I was in my final semester of a double degree in economics and arts with an extended major in psychology. For exchange I chose to go to the university of Toronto. The system they use in Canada is a little bit different because they put you on wait lists if the class is full. This is not a problem but it can be a little bit stressful because the u of t centre for international experience does enrolment for you. So the best thing to do would be to go over there with a couple of extra subjects approved. In hindsight it was a bit risky to do exchange in my final semester so I would not recommend it because if you do it before the end of your degree you at least have some time to fix things up without extending your degree if you fail or if you couldn't do a mandatory course.

The University of Toronto felt like it had a heavier workload than UQ because they do a lot of reading and also some topics have some weird assessment, i.e. one class where 90% of test content was from the textbook, effectively making going to lectures a waste of time.

If you come to Toronto I think it is best to come during second semester (at UQ) because you get to experience Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and you get to participate in their O-Week. It also means you get there when it is still warm which gives you some time to buy a coat and boots if you dont have any. This actually took me a while because I did not know where to start. But I got relatively cheap boots at spend less that were warm enough (though we didn't get much snow) and I got a coat for $45 from Old Navy. Other places worth trying for cheaper winter wear is a store called winners or mountain equipment co-op (which has a website).

Also, if you want to save a bit on textbooks the student union has a second hand book website where you can check for second hand stuff, there is also a rental system at the U of T book store where you can rent the book for the semester for a bit cheaper than buying it new. In terms of budgeting, I found groceries to be around the same as Australia in price, but a few things like cheese and milk are much more expensive. Also, they do not include tax in the shelf price so there will always be tax added at the end of going through the checkout. Normally things that are bulk bought, I.e bigger servings of things, have less tax according to the people in the store. The Subway is also expensive with a monthly pass costing about $130 so I would try and think about that when you choose where you live. otherwise tokens are about $2.60 each. Or a lot of students I knew got a bike. A Canadian beer (Molson) was generally about $4.50 if you went to somewhere like the Madison, pour girl or other pubs near the uni. One good thing to know is that both gyms including the pools and any classes are free if you have a u of t student card.

I found that a lot of the people I spent my time with were based around my residence. It also gave me a good start up convo with some people because my residence (Tartu) was quite popular with exchange students. I made a lot of my friends in the first week doing all of the orientation stuff etc and then went from there but I tended to see the people on the north side of the uni more than those on the south because they were a bit further away.

We had a huge FB group with all (or most) of the exchange people in it where we would post events etc. most of the time pub nights and stuff were near Bloor St West (where I live) or within walking distance (Maddies Pub was a favourite, and the Green Room). If you want to live outside of a residence you will still get included in most things. I would just get close with people in a residence so that you hear about stuff going on in the residences as there were some parties in Tartu that wouldnt be posted on the main fb group because their place could not hold that many people.

if you are thinking about a residence I really liked Tartu... It got some bad reviews and it is not that new or anything but I was fine there and it tended to be close to a lot of things and had a lot of exchange students. it is also pretty cheap at $610 a month, but beware that they have many fire alarms! so if you live here ignore them, we had at least one fire alarm per week and there was never a real fire.

When I got to Toronto I spent about $100 setting up and getting sheets, pillows, kitchen stuff etc. Good places for that would be Walmart, honest Eds, China town, and Winners. There is also probably heaps of other places that I don't know about yet.

Despite how boring some of this stuff makes exchange sound I had a great time! There were many German speaking students at U of T during my semester and now I am over in Europe visiting some of the friends I made whole on exchange. I was lucky because my exchange cohort was very prepared with the Facebook group so that no one was ever left out. This made it easier to meet a huge number of exchange students.

 

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