My name is Chloë, I am a 3rd year Arts Student. I just completed a semester abroad at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and it was most excellent. An exchange is a great thing to do, probably for all the reasons you are already expecting, you get to meet new people, learn new things, experience a new country and generally have a really terrific time. Exchange is just great and you should definitely do it.

I had never lived out of home before my exchange so I guess my original incentive to go was the opportunity to become a bit more independent. However, once I got there, all that stuff came pretty easily and it was more about just enjoying Vancouver and UBC, which both have so much to offer.

Vancouver is a major city and yet it is so full of natural wonder. It is beautiful and unpretentious and cool and kind of weird at times, in the best possible way (go to Gastown to see what I mean by that). Culturally, Vancouver has something for everyone - really cool music and art galleries and book stores and it’s also a hub for film and television productions, some of which you will see filmed at UBC, which is pretty cool. But you can also just go pretty much anywhere in British Columbia for outdoorsy stuff and enjoy all the cool nature and prettiness that BC has in abundance. I seriously can’t stress enough how outrageously pretty British Columbia (and Canada in general) is.

UBC Arts classes were smaller than at UQ. It felt more like high school classes, you meet with your instructor 2-3 times a week for small seminar-style classes as opposed to a large lecture followed by a small tutorial. The assignments and class work were easier than at home but there was a lot more of it. Doing 5 courses, I usually had at least 1 or 2 assignments due a week while I was there. Having said that, I really enjoyed all my classes, the professors were engaging and I found the content and even the assignment tasks interesting.

I lived on campus in Fairview. I really liked my time at Fairview although, to be honest, I got pretty jealous of some of the kids staying in Gage (some of them got pretty wicked views). I recommend putting Fairview and Gage as your top preferences if you decide to live on campus. Fairview if you want to be living with lots of other exchange students, Gage if you want a better chance of living with Canadians.

Biggest tip: Take advantage of the small class sizes and talk to people in your classes, it’s probably your best bet for meeting Canadians as opposed to only exchange students.
As I said, exchange is great, Vancouver is great, you will be great, everyone just do it, promise?
 

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