From Australia to Canada: An exchange student’s experience at Brock

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Brock University is highly recognized for the exchange and study abroad program that it offers for not only their own students, but for students from partner schools around the globe.

With over 60 different partner schools located in countries such as India and Switzerland, the focus is usually surrounding the opportunities for travel offered to Brock students.

To witness an alternative perspective, take a look at the hundreds of international students that come to Canada on exchange, and their opportunities and experiences at their home away from home, Brock University.

Emily Sargeson, from Melbourne, Australia, shares the story of her semester abroad at Brock.

Sargeson explained that she chose Brock as her first option for exchange because Canada had always been at the top of her travel list as it suited her interests best.

“There were a lot of universities boasting about their academic programs and lots of others highlighting their myriad of clubs,” said Sargeson. “Brock stood out to me because of its environmental consciousness and active participation in fair trade schemes. It seemed, and was, so well-rounded as a university.”

Boarding her plane with only one small suitcase, Sargeson left her friends and family in Australia to embark on an adventure to Canada. Due to the distance between Australia and Canada, she travelled for more than 25 hours by connecting flights to step foot in Toronto, the other side of the world from where she had come.

“I was looking forward to experiencing the culture and university lifestyle of another country,” said Sargeson, reflecting on the past. “Although, I must admit, I was a little nervous about the cold weather.”

Upon arriving to Brock, she was excited to see how the education system compared to her home university in Australia.

“I liked the small class sizes and the ability to speak to my professors in person,” said Sargeson. Something that is uncommon in Australia.

During her four months at Brock, Sargeson stated that she made sure to make the most out of her experience on exchange.

“I got to achieve some personal goals through the pilates course offered at the gym, I explored a lot of the beautiful trails near campus and I had the chance to travel to iconic places across North America during the break,” said Sargeson. “Many of these moments were memorable mostly because of the people I was doing them with, and the friendships I made while at Brock.

“There were so many friendly people at Brock,” laughed Sargeson, sharing that Canadians and Australians are similar in their friendly demeanor.

As for cultural differences, she felt that they were subtle. Sargeson stated that because there was no language barrier, there were hardly any times that she felt uncomfortable or different at Brock.

“I would really encourage others to research properly where they are going as well as getting involved when you get there,” said Sargeson. “I found it really important to make supportive friends and get myself into a good routine.”

Sargeson is now back in Australia and on summer break until she resumes the last year of her studies in Melbourne. Her time at Brock may have been short, but it will not be forgotten.

“I am so grateful for the opportunity to have come to experience everything Brock had to offer,” said Sargeson.

 

To learn more about Sargeson’s travels, you can visit her Youtube channel, Emily Of The East, and watch video blogs about her experiences at Brock and in Canada.

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