True American Experience

Dylan, S. Bachelor of Science
University of Wyoming, USA, (Semester 2 2017)

Going on exchange at the University of Wyoming in the USA was far and away the best thing I have ever done in my life. The people I met on exchange will be friends for life and the experience and sights I saw and shared with them I will never forget!

From the minute I jumped off the plane over I was a mix of nerves, fear, excitement and Taco Bell and I can honestly say that If you’re not scared it’s not something worth doing.

Walking the Streets of Wyoming

Wyoming is the state in the US with the smallest population and it is smack bang in the middle of nowhere but it honestly has so much to offer. The national parks are beautiful & there is world class skiing so close as well. If you love hiking and anything outdoors UW has the most insane outdoor program with trips every few weeks and it is so easy to make friends with people who are constantly getting out and doing exciting things.

UW itself is a pretty small school with the best sense of community. It’s in a town called Laramie which has some really cool little food spots and a lot of places that sell camo. I would recommend being over 21 or be turning 21 if you are heading to UW. Another recommendation I would have is to listen to a little country music before you leave Aus, because you will listen to it a lot and eventually begin to love songs about your tractor.

At the Beach

Some of the people in Wyoming can have pretty different values and political beliefs from home and at first that could be hard to swallow for a lot of people but if you have an open mind you will grow to love them.

Travelling around USA

The best advice I can give you is to get out of your comfort zone and try as many new experiences and meet as many new people as possible. Some of the other highlights of my trip apart from at UW included traveling to New York, New Orleans, road-tripping the west coast and going to Mexico for spring break.

 

I tried to have a ‘true’ American college experience and lived off campus in a house with people I had never met. This lead to the majority of my friends being Americans and not being other international students. While this may be scary, I went over there wanting an authentic experience and I truly am thankful for getting that. Everyone I met was so open and fun that I wouldn’t change it for the world. If you wanted the more standard exchange experience though UW still has a great international program and they will look after you so well!

Snowmobiling

I would 100% recommend going to the university of Wyoming and to America on exchange. It is such a great country and you will have memories you will never forget, it was by far the best thing I have done in my life and I want to go back every day!

Going global with QUT was amazing and even though it’s a long application process it is so worth it and the study abroad team is so helpful 🙂

My London Adventure

Tammica C, Bachelor of Business (Marketing)
Cass Business school – City University of London, UK, (Semester 2, 2017)

My journey started when I first entered QUT and looked into doing an exchange. I gather a little info but enough to tell me I had to wait until my second year to apply. The application process was stressful. Waiting so long to hear back was really hard. I felt like there was no time left to do anything and I hadn’t even found out if I was approved to go overseas! In the end it all worked out okay and I was on a plane to London.

I arrived in London and went to my first apartment (I sorted my own accommodation) which was horrific. Thankfully I had my sister who had been living in London already to stay with. I eventually moved after two weeks into my final house for the 6 months. It was a mission moving two massive suitcases through London in peak hour on the Tube but it was all part of the fun.

After 2 weeks it was time to start university! The campus was old and classic, so different from the modernised campus of QUT. I went to my welcome lecture and met my first friend who was from Spain! As we were leaving to get a coffee a rather tall young man came running over to be and with little breath asked me if I was Australian. And that is how I met Daniel, my best friend from QUT whom I met in London.

The first week was full of crazy activities for the exchange students to experience London. This included experiencing the night life, and bowling. I met some lovely girls in that first week and had some great times even though I skipped out of half of those activities. Class started and I participated in London Performing Arts, Creativity, Innovation & Design, New Venture Thinking, and PR planning and management. I had groups in three of these subjects and met more people from Spain, Canada, and America. My classes consisted of me seeing various plays and playhouse throughout London, facing entrepreneurial problems every week, creating creative work spaces, and analysing recent PR campaigns.

Outside of Uni I spent a lot of time visiting key locations and working. I would do many things with Daniel and a few other girls we had met. We went to the Shard, ate donuts on Primrose Hill, went to Wales, attended a lantern festival, and visited the Camden markets many times for the halloumi fires! I went to concerts and even a boat party organised by Cass. Daniel and I tried to go to as many cafes as possible during our time and spent many hours drinking peanut milkshakes and pancakes. It truly was the best time I have had and I would do it all over again tomorrow.

After Uni had concluded I shipped off and visited many countries throughout Europe. I went to Marrakech and rode camels, Barcelona and sat on the beach ( for the first time in forever!), Paris and Disneyland, Munich and snowboarded, Iceland, Greece, Scotland, Wales, Ireland. I spent 6 weeks travelling and saw so much of the world and loved places I thought I would hate and hated places I thought I would love.

