“You came at the wrong time of year”, is something that has been told to me by almost every Canadian person I’ve met upon finding out I have come from Australia in the height of summer. However, from the onset I have disagreed with this statement and have found that not only did I come at the right time, but I could not have come at any better time at all.
Two and a half months into exchange and the work is building up as we draw towards the tail end of the semester. The academic life at Ryerson University is similar in many ways to UTS, but also marks its difference in a number of aspects. Firstly, classes are scheduled in three-hour blocks consisting of both lecture and tutorial/lab. While this is incredibly draining, it is effective in making progress in classes as there is sufficient time to get properly stuck into the course material and allows students to apply what they have learnt in the lecture directly into the tutorial.
Studying Media Production here at Ryerson is incredibly different to my Media Arts and Production major at home. Here, the university is very industry driven, producing students that at the end of their degree are fully prepared to enter the film industry in Toronto, with a full working knowledge of all the nuances of this vast profession. The classes I’m taking are all heavily practical, with subjects like Editing Specialty and Audio Post Production and Sound Design teaching me vital technical skills I feel I would not have had an opportunity to learn back home.
In terms of accommodation, arriving at the Neill-Wycik Co-op where most exchange students stay, looked bleak. Very old and basic, it is not overly inviting. However, it is entirely what you make of it, and within a week of living there it began to feel like a home. This is due mainly to the roommates I live with. Somehow, I was lucky to be housed next to four of the most incredible people I have met in a long time who have made my time on exchange as amazing as it is and I cannot imagine having any experience better than this. With the inclusion of a few others, our friendship group is small, but I have formed connections with them I never imagined and am already saddened at the prospect of leaving Toronto and parting ways with many of them.
It is because of these people that I have also been able to travel throughout the semester, as they express the same degree of enthusiasm as me, as well being companions I can spend all my time with without tiring of them. We were lucky enough to travel to Cancún in the reading week, with trips to Montreal and Blue Mountain coming up in the next few weeks. Trips like this would not be nearly as enjoyable as they are if I did not have such close friends to share the experience with.
While Toronto and Sydney are very similar cities, what marks their difference the most, in my opinion, is the cold. Living in temperatures as low as -20 at the beginning of the Winter Semester establishes a completely different way of living than in Sydney. People move from A to B in the fastest manner possible, never lingering or hanging around on the streets, and going outside is always an event as it requires so much preparation. This being said, if you are well-prepared it is bearable, and for me, even enjoyable to a large extent. I won’t forget the inexplicable feeling of joy I had the first time I walked to uni while it was snowing, and the excitement I still feel every time I look out the window to see snow falling down to the streets. It’s a feeling completely absent in Sydney and has truly allowed me to feel far away from home in a completely different world.
The people I have met and the time of year I have come have influenced my experience here on exchange that I know I could never live in Toronto because I will always be reminded of the time I have spent here, and I know nothing will live up to it. I do not feel that I came at the wrong time of year, I came at the time that was perfect for me as I cannot imagine having a better experience.
Bachelor of Communication
For more information about the UTS Global Exchange program please visit: www.global-exchange.uts.edu.au