Rylie - University of British Columbia

B. Economics / Science
Semester 2, 2017

Academic experience

I was in the second semester of my third year, so I had to take subjects within my degree. Since UQ students are required to take 5 subjects, I was able to take an elective. I took classes in many faculties at UBC – statistics, economics, commerce, and psychology.

The academic system at UBC was relatively similar to UQ. However, lectures are not recorded and some professors don’t provide lecture notes either so it was imperative to go to all classes. I found this very beneficial because it allowed me to stay on top of all my work and freed up time for travelling and other social activities at UBC.

Personal experience

The exchange student program at UBC was great in the way that it brought students from all different nationalities and cultures (including some local Canadians) together to share their own experiences and create new ones. Canada sometimes gets overlooked because it is influenced quite a bit by the United States. However, it was very interesting to learn about the Canadian origins and history and also exploring all of the magnificent sites, lakes, parks, mountains that the provinces contain.


I lived on campus in a private apartment in the heart of the university. Most of my friends were either living off-campus or in other residences so I found this accommodation perfect. I lived with two other roommates who were local Canadians so they gave me a lot of advice on things to do and so many tips about Vancouver and UBC. Don’t wait too late to apply for accommodation and get it all sorted well before you leave for your exchange.


Rent is quite expensive in Vancouver but it all depends on your accommodation situation. I gave myself a budget of around $60 in groceries but I wasn’t too strict on eating out at nights with friends. UBC has a system called UPass which you pay a once off fee and receive unlimited fares for all transport throughout Vancouver and I definitely recommend this.

Most of my budget went towards travelling and especially snowboarding. Every weekend I tried to get out and see Canada and the USA, whether it was exploring Vancouver, snowboarding in Whistler or bussing it to the Rocky Mountains.

Professional development and employability

Preparing and going on exchange as well as the experiences that occur while you are away, contribute to your overall workability.

This experience makes you a lot more aware of things that occur outside of your own country and open your eyes to different experiences and cultures. While on your exchange you become more independent but also have to go out of your comfort zone to meet new people and ask about/adjust to the new way of life.


I had so many amazing experiences from meeting new life-long friends to exploring some of British Columbia’s most breathtaking sites. However, snowboarding in Whistler and snowmobiling around picturesque forests were the highlights I am forever grateful for. These items were top of my bucket list to do in Canada.

Top tips

  • Put yourself out there and meet other exchange students and even locals/peers in your classes.
  • If you are a keen skier or snowboarder then definitely think about investing in a student season pass to one of the many local mountains. Whistler is my personal favourite!
  • Buying snow gear can be very expensive, however I recommend buying a decent rain jacket (you will definitely need it in Vancouver) that doubles as a ski jacket. Sports junkies has great deals on ski gear but surprisingly you can find some very decent and cheap things on craigslist.
  • Make friends in your classes for when you have group projects or miss lectures because of illness or other reasons.
  • For all the events that occur on campus and through the UBC exchange student club, they sell out very fast (sometimes in under a minute) so get there early or get in quick!
  • Try and get all your courses sorted before you start your exchange, it will make your first few weeks of the semester a lot less stressful. Registration for some courses fill up very fast and are very popular and you may miss out on getting a spot. However, Go Global are very helpful in this situation.
  • The semester at UBC doesn’t start until September and finishes just before Christmas so it is the perfect time to do some travelling beforehand in the Canadian summer.