I spent my year abroad in London Ontario Canada at Huron college where I studied English. The trip had it’s ups and downs but I want to focus on giving some practical tips that will hopefully help. Had I known some of these things beforehand it definitely would have made things easier for me.
Tips specific to Huron/western:
- This is the most important one: If you’re applying to Western university, make sure that is where you’re actually going. I did this but I ended up going to one of western’s affiliate colleges – Huron which made it a completely different experience.
- Make sure you know which classes you *can* take. I knew the classes I wanted to take but found out pretty late down the road that they were not available to me as an exchange student, so double check this to avoid disappointment. And try to take at least one course in a topic that may not be available at Southampton – this will help to build your versatility.
- Find out if there are any fees that you need to pay, I was unaware of mine and later in the year had to pay nearly £900 unexpectedly.
- It sounds obvious but make sure to utilise the library! The workload is much more than Southampton’s meaning that the reading is more too. Buying all the required books would be extremely expensive so once you’ve settled in try to reserve what you need in advance. It will save time and money.
- Make the most of the exchange team and take advantage of any trips and events they do. Huron was pretty good with this and took us to quite few places including Niagara falls, a Maple farm, and the beach all of which were free. They also do other campus based events throughout the year.
- Try and arrive in time for orientation week. This will be the time when you’re most likely to make your friends for the year. The in class discussion is pretty limited, so it is a bit harder to get to know your classmates. Again Huron was good with this and during the week we got to know the campus before everyone arrived as well as the city.
Canada in general:
- If you’re lucky to have a friend with a car, suggest going on a road trip during reading week. It will be a good and cheaper way to see more of Canada. Canada is huge so a lot of the major cities are far away from each other – sometimes you might have to fly there. If there isn’t a car available there’s a coach that travels to quite a few places in the country and even to America.
- You’re going to need an ETA (electronic visa) and a study permit. The study permit takes a bit of time and you will need to go to a specific Canadian centre ( in the UK) in order to get one, so once you’re confirmed try and sort this out asap!
- Lastly, things are more expensive in Canada, specifically groceries to be prepared for this. If you have space try and bring essentials over from home as it will definitely be cheaper!
I hope these tips are helpful and a note to any other English students, the work load is A LOT more than we’re used to but it’s doable. Once the year is finished, you will be more prepared for final year, in fact the work might still be less than in Canada!