Gretyl - University of Calgary

B Engineering (Hons)/Economics
Semester 1, 2019

Academic experience

At UQ, I major in Chemical Engineering and Economics. I only undertook economics courses at Calgary, as the planning and credit for UQ was so much simpler. (I also applied through clearing so I didn’t have too much time to line up courses). The lectures were unrecorded and there were no tutorials, which I actually found was so much better for my study. I was required to attend lectures otherwise you’d have no idea what was going on and keep on top of everything each week. 
Enrolment was quite annoying as I applied very later and classes were full, however the advisors and lecturers got me in anyway, albeit after a few months of back and forth email chains. I’d highly recommend having a lot of courses you could be enrolled in, as I had 2 timetable clashes for courses I could take, or some courses were just not offered that semester.

Personal experience

Personally, this was the first time I have ever truly travelled abroad by myself, even though I have lived overseas and go abroad very often. I had to plan and budget everything myself, which showed me the importance of research and thinking ahead. For example, you don’t want to stay somewhere that is not connected to public transport, and have to keep paying for taxis.


I lived on campus, however I didn’t access any advice on which accomodation would have been the best. I made my decision based on some personal preferences, which I still maintain was the best thing for me. I would heavily recommend asking for accomodation advice if you plan on living on campus. Other costs in residence also add up, such as laundry. On the other hand, the buildings were always heated which meant a nice, cosy, 22 degrees inside in the middle of -40 degree winter, without any worry about extra heating bills. 
For Calgary specifically, my building was fantastic as it was completely connected to the rest of the uni through tunnels. If I had time to go the long way to class I never had to brave the cold (even though most mornings was me taking the direct route outside because the inside was to crowded or I overslept).


I went overseas with enough money that I would be able to do anything and everything I wanted without any major stress. You will most likely never have the amount of time in one place overseas, or the time and opportunity to do so much ever again. 
It really depends on what you want to do on exchange and where you go. Canada itself is quite expensive comparitively to a lot of other places and the exchange rate was not great. Living expenses, such as groceries can be controlled quite easily. Transport was free through the university which was great. Other experiences however are dependent on what you want to do.

Professional Development

The ability to quickly adapt and succeed in new situations is a great professional skill that exchange can demonstrate to employers. You also have to interface with a new culture and people from backgrounds different to yours. 
The economics courses. Did in Calgary were very applicable for the field of engineering I wish to go into for my career. I came away with a greater understanding of that industry, even though it was from an economic perspective.


My highlights are quite self centered. One was dog sledding for an entire day in the Rocky Mountains. I got to spend so much time with the dogs and guides and went over 60km in the Spray Valley. I saw the most amazing scenery and you just felt so in awe of the mountains. 
The second was seeing friends from overseas who I hadn’t seen in about 2 years since I moved back to Australia. I got to see one of my best friends in San Francisco as it was a 2 hour direct flight from Calgary. I also saw old friends in the UK on the long way back home.

Top tips

Your exchange will be what you make of it. There are things I absolutely hated about my time overseas. I cannot lie and say I had ‘the best time ever!!!!!!’ This isn’t a reflection about the university itself, it’s just that you can never ever control what may happen, or what you expect from your time may not come about in the way you may hope. I chose not to focus on most of the bad things and did what made me happy without having to worry about anyone else for a while.
For Calgary specifically, if you’re not a fan of the outdoors or you want a great city experience, Calgary is not for you. The city itself honestly reminds me of Brisbane, just with no good coffee. However, the ease of access to the mountains and hiking, skiing, skating and everything else you could imagine is, in my opinion, the best in Canada. (And I did go to every major Canadian city)