The past four months have undoubtedly been the best times of my life. Going on exchange provided me with an adventure I could never have even imagined having before. I have just finished studying a semester in the winter wonderland of Waterloo, Canada. Luckily for me this was an ‘easy winter’ with the temperature reaching below minus 20 Celsius only a handful of times.
Within the first few days of moving into my student residence (WCRI) I found myself in a group of friends which only grew and grew over the weeks into a huge family of people from all around the world. It didn’t take too long for us to form a routine: Class or study in the day, hang out with each other all afternoon, dinner with the entire floor by 9 and then head out uptown as a huge group of international students! Throughout this was plenty of planning for weekend trips that spanned all across North America and of course a sneaky trip to Cuba.
The University of Waterloo is located in a university town meaning it’s filled with like-minded students, cheap eats and plenty of nightlife. The university itself is very similar to UTS in terms of class structures and assessments which make it easy to adjust. As an exchange student, since the grades are not transferred over, working towards just a pass made the semester a whole lot easier with heaps more spare time for exploring!
Just a one hour drive to Toronto opens up endless possibilities for travelling. I was extremely impressed with the beauty of the East coast of Canada throughout the semester however nothing compares to the West. For the last two weeks I have been hiking, camping and hostel hopping across the Rockies with a group of friends from Waterloo. Coming from Sydney with relatively flat landscapes, the size and magnificence of the Rockies was simply breathtaking.
On top of the jaw dropping national parks, Canada has a lot more to offer. The people for one live up to their stereotype of being the friendliest people on earth – everywhere we went, especially as international students, it was super duper easy to make friends. The food is quite similar to Australia… maybe a bit cheaper and bigger servings than Sydney but overall very good quality. To my surprise, Canada also has a very strong subculture for young adults which actually varies all across the country.
Overall, I honestly think that anywhere you go on exchange you will have a great time as long as you get yourself out there and meet people from the get go. Other exchange students are in the same shoes as you so they want to experience the same things and the local students seem keen to meet new people all around the world too!
I would 100% recommend Waterloo for a great semester filled with genuine people and easy classes 🙂 Don’t hesitate to apply!