Samuel - University of British Columbia

B Arts
Semester 1, 2018
Living there felt like such a step forward in my life.

Academic experience

Being in another country was of particular interest to me because I studied Linguistics. As a result, it opened up classes that I never could have taken in Australia. Being part of my major, those Linguistics courses had to have either an identical or equivalent subject on exchange, and so coming to Canada I was able to take a course in Native Languages of the Americas, as opposed to Indigenous Australian languages. Because of those new options, the registration process was not only made easy but was in many ways exciting.

Personal experience

The time I spent on exchange was unequivocally one of the most enriching experiences of my life. I had never left Australia before my exchange, and so being given the option to travel overseas was incredibly gratifying - especially in such a stunning and mountainous place as Vancouver. Living there felt like such a step forward in my life.

Accommodation

For the first four of my six months there, I lived on-campus, and I found it to be an enjoyable experience. While I can't say I had very much to do with that my residency, the faces of the residents I shared a building with became very familiar to me, and it came to feel like its own kind of community even if I didn't have many interactions with those outside of my own group. The on-campus accommodation ended with the end of the semester, and in my last two months a friend was kind enough to sublet his room to me while he was away for the summer. I consider myself quite lucky, accommodation-wise.

Costs

Centrelink has a program for students studying abroad, so that is certainly a necessity for anyone keen on going overseas. Ultimately I would recommend no less than $10,000 for someone who intends to stay beyond the semester and actually travel a bit throughout their desired country.

Challenge

The biggest challenge for me came not during my time on exchange, but in the two years beforehand. I lived incredibly frugally for my first two years at University, all so I could spend my time on exchange without having to worry too much financially.

Professional Development

The greatest development came simply from having lived on the other side of the planet for six months. It is the knowledge that traversing so far across the world was achievable, and I am so overjoyed that I got to do it in Canada.

Highlight

The people. I'm acutely aware that I'm not breaking any new ground with this answer, and that it is a deeply individualistic response to this question, but it would be untrue to answer otherwise. I became friends with so many incredible people on my exchange, and to spend time getting to know all these people was the most rewarding part of this entire year for me.

Top tips

Join clubs on campus! Make every effort as soon as you arrive to meet and connect with new people.