Indee - University of Calgary

B Psychological Science (honours)
Semester 1, 2023
The snow on campus was so pretty!


I have always wanted to study abroad. During high school, I took part in a 1-month college experience in the US which made me really want to take part in an exchange semester during university. I was grateful that international experiences reopened before I finished my degree at UQ.

Personal Development

I have gained so much from my exchange. I became friends with international students from all over the world and I have been able to keep in contact with many of these friends. I also made some friends from other parts of Australia, such as Adelaide and Wollongong in NSW, which are areas I have never thought about travelling to in Australia. This also really opened my mind up to travelling to other parts of Australia. During my exchange, I became a lot more independent, open-minded, and confident. It was my first time living out of home, so I developed a greater sense of independence and I learnt the importance of budgeting and money management. I also developed a greater appreciation for cooking and taking care of my health. It was my first-time experiencing temperatures between -10 degrees and -30 degrees. This was quite challenging at first as I wasn't sure how to dress for this type of weather. It also made commuting to places such as the grocery store and university classes challenging. However, with the right winter gear and enough layers, the Canadian winter became very manageable, and I ended up loving my walks in the snow! Calgary is a very sunny place so even when it was freezing cold the sun would often be shining!

Academic Development

I didn't have any general electives left for my exchange which made enrolling in classes very challenging. When I had been accepted into my exchange, most of the students at the University of Calgary had already completed their class enrolment so all the classes I needed to take to gain credits for my third-year psychology courses at UQ were full! This was quite stressful at first because if I didn't enrol in those courses, I was not allowed to take part in the exchange. However, the exchange advisors at Calgary were helpful with getting more courses approved over email and they advised that there are lots of people swapping and dropping out of classes at the start of the semester. Luckily, I checked the class enrolment page every day leading up to my exchange and was able to enrol in the courses I needed! There were many differences between the academic system at the University of Calgary and UQ. I studied 4 third-year psychology courses at the University of Calgary and I didn't have any tutorials. I only had lectures and 1 lab class. My lectures at the University of Calgary were very similar to UQ's tutorials as there were 25 to 30 students in each of my lectures and they were interactive. Most of my classes were not recorded which I found quite challenging when I was sick for a couple of weeks during the semester. However, it was much easier to receive an extension on an assignment or a deferred exam because I didn't need a medical certificate. To get approval on my deferred exams, I just needed to send my professors an email. This was great for me because I had limited medical coverage as an exchange student. The university system also differed from my Psychology course at UQ because instead of just having 1 lecture for each subject, I had 2-3 lectures for each subject in Calgary. I had a lot more contact hours and I had classes 5 days a week. This was very different to my usual UQ class timetable of 2-3 days a week with 1 lecture and 1 tutorial per subject. I didn't have much choice in my timetable because there were only 1-2 classes offered for each of my subjects in Calgary. Further, my assessment for psychology at the University of Calgary was very different to my psychology assessment at UQ. In Calgary, I had many more exams compared to assignments and these exams were all closed-book in-class exams. I found the exams in Calgary very difficult compared to my exams at UQ which are often open-book quizzes. However, some of my exchange friends had open-book quizzes and more assignments than exams so it varies based on what you are studying at the University of Calgary. Overall, I found most of my classes in Calgary engaging and interesting.

Professional Development

During this experience, I had to actively engage with foreign students and learn to navigate many foreign places. From this, I became more confident in my communication skills and developed more cultural awareness. Further, I learnt to adapt very quickly to a new place where I didn't know anyone. I also became more curious and self-aware. I think these skills are important in today's workforce.


My exchange started on the 1st of January 2023 and I booked my flights at the start of November 2022, so I booked my flight to Canada quite late and I was travelling during the peak season (New years). Thus, the flights were expensive at that time of the year. I bought an around-the-world ticket for $4514 which included my flights from Brisbane to Calgary, some of my flights for the travel that I planned to do after completing my exchange semester, and my flights back to Brisbane. I bought travel insurance for $1564.20. This covered me for 7 months (I travelled for 3 months after my exchange) and was based on a $100 per claim excess, $10,000 cancellation/amendment cover, overseas medical (including COVID) and dental, and included ski/snowboard cover. There was a one-off fee of around $150 - 200 at the start of the semester which provided all students at the University of Calgary with unlimited access to the fitness centre and public transport from January to April. This made exercising and travelling around Calgary affordable. The accommodation was $4400 AUD to live on campus in a 2-bedroom apartment for 4 months and this included internet, electricity and water. I had a kitchen in my unit on campus and chose to buy some cooking equipment and cook most of my food, rather than buying a meal plan at the dining centre on campus. I spent around $70 - $150 on food per week. I did a few weekend trips away to Banff and travelled to New York, Vancouver and Playa Del Carmen during the semester. I spent a lot more on food and transport when I was away from Campus. The accommodation was very affordable when I stayed with big groups of friends in an Airbnb or a hostel room. When we went on weekend trips to Banff it was cheapest to use a rideshare app called Poparide or split the costs of hiring a car, rather than purchasing bus tickets. I would recommend saving $15,000 to 20,000 if you want to do lots of travel outside of Calgary during the semester and engage in outdoor activities such as snowboarding, skiing and hiking. Definitely save this amount if you're a foodie like me!


I am very grateful for the grant that I received from UQ. I put it towards my food and travel expenses.


I recommend living on-campus if you are studying at the Uni of Calgary, especially during the Winter Semester because it is really cold during winter in Alberta. If you live on-campus you can use tunnels from your building to get to classes. There are also food courts on campus, a big fitness centre, an ice skating rink and some other useful facilities. The University district is only a 10-15 minute walk away and it has a big grocery store, an outdoor ice skating rink, a cinema and lots of restaurants. There is also a mall which is a 5-minute bus trip away. Living on campus is also a good way to make friends since you will share a room with 1-3 other students and you will see other exchange students regularly on campus and around your building.


My top highlight was making new friends and experiencing university life on campus. The snow on campus was so pretty! Some other highlights were my road trips from Calgary to Banff and from Calgary to Jasper. The scenery was amazing!

Advice/Top Tips

My top tip is to attend the activities and exchange meet and greets on campus and to try new things! If you are going on exchange during the winter semester, you will definitely need thermals and a really warm jacket. I also recommend going to an ice hockey game! Also, at U of C, you can get a 10% student discount at the nearby grocery store "Save On Foods" if you show your student ID when purchasing items.