I’m enrolled in a Bachelor of Arts, Majoring in Psychology and Criminology, 3rd Year and went on exchange to University of Waterloo (Canada) during winter 2012.

I saved all my electives from my course so that I could go overseas and take fun and exciting subjects that are not offered at UQ, such as Psychology of Evil and Introduction to Tourism. Whilst overseas I had to take a full time load of 5 subjects which is equivalent to a full time load of 4 subjects at UQ. Even though I found that more study was needed, I noticed that the subjects focused solemnly on text books so if you read the text book and attend lectures you should ace the course. Just be prepared for a different style of teaching and if you adapt to it, you’ll be fine.

Studying overseas in Canada was such a fantastic experience. The people are so nice and friendly, you meet loads of Australians, and Canadians don’t mind what you wear in winter. It was awesome that I could go to class wearing my waterloo track pants, jumper, and Ugg boots and fit right in with everyone else. While being overseas I wanted to maximise the amount of places I could visit so I purchased a USA visa that allowed me to travel through the United States before, during and or after my study in Canada. With this visa I managed to visit 16 states in USA and 4 provinces in Canada all within 6 months.

For those of you going on exchange I would like to give you 5 top tips and they are:

  • I would absolutely recommend travelling by yourself. I know it might be scary and daunting but the results are amazing. You meet so many new friends, gain confidence and independence.
  • Stay at hostels instead of hotels because it’s loads cheaper, you can easily meet like minded people and they organise free events such as pub crawls, movie nights and other activities. However, look for hostels which include breakfast so that you don’t have to worry about it in the morning. Also, make sure you research the hostel beforehand because other travellers rate and post their opinion of the hostel, so if they don’t like it for some reason then you might not like it.
  • Make the most of your trip by taking up every experience or event that comes your way as you never know when it will happen again. You don’t want to have regrets.
  • If you want to save money, find grocery stores for lunch and dinner because this will be cheaper than going to restaurants. Also, try and take airport shuttles or a train (depending on the city) instead of cabs to and from airports.
  • Try and live on campus (as close as possible to the uni) because it’s easy to meet friends and won’t take long to get to class.

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