Another Australian goes to Canadia – By Jason Anglberger

Why You Should Come on Exchange to UBC (Anywhere in Canada will do)

I’m going to assume that you want to go on an exchange. Trust me, its a good idea. It may be a lot of work, it may not really fit into your study plan, and it may not fit with your finances, but really if there is any way you can make it happen go for it. You do not want to miss out on this.Anyway, UBC. The University of British Columbia (UBC from here on in) is situated to the west of central Vancouver, on its own little peninsular. It looks out across Salish Sea to Vancouver Island and the province’s capital city, Victoria. If you are going on exchange, you should come to UBC and I’m going to explain to you why.
Everyone going on exchange is planning to make friends. The vast majority of people are anxious to varying degrees about it as well. I know that I certainly was before I left. The good news is that I shouldn’t have been worried and you shouldn’t either, as there are so many opportunities to meet people and make friends you’d have to actively try to avoid coming to know a whole bunch of different people.First up, nearly every exchange student will get a place living on campus. Depending on your situation you might not be looking for student house living with others, but its one of the best ways to meet other students. You will get to know your other roommates, whether you like it or not ;). I am personally in a 6 person shared apartment in a tower housing 408 other students, but there are a plethora of different options. Its not an experience that many Adelaide uni students will have had unless they have lived in a college or similar.

┬áLiving on campus, you’ll come to realise there are a whole hoard of other exchange students about. These guys are your first port of call when it comes to making friends, to state it in a mercenary fashion. While some permanent students may have groups of friends and mainly be focused on studying, all the other exchange students are going to want to meet people, travel and just generally have a good time.While I’m on the point, I have to mention the ESC (exchange student club). A small team of Canadian students organise events for others on exchange, including hiking trips, camping trips, bar crawls etc. If you just turn up, you will have a good time, I guarantee it. Some of their events have resulted in some of my poorer decisions regarding alcohol…Another thing I highly reccommend is joining a club at UBC. You’ll quickly realise that there are many, many more clubs to choose from than at Adelaide University, almost overwhelmingly so. There is also so much more happening on the campus and in the residences in general, almost every night there will be multiple things to do.

Speaking of the campus, the experience at UBC is way different to a university like UoA. UBC exists on its own little area, separated from suburbia by the Pacific Spirit Parklands. It really is like a self contained town, with its own grocery shops, bars, restaurants and neighbourhoods. The campus is sure to give you a kick. Just walking across it takes me nearly 30 minutes!

The teaching style is also a bit more ‘traditional’ than my lectures in Adelaide. In my maths lectures they even still use blackboards for the entire course. No lecture recordings hurts pretty bad, especially when you have 8 am lectures like I do. The good news is, UBC is one of the highest ranked Universities in Canada and among the top 40 un
iversities in the world. It really shows with the quality of the lecturers a facilities available.

I’m sure you didn’t want to go on exchange because of uni work though, at least not entirely. You are in luck in Vancouver, as there is tonnes to see and do. The public transport system is good (at least better than Adelaide) which you’ll be needing to get around on a budget. For outdoor activities especially, the Vancouver area is basically the best in the world. Yes, I said it! My poison of choice is mountain biking, where you’d be hard pressed to find a more famous area for riding. I also dabble in skiing and Whistler is frequently voted the best ski resort in North America. But whatever your preference you are pretty much guaranteed to have a long time as long as its outdoors. I didn’t realise but apparently its one of the best places for fishing, rock climbing, hiking, Frisbee golf(?) and I’m sure many others. Make sure you go explore the mountains, as the views are breathtaking whether you are in Banff national park or just driving up the coast from Vancouver.

Finally, we get to Canadians themselves. One of the best things about going on exchange is that you can immerse yourself in another culture. Admittedly, the Canadian culture won’t be the most foreign to you amongst the rest of the world, but you’ll pick up lots of little differences through your time here. Canadians are really friendly and at the risk of reinforcing stereotypes, polite. Go to an Ice Hockey match though and you’ll see a completely different side to them.
Vancouver is a beautiful, magical place. I’ll end this here to avoid ranting about how much I love it anymore, but I truly hope you at least consider UBC as your host while on exchange. Trust me, its the right choice.
To find out more about Jason’s adventures, check out his travel blog!
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