Lee - Western University

B. Engineering / Arts
Semester 2, 2017

Academic experience

I studied 3 chemical engineering courses, of which 2 courses are core courses, and 1 French elective course. The classes are smaller compared to those at UQ, but overall Western has a lot of similarities to UQ in relation to classes and how the courses are run. Their mid-semester exams are called mid-term exams and not all of the courses have a mid-term exam.

Personal experience

I gained new friends from all over the world and from within Canada. I got to experience the Canadian culture first hand and I signed up for a peer guide program where I was set up with a peer guide who helps you navigate university life in Canada. She invited to some local events, like laser tag and I got to learn a lot about Canadian culture from her and from my roommates. I also got to explore Toronto during a residence organised trip and during the mid-semester break, I got to explore Montréal with friends where I got to practice my French skills.

Accommodation

I lived on-campus in a suite-style residence. I had two Canadian girls and one girl from China sharing the suite with me. I learned a lot about the Canadian culture from my Canadian roommates and I enjoyed living with them. I highly recommend on-campus housing, especially those designed for upper-year students since your suite comes with a kitchen where you can do your own cooking. My advice is that if you are opting for on-campus suite-style residence, wait until you have met every one of your roommates and discuss with them any appliances or kitchen utensils that can be shared among the whole group. It saves you money from buying your appliances.

Budget

Representing UQ during International Week
Representing UQ during International Week

Transport is included in your student fees and you use your student card as a bus pass as well. The food depends on your lifestyle and some residences offer a meal plan with the accommodation, so you get your food in a canteen type dining room. The campus has a lot of Tim Hortons which provide cheap food and coffee. The only thing to remember is that when going shopping, you have to also calculate the tax as well. A good estimate is to multiply your price by 1.3. For travelling, transport can be costly, so having a student card or an ISIC card is a plus.

Professional development and employability

I have learnt how to budget my finances especially when travelling, I wasn't used to having to calculate the tax with my shopping or when generally purchasing something, whether it's transport or a tour.

Highlight

My highlights include going to Montréal and exploring the city with my friends since it got me exposed to the French Canadian culture and I had the opportunity to practice my French skills. I also enjoyed the social activities that were offered at Western, I attended club events and went out with friends. I also really enjoyed experiencing white Christmas and the snow. Another highlight was the Thanksgiving dinner, it's my first Thanksgiving and also the first time that I tasted pumpkin pie.

Top tips

My advice is to buy the winter clothes in Canada since seasonal clothes tend to be cheaper and are made for the weather. In terms of clubs, I highly suggest joining the Outdoors club, they organise day trip and weekend trips. The Outdoors club is one way to explore Canada with other Canadians and international students. I went apple picking with the Outdoors club which was a great experience. Don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it and it's a great opportunity for you to immerse yourself in the Canadian culture.

Lee - Western University