Going on exchange was something I always wanted to partake in should I ever get the opportunity to. When I applied for the QUT exchange program I was only in my first semester of my first year at QUT. The idea that it was go any further than the application phase wasn’t something that I could wrap my head around.
& then it happened!!! I got my acceptance form QUT that they were going to support my exchange and now I had to directly apply to my selected school, Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada. At first I had no idea where this place even was (I had to Google maps it), & I was constantly being told I was crazy to apply for a winter semester in Canada. But being on exchange is all about the new experiences that you wont get at home!
There were a lot of hoops that I had to jump through, particularly in relation to any needed visas, subject comparisons etc., so at times the process did feel never ending, but now when I look back on this time it all really happen so fast.
There are sooooo many different things you need to consider whilst completing the exchange process, like where am I going to live, what is the best way to get to my destination, do I want to have the opportunity to travel before or after my studies, what subjects am I going to be able to study, do I want to take equivalents or electives whilst on exchange etc. etc. Then on top of these questions you have the consideration of language and cultural barriers, and at times it can feel very overwhelming. But the main thing I learnt when you start to freak out about taking such a big leap is just enjoy the process, experience everything you can & don’t be afraid to ask for help!!
Now more about Queen’s.
For those of you who are looking to go on exchange and are currently studying business, Queen’s university has one of the best commerce programs in all of Canada, and for the students who study here full time it is extremely competitive to get into. Having the opportunity to go on exchange to this university (without worrying about competitiveness) and utilising the benefits of its amazing program is truly one of the best decisions you can make (plus it will look AMAZING on your resume). As the Queen’s commerce program is also very diverse in the subjects they offer, I was able to match up 10 subjects that I could use as equivalents to my QUT enrolment plan plus a large pool of electives should I desire.
The university grounds themselves are quite beautiful, with the older buildings being made of stone and having some awesome architecture. The commerce classes are a lot smaller than what I was use to at QUT, with my biggest class being around 35 – 40 people max. At first it was a little daunting, not being able to hide in a sea of people from the professors, but you soon learn that through their encouragement of class interaction these smaller classes are actually beneficial. The only way I can think to compare it to QUT classes is having your lecture within your tutorial, there are a lot of class exercises, interactive simulations and overall class interaction with the professors.
The exchange office is also great! They are more than happy for you to drop in at any time to ask questions or just have a chat about your experiences. When completing the application process they can also help with accommodation arrangements and questions you may have around subject selection and their availability. The Queen’s community have their own Facebook group with lots of different sub-groups including, housing, exchange specific events, and people looking to sell things you may need during your stay.
(I promise its not always this snowy)
As for living in Kingston, surrounding Queen’s University is a community of student housing known as the “Queen’s Ghetto”. Its basically a relatively large circumference of houses which surround the university that are rented out to students throughout the schooling year (September to April). The community vibe that you get from living pretty much on campus, with a huge bunch of people who are in the same boat as you is phenomenal & highly recommended. Pretty much everything you need is within walking distance from this ‘Ghetto’ including groceries, uni, restaurants, bars, clubs etc. Plus Kingston is known in Canada for having the highest restaurant per capita within the city, and again most of these are on the main street of downtown, which is walking distance form campus.
I could keep going about all the amazing things there is to do and see here in Kingston and the opportunities Queen’s represents but then I’d run out of things to talk to you about later. So for now if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to send me a message 🙂
Don’t forget that you only live once and exchange is an experience that you will never forget!!!!