at an accommodation is the same as it would be in North America, cost covers rent, utilities, internet and sometimes food. My current room has a bed, desk, storage space and a personal bathroom; there is a shared kitchen, laundry and living room space. I will be moving into private accommodation soon which is substantially lower than what I pay now however food, internet and utilities are not included. In terms of moving for first year, I would advise you to either select halls or a single unit private accommodation without housemates. In terms of settling into my programme, the University of Leeds provides an excellent week-long training event where you meet other PhD’s in the Faculty of Biological Sciences. I’ve kept in touch with nearly all the people in attendance and this event provides important information about research degrees in the UK and opportunities following your studies. The university also provides a webinar series for foreign students to familiarize new students with the university, accommodation and city itself. This webinar series is quite useful since the people answering your questions are current international students at the university.
Leeds is a wonderful city, it’s quite large but as a student nearly all the important things are easily accessible in the main areas in the city. You can usually get around in the city centre and the suburban areas closer to the university just by walking and you can take a bus to further destinations for a little over £1. Leeds is also student friendly, student discounts can be found at some food outlets, travel and even the cinema. The city also has a number of events all year round that you can check out; my personal favourite was the Leeds International Film Festival. On those sunny days I highly recommend spending a day at Roundhay Park which has a number of trails, an indoor zoo and cafes. Just under an hour away is the city of York which has an incredible Christmas market and also is just a neat city to walk around in. Downtown York has cobblestone walkways and was also where some of the Diagon Alley scenes were shot for the Harry Potter films.
I was a bit nervous when moving to Leeds simply because I was so far away from home however now I love Leeds and would like to continue studying in the UK following my PhD. If you want to study at the University of Leeds or other UK universities I would advise you to start planning now, if you are an undergraduate start emailing the administrative staff of the Faculty you’re interested in and provide an academic transcript. If you are a postgraduate I would highly recommend looking through projects advertised on the Faculty’s website or on FindaPhD.com or alternatively read about the different researchers and contact them, discuss your interest in their work and propose an area you’d like to work in and most importantly provide a CV and transcript.
Across The Pond was also an important part of my application, guidance provided by my Across The Pond advisor proved to be invaluable and her input throughout the process was excellent. If you describe what you are interested in studying, Across The Pond can also provide a list of universities for you to look through. Another important aspect about Across The Pond is they provide a webinar series which covers the visa application process, accommodation, travel advice, general knowledge about the UK. This webinar series should not be missed, I strongly encourage any prospective students to attend the live webinars and ask questions.
Studying in the UK is an amazing experience; the research environment here is excellent providing you with opportunities to work with different researchers to explore new frontiers of science. If you are interested in studying at a UK university, you should contact the administrative staff (undergraduate) and potential supervisors (postgraduate) soon. Providing a brief intro about yourself and areas of interest, a CV and transcript is extremely helpful to both ATP and the universities you are interested in. I wish you the best of luck in your studies and your application!
Leeds, University of