Nicholas - University of Connecticut

Bachelor of Engineering
Semester 1, 2018

Academic experience

During my exchange semester I studied courses in Operating Systems Architecture, Computer Networks, Theory of Computation, Programming Languages, Software Security and audited a graduate course in Quantum Computing. Assessment in the US is structured very differently (at least for computer science) to Australia, and there is usually (at least) something due for each subject every week. You will have to meet your TA and Professor to ask questions if you want to do well.

Personal experience

During exchange I made dozens of lifelong friends, experienced my first real 'white Christmas', walked hundreds of kilometres of America's most famous cities, and developed as an individual.

Accommodation

I lived in the dorms on campus, which was very different to what I was used to. Luckily I was able to secure a single room (sharing bathrooms was change enough!). The dorm common rooms were a godsend for an introvert like me, and that's where I met and made my best friends on the trip.

Costs

Living in the dorms meant food and lodging was taken care of, which was a huge relief. I spent about $25,000 on exchange, but that included two weeks of travel before classes and four weeks after. Factor in travel insurance, visa costs (you'll likely have to fly to Sydney), lodging, food and transport.

Professional Development 

Being at UConn and experiencing the US education system made it impossible for me to avoid approaching my lecturers and TAs, this forced me out of my shell and exposed me to the other side of the educational experience, deepening my conviction that I want to end up in academia.

Highlight

Being able to study a full cadre of computer science subjects (and even audit graduate courses) was an amazing experience that was only available during exchange due to the relative breadth of courses on offer. But my favourite experience was spending several days in the New York City Public Library's Schwarzman Building.

Top tips

Get involved! Campus culture in the United States is completely different experience to that of Australia. Go to sports games (even if you're not a sporty person!), join clubs meet your dorm mates and over-enroll in classes.

Quote

I was skeptical of the hype surrounding exchange, but when people say it will change your life they're not exaggerating.