Sally - University of Richmond

B Business Management/Communications
Semester 2, 2018

Academic experience

Whilst on exchange at the University of Richmond, I took four marketing courses to go towards my major at home. I absolutely loved all my classes, my professors were amazing and the classes were really interactive. The academic system at Richmond is really different from the one at UQ. Classes don't have many students in them and they are really interactive, so you need to make sure you're prepared for every class. Professors are genuinely interested in making sure all their students do well but they do expect you to do quite a lot of work in your own time which definitely took some getting used to. However, by the time exams rolled around I found that I really didn't need to spend that much time studying because I had kept up to date throughout the semester. Even though the system is quite different I quickly got used to it and actually preferred it to one at a big university like UQ.

Personal experience

I gained so many wonderful things from my time on exchange but the best was definitely the friendships I made. I ended up being the only Australian at UR which was really daunting at first but it quickly forced me out of my comfort zone. As it's quite a small university its super easy to make friends. I now have friends from all over the world and will definitely be visiting them all as soon as I can! 

Another bonus about studying in America was the travel opportunities. I ended up visiting 11 different states during my time in the US. They are all so different and unique so its great to get out and explore all the different parts of American culture. Travelling to all these different places with my new friends was such an amazing experience and definitely the highlight of my exchange.

Accommodation

All exchange students are required to live on campus whether that be in apartments or residence halls. I ended up being allocated to a residence hall and shared a room with one other girl. I was extremely lucky and my roommate ended up being one of the best friends that I made on exchange. The process was extremely easy I just had to apply and answer a few questions about my preferences and Richmond did the rest. It did take some time to get used to living within such close proximity of everyone but this was actually one of my favourite things about my time there. No matter what time it was there was always someone close by to hang out with.

Costs

My accommodation and meal plan ended up costing upwards of $7000 USD and you are also required to purchase the university's healthcare which costs around $1500 USD. Then there's also smaller expenses like textbooks and stuff for your room. They suggest having around $11000 USD all together but I definitely suggest budgeting more if you plan on doing a lot of traveling. Definitely take advantage of all the different funding options from the government and UQ as every bit helps! Exchange is definitely a large financial commitment but it's so worth it!

Challenge

My biggest challenge during my exchange experience was definitely the first few days. I had to spend my first few days in America by myself before the university opened. Being on the other side of the world, not knowing anyone was definitely a weird feeling but once I got out and about I was fine.

Professional Development

Living on the other side of the world has definitely had so many positive impacts. I feel much more independent, flexible and adaptable. Also hearing the perspectives from both professors and students of different backgrounds has definitely increased my knowledge of the world and also my industry.

Highlight

The highlights of my exchange were definitely the times I got to go out and explore the country with my friends. Fall Break and Thanksgiving Break were some of the most crazy, exciting times I've ever had.

Top tips

My top tip would be to just do it! I was very conflicted on whether or not to go on exchange and I can safely say that going was the best decision I've made so far. The whole process can be long-winded and daunting but its so worth it in the end.