Bachelor of Journalism/Arts, 4th Year
Bachelor of Journalism/Arts, 4th Year

Academic experiences

I studied courses in history and drama. 

One course I took, 'Contrasts and Conflicts: The Cultures of Northern, Central and Eastern Europe' was one of the best courses I've ever taken at university.

I found the teaching staff at UBC to be incredibly welcoming and helpful, creating such an atmosphere of support that I was rarely stressed about assignments - exactly what you want on exchange.

I found that balancing the travelling I did throughout semester and getting all of my uni work done was a challenge but by being prepared and talking to tutors about assessment requirements so I knew exactly what I needed to do I managed to avoid any major issues.

The Northern Lights in Whitehorse, The Yukon

Personal experiences

The group of friends I made on exchange were such amazing people.
A lot of them were exchange students too which made finding people to travel and explore with really easy and super fun.
We went to the Yukon and saw the Northern Lights, travelled through the Rocky Mountains on one of the best tours I've ever been on (West Trek Tours), and explored Victoria Island together.

After semester ended I travelled through Canada and part of America by myself.
This too was an amazing experience and even though it was quite different to travelling with a big group I really enjoyed it and found that I learnt a lot about myself.
I really had to be motivated to do things and sightsee because no one else was there to suggest activities.
It's an experience I'd highly recommend.

Snow in the Rocky Mountains

Accommodation

I lived on-campus at UBC at the Walter Gage Residence.
Gage was a really great place to live - it was close to classes, buses, the gym, and had beautiful views from some of the units.
Gage also has regularly organised activities for residents such as weekly yoga classes on Tuesday nights.
Initially when I arrived I was a bit disappointed not to be staying in Fairview because so many exchange students seemed to have been placed there.
As semester progressed though I became really happy that I was in Gage instead of Fairview.
There's a really good mix of international and domestic students at Gage and the activities that they hold at Gage are really fun.
If I had to choose again I'd definitely pick Gage.

Storm the Wall at UBC

Budget

Food was a bit cheaper than here in Brisbane but everything else was pretty much the same.
I'd take between 10,000 and 15,000 all up (this is including accommodation and flights) which allows plenty for travel during and after semester and allows you to not stress about money. It really depends on how much travel you want to do though.

Cycling through Stanley Park in Vancouver

Academic development and employability

I recently had a job interview where the interviewer was really impressed that I'd been on exchange.
They said that it showed that I was curious about the world and had the courage to take risks and put myself outside my comfort zone.
I ended up getting the job and I personally believe that exchange helped with that.

Cherry Blossoms at UBC - photo credit Anthony Wong

Highlight

There are two highlights that I'll remember forever.

The first would be when some other exchange students and I hiked up a snow covered hill at midnight in the Yukon to see the Northern Lights.
It was such an incredible sight and the experience was wonderful.

The second was an event called 'Storm the Wall' at UBC which is a relay of sorts that ends in everyone in the team getting over a 12 foot tall wall.
It was so much fun and a really awesome challenge to go through with my friends at UBC.

Top tips

Go to heaps of events and get into the university organised stuff - the AMS at UBC is really good at organising fun things for students to do.

Exchange is completely worth it.
One thing to remember though is that you are going home eventually so if you're graduating the semester after you come back from exchange don't forget about applying for grad jobs - lots of the applications close in March/April.

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