Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical and Aerospace)
Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical and Aerospace)

Academic experiences

As the university did not offer aerospace courses I took the UQ equivalent mechanical engineering courses such as fluid mechanics, mathematics for mechanical engineers and a fourth year engineering manufacturing course. Western is a great university for fluid mechanics as it has a wind tunnel which the students will actually conduct practicals in, such as calculating the drag on a car drafting another car by using small models. The negative aspect and maybe the most challenging component would be that there are no lecture recordings. However, you will find that similar to UQ there will be plenty of assessment throughout the semester not leaving everything to the final exam. Be warned – you must be 50% in the final exams to pass the course in the engineering faculty. You will find the learning style will be also similar to UQ with same sized classes and similar tutorial groups.

Personal experiences

I am personally quite an introvert so going to this new place in a sense forced me to be proactive and attend the various social events to meet new people. I myself noticed I had become more confident in these situations and when talking with other exchange students they felt the same way about this. Unfortunately, I did not manage to do as much travelling as I would have liked. Canada is geographically a very large country and flying from city to city is very expensive (due to regulations allowing only two airlines) which means taking the grey hound and train were the affordable option. However, these options are far more time consuming meaning it limits travel plans on weekends. As you probably are aware, it can get very cold (it was -13 degrees on several days I was here in the Fall Semester) so all the exchange students were struggling with the low temperatures. But a few layers, windproof jacket (the wind chill is what gets you), gloves, beanie and scarf will solve this. 

Accommodation 

I lived on campus in Ontario Hall. For students who have not previously lived in a residence it is quite an experience. However, this accommodation was primarily for first year students (that being said, there were upper year exchange students) and upper year students residence are avaliable. The only issue with this is that the upper year accommodation does not include a cafeteria and the food at Ontario hall was not too bad. The most exciting part of being at Western university is the huge school spirit. Everyone wears the purple university merchandise and there is a cheerleading group, marching band and university chants along with all the faculties having their own theme. For example, the engineers all dressed up with a helmet, aviators and painted themselves entirely purple. One thing I would highly recommend would be attending the orientation week from a residence hall as for that whole week there are many activities which UQ does not have. You will soon learn what school spirit means living in residence.

Budget

As I stayed at Ontario hall the initial accommodation cost was around $6,500 which included $1600 food allowance. I personally spent around $25 on food alone so I ran out of meal plan over halfway through and had to top up around $300 per fortnight. In the university fees there is an unlimited bus included. Taking a taxi is around $15 from residence to downtown and comes slightly cheaper than catching taxi’s in Australia.

Entertainment and other costs are all very similar to Australia. The phone plans are relatively expensive if you require data. The grey hound is a great and affordable way to travel to different cities if you book tickets ahead of the day. 

Academic development and employability 

As cliché as it sounds, I feel it made me open my mind to a different approach of learning found at Western. Even though Canada is so similar to Australia, it is very different in the ways people interact which you will learn throughout the experience. An example of this is the school spirit at Western. By learning about how the country works you will find the pros and cons of the university there, but also get an appreciation for the way Australia works in general.

Highlight 

The highlight of the trip was the orientation week and the school spirit I had experienced from the beginning. An example of this would be the football game which during the game there was a cheer leading group doing flips while at the same time a horse running around the field with a flag (the mustang – school mascot). The orientation week is a must see with this as each faculty has their own uniforms and rules of how they must act. This is a completely different environment to UQ and I am positive you will love it.

Top tips 

I don’t think I have any advice apart from the generic advice on the UQ Abroad website. All I would say is embrace the culture and really get into the school spirit to make the most of the exchange. Eat some Tim Bits from Tim Hortons, they are incredible. Also make sure you check out the clubs as there are heaps of interesting ones. For engineering students there are plenty, from building a concrete canoe and ensuring it floats, aero club and formula one team (This year they ranked 13th in the world). Just make sure you join a few as they only have about one event every month so you won't have to worry about overcommitting. 

 

 

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