James Roper

Date: SP5, 2016
Degree Program: Bachelor of Media Arts
Host University: Ryerson University
Host Country: Canada

Why did you choose your host university?

My decision to study at Ryerson University in Toronto was influenced predominately by the schools’ reputable film and photography program and my desire to visit Canada. Canada has a booming creative industry and this was something I wanted to experience and immerse myself in.  

James RoperWhat was the university like?

My semester at Ryerson was spent mostly at the film campus so my knowledge on the rest of the campus is limited. However, my experience on the film campus was excellent. They had state of the art facilities available to students to use on their projects, from the latest digital cameras all the way to black and white film developing services. Certain services and tech were restricted depending on your year level and course enrolment. Classes and assessments were not too different to what we experience here at UniSA, and as is with many creative classes, group discussions and group work is frequent and encouraged, which is essential to grow and improve as an artist.  

A majority of class resources were made available online, with the exception of one class which was almost entirely based on hard copy hand outs and submissions. Whole class critiques occurred for each film and photography assessment, where you would receive feedback on your work from your Professor and classmates, which was an excellent way to receive feedback on your work and is something I wish happened more at UniSA. 

What did you gain from your exchange experience and has it changed the way you think or altered your approach to life?

I genuinely believe that travel broadens the mind, and my time across Canada and the US over the last 6 months have certainly done that for me. Working with other like minded people on the other side of the globe was a great experience and solidified my aspirations within the film and photography field.  Being able to speak with and watch professionals working in the field (even just walking down many streets in Toronto there is often something being filmed there) is a fulfilling experience. While in Toronto we were fortunate enough to attend TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival), and seeing all the great films and actors and directors behind them was an exhilarating and inspirational experience.

What accommodation options were available to you?  How affordable was accommodation and would you recommend the same option to others?

I travelled with my partner so we decided to stay at an AirBnb, which turned out to be an excellent decision for us. It was in a great part of town and allowed us to also shoot some interviews with some industry professionals as part of a short documentary we began in Toronto. Other friends we made during our stay had also decided to stay in AirBnb’s and loved it, we also used them for the rest of our travels through the US and can’t recommend them highly enough. (Just do your research!) 

Describe how you adjusted to life in a different country and how you met new people.

Adjusting to life in Canada was not much of a stretch seeing as it was a mostly English speaking country and meeting new people was easy when you go to a school where most people share a similar mind set, if anything adjusting to life back home was the most difficult thing for me. When arriving home, after almost no time at all, the last 6 months of travelling started to feel like a distant memory. Probably a large contributor to why I’m desperate to get out there and travel again. 

Can you see any benefits from this exchange to your future career?

As I mentioned earlier, I believe that travel broadens the mind, a broad mind is essential in creating interesting and insightful work. This trip has also given me the travel bug and I can’t wait to get out there and travel some more, anyplace anytime.

What advice would you give to a student who was hesitant or considering joining the exchange program?

It can be scary, and your going to feel out of your comfort zone, but that’s how you know its working. The exchange program is about growth and becoming a stronger person and you wont regret giving it a go.

Top Tips:

Do your research, know what you want to get out of you travel, but don’t let your plans become a rule book. Let yourself go with the flow and try new things and you’ll make some great memories for yourself.                           

Areas of study and research

+ Click to minimise