Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Business Management, 5th year
Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Business Management, 5th year

Academic Experience

I studied five law subjects while at the U of A. Because of the way I structured my degree I was able to enrol in any level 5 subject and gain credits as electives.

There were a few differences between UQ and U of A. Firstly, lectures were not recorded so it was slightly harder to chuck a sicky for those Friday afternoon classes. For the subjects I took, there were no tutorials, instead class sizes were capped (some at 24, others at 50) it depending on the subject itself. It meant lectures were interactive but also longer (3 hours).

Law is a postgraduate degree in Canada which meant that all the students I was studying with had an undergraduate degree, passed the LSAT's and had been accepted into law school. This meant that they were all older than me - which was actually brought up during a class when the lecturer asked who was the youngest.

One of the challenges was learning the Canadian system without much background knowledge. For example there is a Canadian Charter which is sort of like our constitution but with really broad sections.

There is a bigger emphasis on 'papers' rather than exams. The majority of my classes didn't actually have a final exam which I really enjoyed considering the suffering law students go through during finals.

Personal Experience

Exchange was an experience I'll never forget. It gave me the opportunity to meet so many awesome people and explore some really cool places. From attempting to learn Portuguese and failing to trying to outdrink a German, I loved every part of exchange. The culture isn't too different in Canada but you end up meeting people from all over the world and it allows you to learn a lot about different cultures, not just Canadian.

Accommodation

I lived in HUB which was on campus and only a five minute walk from my classes. Conveniently, it also meant I didn't have to go outside to get to classes, which is actually such an advantage when it's -30 degrees outside, you've just woken up and you're just not ready for that sort of cold (the law, arts and business buildings are the only faculties connected to HUB).

It wasn't exactly the nicest accomodation available (be prepared to live with a colony of ants) but it's still not terrible student accomodation for the price. HUB is almost exclusively international students, I stayed in a four bedroom share apartment with two Aussies and a German. They were awesome roommates which was definitely part of the reason I enjoyed exchange so much, although be prepared to hide food. Don't be surprised if your roommate pulls a 'Crawford Special' which is the HUB nickname for leaving unwashed dishes in the sink and leaving the city. The apartment comes with a kitchen but be prepared to buy pots, pans, plates, duvet - pretty much everything bar a bed if you're in a furnished apartment.

Budget

Rent was $2000 but could be as much as $3500 depending on where you stay. Grocery prices are comparable to Australian prices. Travelling can be expensive but I would recommend finding a few friends, hiring a car and heading to Banff for a weekend when it's warm, that's usually the cheapest trip you can do. Travelling to the USA is a lot more expensive, but still worth it.

Transport is really good around the campus. Buses and trains are free for U of A students (technically we pay $100 at the start of the semester for it but it's compulsory anyway).

Professional Development & Employability

By going on exchange I have learnt the importance of time management, how to communicate with people when English isn't their first language and how to keep organised.

With the increase in international relations between companies, it will be important to understand and communicate with people of different cultures. Exchange has definitely helped me in this respect.

In terms of academic development, I was able to enrol in subjects that aren't offered at UQ. These areas of law really intrigued me and I was able to learn a lot about them which has clarified my future career to a certain extent.

Highlights

It's hard to pick one but for me it was snowboarding in Banff. Banff is an amazingly beautiful place and only 4 hours from campus. Even if you have to invite yourself on a trip with 10 Brazilians, do whatever you can to get to Banff. Chairlifts open in late November if you're a keen skier/boarder.

Top Tips

1. Pack warm clothes. You might think you know what the cold feels like but until you're in a Canadian winter, you don't (I was so naive..)

2. Get involved. Exchange is made by the people you meet and friends you make. In O-Week try to find other exchange students and meet some Canadians, yes the stereotypes are spot on they really are that nice.

3. Travel. You're in another continent, go and have a look around it.

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