||Bachelor of Journalism
||University of Calgary
Why did you choose your host university?
I chose the University of Calgary for a variety of reasons. Firstly, the university offered subjects that would be credited by the University of South Australia. While UofC largely considers itself as an engineering and finance school, the communication school was also held in high regard. Further reasons why I chose the university were due to its location. The university was a one hour drive from Banff National Park and that appealed to me greatly due to the abundance of snow sports that were on offer. The location and educational qualities of UofC not only allowed for learning to occur in and outside the classroom, but also a great opportunity for travel and to have fun.
What was the university like?
The University of Calgary exceeded all expectations. The classes and assessments were stimulating without being overwhelming. Each professor showed a genuine interest and worked hard to suit the individual needs of students. Furthermore, the facilities available to exchange students were truly amazing. While the educational facilities were comparable to those at the University of South Australia, it was the extra-curricular facilities that were unbelievable. From world class speed skating rinks to football and basketball stadiums that rivalled those here in South Australia, there was something for everyone. Furthermore, the three story gym, indoor running tracks and courts were all available to exchange students.
What did you gain from your exchange experience and has it changed the way you think or altered your approach to life?
It really is hard to pinpoint one specific change that has altered my thought process or approach to life. The accumulation of a range of factors including being in another country, being exposed to different living and educational environments as well as immersing yourself in a new culture really made me appreciate differences in culture as well as value even more what is unique to South Australia. A well rounded educational experience is an understatement.
What accommodation options were available to you? How affordable was accommodation and would you recommend the same option to others?
There were a range of on-campus accommodation options available. From two person dorms to singular and shared apartments there was something to suit individual needs and wants. I stayed in a four person apartment in which we all had our own bedrooms as well as two bathrooms, a kitchen and living area to share. In terms of affordability it was very reasonable with the amount of financial help that is made available to you by universities and governments. I would highly recommend staying on campus as everything is accessible and living in a five level apartment complex with all your friends is good fun.
Describe your travel experiences; did you travel locally or to neighbouring countries?
I did internal travel within the states of Alberta and British Columbia as well as to neighbouring countries. I took several trips with the university to ski slopes in British Columbia as well as several road trips organized with mates to Banff and Jasper National Park where for snowboarding, hiking, dog sledding and ice fishing. Canada’s environmental wilderness is second to none. Having finished my semester in Calgary, I then travelled to the United States and Mexico which was an unbelievable and unforgettable experience.
Describe how you adjusted to life in a different country and how you met new people.
Adjusting to life in another country wasn’t as hard as I thought. Apart from temperatures that got as low as -30, Canada and Australia are very similar. Furthermore, the Canadians are fantastic and extremely hospitable. Living on campus in an exchange students building made it easy to meet people as well as taking every opportunity to travel with the university or new people.
Can you see any benefits from this exchange to your future career?
Definitely. My writing improved and I now know how the Canadian media industry works as well as the challenges they face. This will be beneficial in my future career as I will have been exposed to more than one media industry and can compare and contrast each industry and use what I have learnt to better suit my development.
What advice would you give to a student who was hesitant or considering joining the exchange program?
Just do it. The exchange honestly exceeded all of my expectations and I’m annoyed that I didn’t sign up for a whole year. Once you settle in and have an understanding of the area you live in you’ll have an unbelievable time.
|Take your opportunities.