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University of Windsor (Canada)

Study Abroad Testimonial – Amelia

I figured that the Outbound Mobility Program was an opportunity not to be missed. I originally choose Canada as my exchange country because I believed that studying within a similar system to that in Australia would allow me to enjoy the experience more, instead of focusing on translating differences. I chose the University of Windsor at first because of interesting subjects, these did not end up being available at time but I am still happy with the subjects I was able to take.

Name: Amelia Johnson
Program of study at CQUni: Bachelor of Environmental Health
Host Institution & Country: University of Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Period & Year of Exchange: Fall Semester 2012 U Windsor/Term 2 CQUniversity

I studied four of my elective subjects at the University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada. I had never studied university internally before and I found the experience much easier whilst attending lectures.

My subjects were Contemporary Moral Issues, Introduction to Media & Society, Media Literacy, and Natural Hazards and Disasters. I would recommend all of these subjects for study on exchange.

The lecturers seemed to be experienced and knowledgeable, with extensive experience in their field of teaching. Most lecturers were able to hold my attention for the entire lecture and managed to maintain my interest for the entire Term.

The assessments were of about the same level of difficulty as those at CQ University, so that allowed an easy transition into study.

I figured that the Outbound Mobility Program was an opportunity not to be missed. I originally choose Canada as my exchange country because I believed that studying within a similar system to that in Australia would allow me to enjoy the experience more, instead of focusing on translating differences. I chose the University of Windsor at first because of interesting subjects, these did not end up being available at time but I am still happy with the subjects I was able to take.

On campus I was given two residences to choose from. Originally I choose a more apartment style of accommodation; however, when room was needed for other students I volunteered to change to the Canterbury College. With this change I saved money and was able to live in what I would consider a quieter and cleaner environment.

University accommodation was by no means cheap in Canada. On the plus side, my residence and another organisation nearby provided $2 and $3 student meals a few times a week which were homemade and fantastic value. Apart from those, most meals were cooked at home.

One of the best parts of the location of Canterbury College was the close proximity to the riverside, which was great for walks or cycling. The Ambassador Bridge which can be seen from the accommodation also provided for nice viewing.

Costs were very similar to those in Australia. Not cheap, but no worse than expected. Eating out was very similar, even after tipping; and other items, such as clothing, were all about the same. It is important to remember that purchases will have tax added at the checkout, so the price on an item would be increased by approximately 10 – 13% depending on the State.

I used my scholarship money to put toward my flights to and from Canada. Some of this money was leftover to cover textbooks.

Accommodation, fees, and spending money were paid for out of personal savings, which were saved over a number of years. All students should learn how to budget for life in general, so this is a necessary part of the exchange experience.

For getting around I would usually walk, and occasionally borrow a bike for longer distances. Any other time cabs were used. There was also a bus service available.

There were very minimal cultural barriers with the Canadian way of life, compared to Australia. However, fellow exchange students come from very different backgrounds and there will always be some surprises, nothing shocking or unmanageable though.

Fellow exchange students were the easiest to meet and maintain friendships with. This was mainly because they mostly lived on campus, and attended the same events.

During the Fall term there was no break in the term, so long distance travelling took place over the weekend. Windsor has very reasonably close travel proximity to places such as Toronto, Chicago, Montreal, New York, Quebec, and Ottawa. All of which I travelled to and would recommend. Other weekends were spent relaxing with fellow exchange students.

A general but important piece of advice that I would impress on perspective exchange students would be to take advantage of the opportunities available. These include free or cheap food, student discounts, events, and day trips.

It would be beneficial to take advantage of the time to make and maintain friendships. I believe that I have changed because I think I am better able to live with other people now as a result of the experience.

The town of Windsor has a train station, which I found to be a comfortable and affordable was to travel throughout Canada. I recommend the train as my preferred mode of travel. 

Lastly, as many Australians are not used to tipping for services, it is good to be reminded that this is not just polite but highly advisable, especially if you are planning to return to the place regularly.

Overall the exchange experience was highly enjoyable and beneficial, both academically and personally. All students should seriously consider making this a part of their university life.