Zachary - University of Wisconsin-Madison

B Psychological Science
Semester 1, 2019
Change might be hard to accept at first but it is not neccesarily bad.

Academic experience

ECON 101 - Introduction to Microeconomics
EDPSYCH 326 - Mind, Brain and Education
KINES 350 - Introduction to Exercise Psychology
ISYE/PSYCH 349 - Introduction to Human Factors
PSYCH 505 - Depth Topic in Biology: Animal Cognition

One of the biggest challenges was getting used to UW's assement format. Instead of having one heavily weighted assesment and exam at the end of the semester, Assements were broken up into weekly homeworks and 2-3 exams in the semester. While this means I did not have to worry about one major assignment, it was still a new experience keeping up with weekly homeworks. Both methods work but I personally prefer heavily weighted assignments.

Personal experience

I learnt a lot from my friends and multicultural events on different cultures. As I've made friends from Yemen, Germany, the UAE, India, Hong Kong, Singapore, Czeh Republic, Brazil and even locals from different states, I've learnt how different and similar the world can be. UW's BRIDGE program which brings all these people have created an interesting and succesful semester-long program in bringing all of us together.


I lived on campus as I assumed that was the only way to meet new people and make friends. However, This did not mean that my friends whom stayed in sharehouses outside of university did not make great friendships as well. 

Dorms are pretty close and you will meet some great people within your quaters as the freshies (it is compulsory for freshies to stay in dorms) are generally quite friendly as well. However, the price of it does not really justify this as it is ridiculously expensive to live in dorm. 

If you are considering staying in dormitories, consider staying in the Southeast side over Lakeshore. Now Lakeshore have bigger, quieter and a more relaxed setting dorms but are lacking in food options and just about everything else. Southeast dorms are generally more exciting, dense and is located in the prime area of uni. That means more food options, closer proximity to everyting to do including the city centre. As most of friends were located around the city or Southeast, I did not get to see them as often as I would have liked due to this.


Student Insurance $800USD compulsory
Student Dorms $900USD/month x 5 months with compulsory food programme
Travelling Fees (I went to many many many parts of America - about 13 states) around $1500USD for accommodation, transport, car rental, food inluded

Everyday life in UW is not too bad cost-wise as busses are all FREE and food in dining halls are CHEAP. However, bear in mind the US is not cheap for shopping or having fun outside. Spend wisely guys!


Now with all my travels, there was bound to have a lot of conflicts. Particularly when you are travelling with people from different cultures. Some people bailed last minute so the prices increase, or some people have conflicts with others – due to cultural differences, or different travelling preferences (impromptu VS scheduled). It is very normal and a part of growing up. While this affected others more than me, it is important to keep an open mind to different cultures and their potential differences.

Professional Development

I believe a stronger discipline is required for weekly assesments. While UQ do have weekly quizzes for particular courses, I am generally not prepared for them compared to final exams. With the number of weekly homeworks and quizzes, I am finally more disciplined to tackle future weekly quizzes in UQ.


Driving around America was defenitely an experience for me. I would recommend all of you to find someone you are comfortable with, rent a car (or find someone who can drive) and drive... drive as far as you can. There are so many things you can see and do in the states! Driving over flying also lets you have more intimate conversations with your mates thus forming greater bonds and maybe meeting your significant other. It also hurts more finanically as domestic flights around the US can get pretty prices if you're unlucky. 

Meeting someone special was probably the most memorable moment of my exchange. Since we've met, we've been tripping around the west coast from California to Arizona and it was awesome!

Top tips

UW hosts a lot of great events for international students. Participants in all these programs are super active and friendly. Also, find a new hobby in Madison to pick up like ice fishing or skiing if you're going over during spring term. Opportunities like these are the best times to try something new and to step out of your comfort zone.