You’ve probably all heard about how great an exchange is, what an amazing time you’ll have visiting exotic foreign locales, meeting new people and having adventures that simply aren’t possible in Adelaide. Of course all these things are true, but the market for saying so is saturated, so rather I suggest you should think about another aspect of your exchange that can be overlooked in the excitement; the academic possibilities.
My partner university, L’École des Hautes Études Commerciales à Montréal (HEC Montréal for short), offers several things which simply are not available at the University of Adelaide (UofA); our trading room has 22 Bloomberg terminals which students can complete certification for and undertake trading simulations, I am making the most of the opportunity to learn in an immersive, French-speaking environment, and experiencing the case-study style of teaching is a significant departure from all my previous education in Australia.
Be prepared to take some risks; the options of greatest benefit to you will be the ones least similar to what is offered in Australia. I was hesitant to take instruction in French for Finance courses, but haven’t regretted doing so for a moment, and a potential employer will certainly place more weight in my French skills for the fact that I have spent a whole semester studying and passing subjects taught entirely in French. Similarly the concept of taking an Ethics and Regulatory Environment for the Securities Industry course is outside the scope of the courses offered at the UofA, yet despite the fact that the regulatory environments differ between the two jurisdictions, the underlying principles of ethical actions remain the same, and this has proven to be one of my most valuable subjects.
Take the time to think about what your exchange can provide for you in your coming professional pursuits; be it a language immersion experience for Humanities students, learning the principles of a completely different legal system for Law students, the possibilities are many! I strongly encourage you to look beyond the surface of the city you’ll be studying in, so that you select the right institution for your needs.