I decided to take an exchange in my second year of my Environmental Science degree as it provided a much needed break from the monotonous routine of balancing studying and a part time job. The opportunity to progress my degree in a different country, teaching style and culture with next to no pressure to excel academically is an experience I cannot recommend enough!

Choosing courses which I would find interesting and easy was a challenge but definitely beneficial as it provided me with more time to explore Vancouver during the term. I would recommend getting more courses then you need approved so that if you really do not enjoy a course in the first few weeks you can easily change out. Just like at UQ avoiding those 8am starts is always a good idea - even more so in a winter climate! I took courses from a range of faculties and generally found them comparable in complexity to UQ. However my two biology courses (BIOL209 & 204) were rather heavy on the content, as well as having to take 5 courses (which is equivalent to 4 courses back at UQ) was a bit of a challenge. All of my professors were very passionate about their lectures, despite some of the course content being outside their field of research.

I got accepted into Fairview Crescent residence which is a mini-village of townhouses on campus where you share a house with 3-4 other people. International students mainly lived at Fairview but there were plenty of Canadians too - making it very easy to make friends! Living is Fairview is very similar to living in a share house in terms of privacy and shared cleaning.

Vancouver is really relaxed and the people are very friendly with a very similar culture to Australia. Getting around Vancouver is very easy thanks to its amazing public transport which is free for students once you get your U-Pass – although UBC campus is about a 30 minute bus ride away! Although the downtown area has a few things to offer (Stanley Park, Grandville Island & Gastown) it can be exhausted in a few days of exploring. To get a real appreciation of Vancouver and make the most of your time there you must travel up into the mountains (Whistler & Grouse), to Vancouver Island or across the border into America!

Top Tips:

  • Get up into the mountains! Grouse Mountain offers spectacular views across the city and is a great first stop, while Whistler speaks for itself.
  • Make the most of the Sunny days. It does rain quite a bit, so make sure to bring a sturdy rain coat and decent shoes.
  • Ice Hockey. You can’t leave Vancouver without going to at least one game, two if you like it!
  • Visit in UQ’s Semester 1. The majority of university club events take place in this term and you will have more time to enjoy the Snow!
  • GO ON EXCHANGE!

I am sure you have heard and read it a hundred times that going on exchange is a life changing experience that will spark or further develop your interest in travel. It is hard to convey what a unique and amazing experience going on exchange is in these few paragraphs, but I cannot recommend it enough. You have my guarantee – you won’t regret it! Happy Travelling!
 

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