Gianraffaele Moffa went on exchange to Dalhousie University in Semester 1 of 2017 as part of his Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical). This blog post is taken from Dalhousie’s website here.
What is the best piece of advice you have for living in Halifax?
The number one tip I can give is to bring half as much stuff and twice as much money! If you’re coming in the winter, just buy a winter coat here, there is a wide selection. They usually go on sale and they’re made for Canada, so you know you’re going to be well protected from the cold! Have space in your luggage to bring stuff back home!
Is it easy to travel in Canada?
It’s relatively easy to travel around Canada. Renting a car is pretty easy if you’re over 21 and one hot tip is you can get a special rate on train rides if you book on Tuesdays! Also, the public transport is pretty good in most cities!
Is it really that cold/snowy in Halifax?
It was my first time seeing snow so it was very exciting for me and the novelty of it never wore off! Once you’re all geared up, it’s not actually that cold. There was more snow than rain, which for me was awesome because snow is a lot less annoying than rain!
I’m so thankful I packed my…
Multi-USB port charger and power bank! Your phone may not like the cold.
Is the course load very different than home?
It’s about the same I would say. You have to just keep at it and allocate a bit of time to study each week.
Favorite part of going to Dalhousie?
Being a part of the student community in Halifax. Since it’s a university town, the students make up the majority of people in Halifax and if you’re from a big city, it still really feels like it’s full of life despite the small population.
The things you MUST see/do when living in Halifax?
Ice skating at Emera Oval, a Mooseheads hockey game, Dalhousie Tigers games (free to attend with your DalCard). Rent a car and drive along the coast. Visit Point Pleasant Park, go hiking, go to Kejimkujik National Park, Cape Split, Peggy’s Cove, Cape Breton, Lunenburg! Nova Scotia is really a beautiful part of Canada!
Favorite thing about Halifax?
Halifax is an amazing place! The east coast of Canada has some of the friendliest people in the world and it really typifies the stereotype that Canadian people are nice! You can literally close your eyes and cross the road because people always stop for you (please still look both ways!). There is a thing called a Nova Scotian stand-off where there are 4 cars at a 4-way intersection and nobody goes because everybody tries to give way! Despite the population, nightlife is still quite lively since there are so many students and it is such a beautiful place with many amazing things to see in the surrounding areas.
How has studying abroad changed you?
Studying abroad allowed me to rediscover myself and figure out what really makes me happy. I’ve gained a lot of independence, confidence and a new perspective on life. It’s broadened my horizons and made me want more from life.
Why would you recommend going on exchange – to Dal specifically?
In general – exchange is amazing; I can’t recommend the experience enough! You will have a blast!
Specifically – Dal is a great school and really gives you a taste of “college life” since it’s in a small student town! The lecturers I’ve had have all been quite good and the education itself is of high quality. The inbound exchange coordinators are amazing; helping you throughout the application process and making you feel at home when you arrive. The people are all super friendly, which makes everything a bit easier!
What advice would you give to new exchange students to get involved?
From the first few days you arrive, be a friendly face! Say hello to other exchange students and people in your classes. Have a bias towards yes. Do things you wouldn’t
normally do—step outside your comfort zone! The
possibilities are endless if you want to have a good time,
and chances are the people you surround yourself with
will want to have a good time as well.