Bachelor of Environmental Management
Bachelor of Environmental Management

My semester abroad at the University of Alberta was an amazing experience. I explored beautiful landscapes in a different part of the world, met so many great people and made lifelong friends.

I study Environmental Management and enrolled in five courses at the UofA, the equivalent of four courses at UQ. I took a range of subjects from demography to anthropology to earth sciences. All of the courses I did were heavily graded with exams, generally one or two midterms and a final per subject. I only wrote one assignment for the whole semester and found the workload very similar to UQ, despite the extra subject.

Image of student with friends in the mountains

I chose to live off campus for the semester, although there is guaranteed student housing provided at Lister House. I was happy with my decision and lucky enough to find well-priced accommodation close to the university. I would say though, if you plan on living off campus give yourself two weeks or so to find a place before semester starts. I arrived in Edmonton 4 days before class started and there wasn’t a lot on offer. When I first arrived in Edmonton I couchsurfed (worth checking out if you haven’t heard of it) with a local guy and we became good friends. He helped me find accommodation, took me to my first football match and also took me out to his families property for thanksgiving, which was amazing.

Student skiing with friends

There are a tonne of groups and clubs at the UofA and I definitely suggest signing up to some, with the outdoors club coming highly recommended. They organise some amazing and affordable trips into the Rockies and other areas where you can go hiking, skiing, snowshoeing and other awesome activities depending on the season. I met some of my best friends through this club, both Canadian and Internationals.

Around the university area it is really beautiful and there is always something going on. Whyte Avenue has a lot of neat shops, bars and restaurants and the university is on the river with some gorgeous walking tracks. It is especially beautiful once the snow falls. The weather does get seriously cold, one day reaching -40 degrees and coming with a frostbite warning. In saying that though, you do get used to it and as long as you have warm gear you’ll be fine.

TIPS:

  1. TRAVEL! Going so far away from home it is definitely worth making the most of the opportunity and travelling either before or after the semester, or both. I organised a road trip with some friends before hand where we drove from LA up to Edmonton over a month. It was incredible. We went to the Grand Canyon, Los Vegas, San Francisco, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Banff and Jasper among other places and got to see some really cool wildlife, including bears. I also travelled after semester going east to Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City and NYC. It is definitely worth staying to experience a white Christmas too.
  2. GET INVOLVED IN CLUBS! It is without a doubt the best way to meet people, and no matter your interests there will be something going on that tickles your fancy.
  3. GET WARM CLOTHES OVER THERE! There are huge second hand stores packed with warm clothes at cheap prices. I wouldn’t bother spending money on good gear here. It is more expensive and a pain to carry in your bag (I made this mistake).

Feel free to email me if you have any questions @ annahpmck@gmail.com!

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