Overall, my exchange was life changing. I made friends, saw places I never thought I would, did things I never thought I would do. I changed for the better and grew up so much. I would never and could never regret my amazing experience on my QUT Student Exchange.

Amazing Amsterdam

Maddi G. Bachelor of Design (Honours)
Amsterdam Fashion Institute (Semester 2, 2018)

Hi, my name is Maddi and I went on exchange to Amsterdam at the Amsterdam Fashion Institute (AMFI) in the Netherlands from August 2018 – February 2019.

Exchange was everything I hoped it would be and more. From the city of Amsterdam, to the content I learned at my host university, to the solo travel, it exceeded expectations in every capacity and I highly encourage anyone who is on the fence about applying for exchange to just do it; you will not regret it.

AMFI is a part of the HvA (Hoogeschool Van Amsterdam) located in central Amsterdam close to the Waterloopleinmarkt and ARTIS Zoo.

Living in Amsterdam

I lived on the Zuiderzeeweg on one of the little islands in east Amsterdam in student accommodation blocks made out of old shipping containers. The area around it was in the development stage so there weren’t any shops, yet however my residency had students from all over the world so I had a great community around me. The friends I made during the International Student Week at AMFI stayed with me throughout my entire exchange. This is the week where you meet all the other exchange students that have also just arrived in Amsterdam. I was put in a group of 30 people from all over the world and your leaders are students as well that have lived in Amsterdam for a while.

Bike Culture

Living and learning a new city has been one of the most exciting things I have ever done. The sense of accomplishment and independence you feel when you don’t need Google Maps to bike around the city anymore is so empowering, because YOU figured it out. What took me the longest to adjust to was the bike culture, and learning the bike etiquette around the streets of Amsterdam.

Accommodation

I lived in my own apartment provided by the university, with my own bedroom, living space, bathroom, kitchen and a little balcony out the back. It was a twenty minute bike ride from the university campus. For future exchange students, I would recommend looking up the campus you are going to be primarily located, and choosing somewhere a little closer to save you time.

So in summary, living in Amsterdam was the best experience of my life. I have endless stories, experiences, and lessons learnt, so if you’d like to hear more, I’d love to have a chat. I learnt so much about myself that I never would have figured out, had I not gone on exchange. I do not regret a single second of my exchange experience, and I highly recommend applying!

Travel and Toronto

Lucy D., Bachelor of Business/Law
University of Toronto, Canada (Semester 2, 2018)

I studied at the University of Toronto in Semester 2, 2018. My 5 months in Canada were unforgettable, and exchange was the absolute best adventure.

Campus Life

The University of Toronto has three campuses. I attended the Mississauga campus, which was about a 45-minute drive from downtown Toronto. I chose to stay on Campus and live in residence, which was a great decision. My residence was called Leacock Lane and I stayed in a townhouse with three other girls. Two of them were Canadian, and the other was an international student, like myself. Campus life was great; there were always lots of activities going on, and plenty of things to do. The university itself had great facilities; including a free gym, bike hire, and a nature trail walk (with great deer sightings).

In terms of study, I found the work load extremely easy compared to QUT. I found classes extremely manageable, and I was able to explore and travel in the meantime!

Travel and Toronto

Toronto is huge multicultural city with so much to offer. I made the most of being close to downtown, and tried to do something new every week. I visited Toronto Island, the Toronto Film Festival, Nuit Blanche (a midnight citywide arts festival), a baseball game, hockey games, and Christmas markets. I also went further afield to explore Niagara Falls, Montreal, and Ottawa.

If you’re going on exchange to Canada, you can’t miss out on seeing the Canadian Rockies. I did a 2-week Topdeck before exchange and got to explore Banff, Whistler, Jasper and Vancouver. I would definitely recommend planning some travel before or after your exchange.

Canadian Life

Everyone always says that Canadians are the nicest people…this is definitely true! If you need help, or you are lost, people are more than happy to help you out. Unfortunately, Canadian coffee is nothing like Australian coffee, so expect to drink a lot of bad coffee. On the plus side, Tim Hortons will become a staple in your diet.

My Top Tips

  • Take every opportunity to explore the country in which you study – last minute trips will become some of your best memories.
  • Be sure to try a beaver tail and poutine.
  • Stay in residence if you can. It’s such a great experience that I couldn’t recommend more.
  • If you have electives use them to take a subject that you would never normally do as part of your degree…I took an Italian Food and Culture subject and loved it. (Part of the course was to do a walking pizza tour of Toronto..).
  • Remember that prices do not include tax and you have to tip. It’s an adjustment at first but after a while you will get used to it.
  • Wait and buy winter jackets and boots in Canada, they are inexpensive and often better quality than those in Australia.
  • Above all, make the most of your time overseas and have fun. Before you know it, you will be back home and missing it like crazy!