Bachelor of Engineering and Master of Engineering
Bachelor of Engineering and Master of Engineering

Academic experiences

I am a Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering student.
Taking part in an exchange program provided me with the opportunity to enhance my studies at UQ by undertaking advanced level courses that focused in my area of interest.
In terms of courses, U of T provides a wide array of options for engineering, however unlike UQ, the course enrolments are not centralised and the lecturer approves or declines your request for enrolment into the course and the spaces are limited.
Exchange students get second preference for enrolment and there are courses which exchange students aren't able to enrol in.
This was quite hard initially as I had to make sure that I am able to enrol into the course and at the same time ensure that the course is UQ approved. I learnt it the hard way and was unable to undertake one of my courses there and thus I suggest future exchange student to email the lecturer straight away to ensure that you are eligible to undertake the course.
I would also recommend having a few back up courses as this way you can avoid any hassles later on where enrolment might be denied or spaces for your back-up course gets filled in.
I found that the courses there were quite intensive theoretically and you are expected to do a lot of theoretical reading. I had assessments due in each week.
However, having professors who excel in their field most definitely helped me to understand what was being taught and stay on top of things.

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Personal experiences

Through the exchange program I was able to meet like-minded people from around the world who have now become real good friends with whom I am in touch regularly.
This was my first time in North America, so I was able to explore USA and Canada and visit some world renowned locations such as Niagara Falls and New York City just to name a few.
The program also helped me to enhance my skills of time management, self-motivation and self-reliance which are key in today's society.

niagara

Accommodation

I stayed at Chestnut Residences, which is one of U of T’s student accommodations.
Most of the students there were Engineers or on exchange, so it was easy to settle down there.
An advantage of staying at this accommodation was that food and internet were included with the price and each room had its own ensuite.
In addition, housekeeping came in once a week to clean the room so essentially there were no hassles at all.

Toronto

Budget

Things to be aware of in terms of budgeting are that prices at shops do not include tax which is 13% in Toronto.
Also, tipping is rather obligatory rather than being optional and the minimum acceptable amount is around 10% of your bill.
So, even though the initial price may look really cheap, after adding the tax and tips, things tend to be fairly expensive.
Public transport is really good there and based on how much you travel, you may want to get the monthly student pass. If not, casual trips are $3.00 each.
Having stayed at a student accommodation with all food and internet and all included, I paid around $8000 for the semester, but if you decide to rent elsewhere, you can find places for considerably cheaper.
Pre-paid phone plans are quite expensive there and also, only a few of the service providers there have sim cards that work on Australian phones.
Also, expect to see snowfall in winter and what starts as small flurries can end up covering the streets and rooftops as a thick layer of snow within hours.
Winter clothing taken from home only lasted me a few weeks until the proper winter kicked in and I had to buy winter jackets there. If you shop around, you can find really good ones for under $150.
In all, I suggest budgeting around $15,000 for the entire semester inclusive of all expenses.

Academic development and employability

Throughout the program I was able to undertake courses that provided me with in-depth knowledge on a certain topic rather than being skimmed through by merging with various other topics.
This helped me to foster my conceptual knowledge that I acquired at UQ.
In addition, I was also able to undertake courses which were an extension to my degree.
The program also enhanced my employability as it shows that I am capable of adapting to a new environment whilst maintaining my work ethic and performing to the best of my abilities.

Highlight

The highlight for me was the amazing group of friends that I made on this program with whom I travelled to explore various places.
In addition, they made it very easy for me to settle in and enjoy my exchange experience.

Top tips

In all, I had one of the best times of my life on exchange and I would have definitely regretted not doing it.
The UQ Abroad program makes going on exchange quite easy and there are financial aids available to undertake exchange studies.
I highly recommend this program as it lets you self-evaluate on your skills in a challenging yet fun environment and enables you to explore the world.
Personally for me, through this program, on a personal level I was able to test my skills such as time management, adaptation, self-motivation and self-reliance.
On an academic level, I was able to test whether my knowledge and skills learnt at UQ were able to meet international standards.
I advise my peers considering going on exchange to ensure that in terms of academics, to have a few back courses pre-approved.
I also suggest that you research the city you are visiting and learn the local norms as this would help you to settle in.
Make new friends and most importantly, have fun and make the most of this opportunity to enhance your personal and professional skills.

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