Bachelor of Engineering and Commerce
Bachelor of Engineering and Commerce

Academic experiences

As a 5th year Engineering and Commerce student the opportunity to explore the world, finding new experiences and challenges whilst completing my studies in a different environment was something I was very much excited by! If I had my time over again, I would go back to UBC without a second thought, the city of Vancouver is simply amazing and I had an unforgettable experience. In saying that, I’m sure you’ll have a blast wherever you decide to go as the experience of going on exchange is simply too good to pass up!
While at UBC I studied five courses towards my commerce major. Three from the Sauder Business School (Corporate Finance, Investment Theory, and Database Technology) as well as Money and Banking and Statistics from the other faculties. One thing I really enjoyed about the academic system at UBC was the different teaching style, particularly at the Sauder Business School. The class size was much smaller and class interaction was very much encouraged and you actually got to know your professors. One thing to note is most courses won’t have lecture recordings so it pays to keep up to date with lecture content. At first, I thought taking five courses would mean a more strenuous work load, however the assessment turned out to be less intense compared to UQ and allowed for more time exploring Vancouver and meeting people from all around the world!

Thunderbirds

Personal experiences

The most rewarding personal experience on exchange was making life-long friends and being able to share some great memories with them. With over one thousand exchange students at UBC for the first semester (UQ SEM 2), there was certainly an exciting vibe on campus and it was easy to meet welcoming and enthusiastic people from across the globe. Combine this with living in the incredible city of Vancouver and all the outdoor adventures it has to offer, it’s a winning mix and I was lucky enough to share great experiences with many newfound friends. From watching sunsets on wreck beach after classes, to weekends spent hiking Garibaldi National Park, surfing the many beaches of Tofino or skiing the endless powder in Whistler, there was no shortage of adventures to be had.

mountains

Accommodation

I lived on campus at UBC in the Walter Gage Towers. Most of my friends either lived here or in the townhouse-style Fairview Crescent and I don’t think you can go wrong with either accommodation option. The on campus accommodation was also one of the reasons I chose UBC, as it offered a more independent option than a classic college dormitory, with a shared kitchen to cook and allow me to develop my limited culinary skills. While you each had your own room, sharing with five other students meant you were always in a social environment and could host your own gatherings. The location of Walter Gage was great too, as lectures were only a minute walk away and the bus loop was right out the front and not to mention some flats had a fantastic view of Vancouver.

snow

Budget

I found living expenses in Vancouver to be comparatively similar to those in Australia, with some things more expensive. Sometimes I found it cheaper to eat out than cook and it’s worth keeping an eye out for restaurants deals. If you enjoy Sushi, Vancouver offers some of the best! Great restaurants can be found all the way from Kitsilano to downtown. In terms of buying groceries, I would recommend shopping at No-Frills as it is the cheapest option. With transport, as part of your student fees you receive a ‘U-pass’ which provides unlimited use of the excellent Vancouver public transport system. This makes getting around town cheap and straightforward, even when trying to get home after a late night in Gastown the buses still run. If you are thinking of going up to Whistler, which is a must, I would recommend purchasing the reduced student season pass (around $550) and also use epic-rides to get there as they offer a $30 return pass. All up I would budget roughly $7000 for the semester but recommend taking more just so you can make the most of what Vancouver has to offer.

Academic development and employability

I applied to University of British Columbia with the notion that it will provide the best practice for my field. UBC is consistently ranked among the world’s best universities and the Sauder business school has recognition as an outstanding faculty and this is something I certainly noticed in my studies. The opportunity certainly allowed me to gain a new perspective on my studies and develop global competencies, which will hopefully provide me with a competitive edge after I graduate. Furthermore, I knew going on exchange would pose a number of challenges, including adjusting to a different study load, becoming independent and having to step out of my comfort zone. I feel overcoming these challenges has certainly developed my confidence and skill set for employability.

sunset

Highlight

To pick a single highlight from the many great experience I’ve had whilst on exchange, I would have to say the opportunity to spend a month up in Whistler after exams with fellow exchange students was an unforgettable time. Whistler is a world-class resort with endless terrain, and being able to enjoy all the mountain has to offer with so many other students was unreal. Celebrating my first white Christmas on the slopes in the European tradition with my German and Norwegian roommates was definitely a unique experience.

Top tips

My top tip whilst on exchange is to not sit still! Take up every opportunity that comes your way, get involved with some of the fantastic clubs UBC has to offer like the Surf Club or the Ski and Board Club, and grab the new friends you’ve made and get exploring Vancouver and its amazing surroundings. Because before you know it you’re exchange experience will be over!
 

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