Bachelor of Science
Bachelor of Science

I went on exchange to the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada during my second year in a Bachelor of Science. Whilst I was there I studied a mix of second-year science courses and enjoyed the freedom exchange gave for me to try some new subjects that are outside of my field. Something to be aware of before you go on exchange is that the expectations at UBC are different than those you might be used to at UQ. At least in the science department the courses I was taking were equivalent in difficulty and often in content to some of the first-year courses I have completed at UQ. It's important to remember also that a five course load (15 credits) is required to qualify as a full time student. If you can, I would recommend enrolling in UBC subjects a year above your official year.

Image of student in ski fields

The study was interesting, if not challenging, and it allowed me time to travel on weekends and see more of the areas in and around Vancouver. With a couple of my housemates and other exchange students I had the delight to visit Seattle, Victoria, Portland and the Rockies during semester.
I lived on campus during my exchange and shared a Fairview Crescent house with five other girls. This was, to me, a terrifying prospect but as I got to know them I couldn't have been happier with the housing situation. The housemates were an eclectic mix of nationalities with two local Canadians, two Australians, a German and a Spaniard and with them I forged friendships that I hope will last a long time.

Vancouver itself is a beautiful city with a lot to see and do inside its limits. It can, however, seem intimidatingly costly during your first trip to the supermarket and for those willing to sacrifice convenience for the sake of halving their grocery bill I recommend No Frills and Persia Foods. Google them - you won't regret it. Also, the uni pool and attached gym are free for students and it is less crowded with posers than the main gym (known as "the Birdcoop" - a more than apt description of how it feels).

UBC is a beautiful campus with a very active culture and I would highly recommend that anyone going there get themselves involved in as much as they can. There are clubs for just about any sport at both competitive and non-competitive levels, along with many other non-sporting associations. The campus also features a national park and a nudist beach and a UBC experience just isn't complete without a visit to these icons.

If you're thinking of Vancouver because you want to ski I'd recommend a first semester exchange (you'll be there for their second semester) as the snows in Whistler will often not start to fall until it is time for you to go home. Head further on up into the Rockies the ski season starts a little earlier.

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