Joseph - University of Virginia

Bachelor of Commerce/Economics
Semester 1, 2018
If you are looking for the quintessential American college experience, then UVa is definitely the place for you!

Academic experience

The subjects that I studied were Money and Banking, Public Sector Economics, Economics of Labor and International Finance. All my courses had much smaller cohorts compared to UQ which made connecting with professors and other students very easy. While the final and mid-term exams were not as heavily weighted, regular homework assignments and in-class quizzes ensured that all students were up to date with the relevant content.

Personal experience

I was fortunate enough to connect early on with a group of other exchange students who had similar interests and travel desires throughout the semester. Together we took weekend trips to cities such as New York, Chicago, New Orleans and Los Angeles and even visited Mexico during Spring Break. In my classes, many Americans were very friendly and eager to help me settle into a new environment.

Accommodation

I lived in the International Residential College (IRC) which is an on-campus, dorm style accommodation. Having a roommate definitely made settling in easier as he was able to give me advice on academics and social life. The best part about the IRC was its proximity to classes, gymnasiums, the basketball stadium and 'The Corner' (a student hub directly across the road from campus containing restaurants, shops and cafes).

Costs

I spent approximately $16,000 AUD during my semester abroad. Considering I travelled before, during and after my semester, I would say I definitely spent more than the average exchange student. Taking into account tipping for all services, Charlottesville was still slightly cheaper than Brisbane with regards to dining, shopping and leisure. Try to take advantage of student nights at 'The Corner' as you can find some great deals throughout the week.

Professional Development

Studying economics and finance subjects at one of the top public universities in the United States gave me an insight into the challenges that face one of the great economic powers of the world. I hope to utilise the knowledge and skills that I acquired for my career in the near future.

Highlight

The highlight of the experience was without a doubt the school spirit and sense of community at UVa. Whether you are cheering on the basketball team along with 20,000 raucous supporters, or helping classmates study for finals, I guarantee you will feel like you have become part of one big family.

Top tips

Put yourself out there! UVa students are very welcoming and eager to make friends with exchange students, so do not hesitate to introduce yourself. As the university is in a college town, you will always run into people that you know which makes for a really special environment. Making friends with a variety of people will ensure that you never run out of things to do or places to go.