Pranav - University of California (Irvine)

Bachelor of Economics/Science
Semester 2, 2016

Academic experience

I studied two economics courses, a psychology course and a philosophy course. The academic system was very similar to UQ; they had lectures (classes) and tutorials (discussions) for each subject. The biggest challenge was growing accustomed to the faster pace. Each quarter is only 10 weeks of tuition as opposed to our longer semesters. In this time they have two sessions of mid-semester exams and then finals. That's a lot of assessment but if you stay on top of your work, you'll find it is easy to manage and you still have time left to travel and go sightseeing!

Personal experience

I gained some very close friends purely because, as you all stay on or close to campus, you spend a lot of time with your friends and get to know them really well really quickly. I got to see some iconic places during travelling such as the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Washington D.C sights such as the Monument, The White House, Capitol and the museums!

Accommodation

I lived off but extremely close to campus. I enjoyed the close proximity of my apartment to the campus, eateries, gym, cinemas and grocery stores! It was very convenient! My first accommodation did not work out and I was notified the day before I was to fly to the U.S. My advice would be to organise accommodation as early as possible and prepare mentally for the possibility of problems arising. Don't stress, you will eventually find accommodation, there are always students looking to sublet or find another flatmate. The best deals are the first to go, so definitely sort that out as early as possible!

Costs

After rent (which depends on your locale and the time you find it) food was probably my biggest expense followed closely by transport. I would advise you to cook as much as possible. Groceries can be expensive but they last you the week and are in the long run a lot cheaper than eating out 3 times a day. This will allow you to have money left for the inevitable times you have to eat out and on transport too. Another reason to cut costs on eating out and shopping is so that you can budget for tours, travel and sightseeing which is one of the main reasons you are there for!

Professional Development

Time management, organisational skills, self-confidence, people skills and the ability to work efficiently in an unfamiliar environment are the big skills I have acquired after going on exchange. These aren't unique to me, all of you who go will experience and develop similar skills. I believe that these skills are extremely useful in a professional environment.

Highlight

My biggest highlight would have to be living alone. I had never been away from home for this long prior to going on exchange. The nerves went away quick as they were replaced with the excitement of being in another country. The freedom you have Is both daunting and liberating at the same time! You are able to truly do what you want to do and have very few things holding you back.

Top tips

Throw yourself into the exchange experience completely. Opportunities like this don't come again, once you are out in the workforce, and your responsibilities stack up, you will look back on this time fondly. Make the most of it while you are away experiencing being a young student in another college in a foreign country! Don't let anything or anyone hold you back. You will make new and amazing friends and while it may seem daunting being away from your family and friends here for so long, the time will fly like none other while you're there. Take the time to discover yourself, push yourself past your limits and travel as much as possible!