Jake - Queen's University

B Business Management & Information Technology
Semester 2, 2018

Academic experience

As I had already completed my Information Technology degree at UQ, I was undertaking all Business courses at Queen’s University. Majoring in Marketing here was great, Queen’s has a lot of courses in this department which I found practical and enjoyable. The two key differences I found when studying in Canada, was the fact that attendance was highly important (and marked) and the class sizes tended to be much smaller. Working in smaller groups in much smaller rooms made for a more enjoyable classroom experience personally. I had very little issues with the registration and enrolment process - but would highly recommend being pre-approved for as many classes as possible, you never know when you might need it, and allowing for flexibility in your class times can be very useful.

Personal experience

The two key experiences I valued most about my time on exchange was the classic cliche - the chance to meet people from all over the world and learn their perspectives was an amazing opportunity. I had the pleasure of making friends with people from all corners. Beyond this - I can’t stress enough about how great Queen’s is for travel - you would be situated within 3 hours of Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal and another 3 hours could get you to Boston or New York! I managed to do a bunch of travel while based in Kingston which managed to include Mexico, The Rockies, Vancouver, Whistler, Chicago and the US west coast - I highly recommend taking the opportunity.

Accommodation

I lived about 20 minutes walk from campus in off-campus accomodation. I highly recommend the off campus option as it is actually closer in most cases. HOWEVER, make sure you find accomodation early - 4 month leases are very difficult to come by, so start the hunt early and lock something in. With the right notice you should be able to find something within 5 minutes walk from the campus. I started looking actively about a month before campus and still didn’t have anywhere to leave until 2 days before arrival - it was highly stressful.

Costs

Day to day expenses in Kingston are vaguely similar to those in Brisbane (watch out for tipping though), it goes without saying though that I went well over budget with all the travel I did. My general recommendation would be to have at least $10K, if you plan to be conservative with your travel. If you want to fit in some larger trips that include flights, it can very quickly add up - make sure you travel within your means and don’t leave yourself short!

Challenge

My biggest challenge during my exchange was managing my travel with my study obligations. I found the 5 subject load (being 1 finance and 4 marketing) to be quite a bit more than 4 subjects at UQ. I think the reason it felt like so much work was the fact that I was taking 4 marketing courses - which had similar course structures, and thus similar due dates. With all the travel, I was forced to complete many of my assignments in cars, trains and buses - this meant being quite disciplined and not doing the classic snooze on road trips. Make sure to schedule your trips in times when you don’t have too many large assignments due!

Professional Development

The greatest benefit exchange rewarded me with was a sense of adaptability in circumstances that are different and out of your control. I feel confident at this point to take on opportunities interstate and out of the country, not only that, but it has made me more driven to seek out these opportunities.

Highlight

Broken record here - but the travel and the experiences I was able to experience with new and old friends was absolutely priceless for me. Particularly the Canadians Rockies - I managed to spend 3 days travelling from Banff to Jasper and would happily return in a heart beat. I have big plans to do a multi-week trip through there at some point in the spring time so I can take advantage of all it has to offer in hikes and views.

Top tips

- Give yourself a week or so before the semester starts to get to know Kingston and your fellow exchange students
- Join in on all of the early exchange gatherings - everyone is looking for friends at this point which makes it so easy to become more comfortable with your new surroundings
- Live off campus - it’s cheaper and in most cases closer, but make sure you look around early