Academic experiences

I really enjoyed the classes I took on exchange. It was really nice to have a change in the way classes were taught and the way school was run. The classes weren't difficult if you just did the work! I would say enroll for the classes you need as soon as possible. They fill up quickly and class schedules get a bit messier here as classes are normally held 3 - 5 days a week. There were no problems obtaining the transcript. The university emailed me to tell me they were on their way back to UQ.

Personal experiences/What you got out of it

I am so grateful I decided to come on exchange. I was very scared to come to a new place - especially Calgary because I thought I would freeze! It was the best decision I made. I made friendships that I will have forever. I learnt so much about myself. I learnt to trust myself and also know that I was being looked after on this trip and that I was meant to come here. It also helped me realise how important my studies are and got me excited to finish my degree. My experiences have changed my life and I will never forget them.

I had so much fun, its so easy to make friends on exchange. I went to Banff National Park, and Waterton National Park - they are both so beautiful Definitely go hiking around lake Louise. Definitely try skiing if you haven't. This was my first time seeing snow and I loved it.

The school offers many languages. I took on Italian and it was alot of fun to learn a language.

I would say the best thing I did was get involved in alot of things. I joined the basketball intramural team, joined a choir, went to extra classes at church and had alot of fun. I did presentations on Australia at church. I basically just said YES to everything :) It made a big difference. I also found that people were so willing to help me with whatever I needed if I asked for help. I also kept a journal so I can remember all the fun things I did. This is so a great idea because now I will have these experiences with me forever.

Expenses

I was very shocked how my finances worked out. I was worried about not having enough money but I was totally fine. I had saved a few thousand and received a $1000 grant from the Government, and received centrelink payments and had a small income from my work recreation leave in Queensland. I did also apply for the government loan but I haven't used any of it. I was pretty organised with cooking lots of meals and not wasting alot of money on things I don't need (I don't drink alcohol so I am sure that saved me money). I also made alot of friends through my church and at the university and this support network made it easier for me to ask for things I was in need of and have people to drive me places so I didn't spend alot of money that way. Don't be afraid to ask for help!

Accommodation

I lived in a house with 3 other girls from church. This was quite expensive. I wasn't sure where I was going to live before I came. I found some friends of friends who lived here in Calgary and I stayed with them for a few weeks before finding these girls at church to stay with.

TOP TIPS:

  • Visit Banff National Park for sure!

  • If you can get to Waterton National Park before it gets to cold, go there! It is so beautiful!

  • Go to Peter's Drive-in for the best thickshakes ever!

  • Make use of the free gym, squash courts, ice skating, rock climbing, basketball courts etc etc etc!! Get involved! Keep fit!

  • Use your accent to your advantage. Make lots of friends!

  • Get your hot chocolate and coffee from Tim Horton's - its so cheap but you may have to wait in line! They have at least 3 or 4 on campus.

  • Talk to STA travel to get the best deals on flights.

  • Bring as many warm jackets and coats as you have and then look on kijiji to buy a very very warm one when you are here or budget about $100-200 for a new one! Eddie Bauer has nice ones and they are at Market Mall just down the road from the University of Calgary.

  • Have faith! Everything will work out! Don't be afraid to ask for help!

  • Keep a journal.

  • Take ALOT of pictures.

  • Go to the Hot springs at Banff!

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