Thomas - University of Alberta

B. Engineering / Commerce
Semester 2, 2017

Academic experience

I studied five commerce courses whilst in Alberta, mostly finance courses. The professors are highly approachable and willing to help which made it easier. The Uni does not record lectures and some profs don't post lecture slides so going to lectures is definitely recommended. 

I found lectures easier to attend at UoA as all of my classes were in a classroom with around 30 people and the lectures were more of lectorials making it more interesting, rather than sitting in a 300 person lecture theatre.

Personal experience

Exchange created so many memories and experiences that I will never forget. The long breaks either side of exchange allow you to travel heaps and I recommend taking advantage of this. I turned my 4 month exchange into almost 7 months, travelling to several different countries before and after the semester. During the semester I was able to go hiking and skiing with uni trips and trips planned with friends to the Rockies, which are a must-see. We also spent reading week in Mexico which was an experience on its own. 

I played rugby for UoA as well which was a great way to meet people and also travel. We played several games and tournaments down in Calgary and qualified for a tournament in Kelowna. Despite all the travel the lifelong friends you make during exchange is what makes the overall experience so great and something to never forget.

Accommodation

I lived in Pinecrest House, which is an apartment building on campus. The apartments are 4 share and probably the nicest accommodation on Campus. Pinecrest was where I met the bulk of my friends whilst on exchange and consisted of a mix between exchange students and Canadian students. It was ideal for when the temperatures got cold as it was a 30 second walk to the law building which connects to HUB, if you are a business student you don't have to then go back outside to get to class. 

The apartments are decently big and perfect for hanging out before a night out as you aren't squished with everyone in there. It's about a 15 minute walk to Whyte Ave which is one of two of the main strips to go out on. Be prepared to furnish your furnished apartment though as they don't provide any kitchen utensils, bowls, microwaves etc.

Budget

Costs are mostly similar to Australia, although you have to tip! 15% is the generally accepted tip at most places throughout Canada. Flights in Canada are really expensive so it's wise to look for alternate transport places, or if you must fly book early to get a better deal.

Professional development and employability

Going abroad improved my confidence and resourcefulness and developed my ability to interact with people from different backgrounds and cultures. I have since become more independent and adaptable to differing environments and learnt to be more flexible and take opportunities when they become present.

Highlight

There are too many highlights to pick a single one. The road trips out to the Rockies with friends are some of the best memories. Weekends hiking throughout Banff, up Lake Louise and around Moraine Lake are breathtaking and a must do whilst in Canada. Also skiing in the Rockies at Jasper and Big White was unreal and well worth the negative 30 temperatures.

Top tips

  • Just do it! It doesn't necessarily matter what university you go to you will have a great experience and meet people
  • Living in the cold was a great experience, don't not go cause you think you will hate the cold, a few layers of clothing and you are good to go.
  • Get involved and go explore! Canada is a massive country with so many things to see, especially the Rockies! Edmonton is so close that day and weekend trips are possible and well worth it. 
  • Get into the Hockey, become an Oilers fan despite them not being at the top of the table and get to the PINT on a Wednesday for some game day wings.