Callum - University of South Carolina

B. Civil Engineering
Semester 2, 2016

Academic experience

South Carolina requires that you take 5 subjects when on exchange (this is considered a full-time load). I took ECIV470, ECIV340, ECIV560, ECIV362 and UNIV101. The first 4 courses were matches for my engineering courses back home, while the last course was just an easy course I took to achieve the full-time load. 

I found the courses to be extremely easy compared to the ones back at UQ. Most of the marks can be achieved via small pieces of assessment throughout the semester, and the professors will have no problems helping you if you ask for it.

Personal experience

If you are even thinking of going on exchange, do it. I made lifelong friends from all over the country and had experiences that i will never forget. 

Another tip is to travel as much as you can during and after semester. Remember you only have to pass the courses to get credit, so don't spend all your time studying! I managed to see almost every single major city in the US while I was abroad, and some of the highlights of my trip were created when I was travelling with people I met at South Carolina.

Accommodation

I lived on campus in the International Dorm called Maxcy. It was obvious that my first roommate and myself would not be a good match as we had different social goals, so I managed to swap roommates with someone I met at a party within the first few days. We ended up becoming the best of mates and it made my time at South Carolina that much better.
My advice would be to look at the apartment style dorms like Woodrow. I ended up spending most of my time there with friends anyway.

Budget

Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica Pier

Exchange is expensive but definitely worth it. For 7 months of travel, including skiing, flights, festivals etc, I spent around 20k AUD. Some people spent more, some people spent less.

Professional development and employability

I was always a social person, but going on exchange gave me a lot more confidence to go out there and experience things with new people. The best mates I made at USC were made because I stopped and ask two guys where they bought their pushbike from.

Highlight

There were that many good memories that it is really hard to choose a highlight. One of them would be when myself and around 15 other friends went down to Florida for a music festival. Definitely one of the best weekends of my life.

Top tips

  • DO IT. There is nothing you will regret more than wishing you did it when you had the chance. It's as simple as that.
Callum - University of South Carolina