Host University

Ryerson University

Host Country



SP5, 2016


Bachelor of Business (Sport and Recreation Management)

Why did you choose your host university?

I knew from the start that Canada was the country I wanted to complete my exchange in as I had not travelled there previously. Having researched all the different universities on offer, Ryerson appealed to me the most. This was largely based on the information and experiences I had heard through other friends and exchange students who picked Canada as their chosen country. The location of Ryerson University being in the city centre of Toronto was a major factor in my decision as it meant there would always be activities to do and places to visit!

AbbieWhat was the university like?

Surprisingly, Ryerson University and UniSA had many similarities. Both devote 3 hrs to a course and the credits also align with each other, therefore I completed 4 subjects in Toronto counting for 4 UniSA subjects. Some subjects just had a 3 hr lecture, whereas others were spilt in half. Most used a lecture style of teaching compared to a combination of lectures and tutorials like Uni SA. I found this system easy to follow and understand the content, however it did minimise the interaction with other students. The courses had more assessments than you would usually come across at UniSA, however each was worth a smaller percentage towards your overall grade, therefore were more simple to complete.  The facilities I used were all located in the newly built business school located on top of the Eaton Centre (4th biggest shopping mall in North America). This was a great facility and only a 15minute walk from my residence.

What did you gain from your exchange experience and has it changed the way you think or altered your approach to life?

I learnt so much about the world, others and myself during my time away. You come home with a whole new perspective on the world and an understanding of just how much is on offer. Your independence and ability to interact with others grows massively having to take on many new experiences and needing to get yourself involved in any situation that approaches you. My desire to travel and explore the world is stronger now than ever before and I can’t wait until I can go and visit the many friends I made in all different countries.

What accommodation options were available to you?  How affordable was accommodation and would you recommend the same option to others?

Unfortunately, my friend and I faced many challenges with our choice of accommodation being Parkside Student Residence. It had great facilities and amenities, the meal plan included was so convenient and the students we met there were friendly and welcoming. However, we were only offered a 12-month contract and were told it would be easy to transfer this contract to another student once our 4 month exchange was completed. This was NOT the case and as a result we have to arrange sublets and payments (which we are losing a lot of money on) for the following 8 months whilst being at home, which are far from ideal circumstances. I would strongly advise to avoid choosing this accommodation as the management are unexperienced, unreliable and can’t be trusted for the information they supply to you. It created constant, unnecessary stress impacting massively on my exchange experience.

Describe your travel experiences; did you travel locally or to neighbouring countries? 

I travelled with another friend from my degree and we were both really eager to explore as much as we could whilst we were there. We travelled for over a month before the exchange started which meant we were home for Christmas. We started in New York followed by a Contiki that took us all over Canada. Even though Toronto was the city we chose to study in, we still wanted to see as much of Canada as possible. The west coast, which included Vancouver, Banff and Whistler, was one of the highlights of my trip. It’s so unique and nothing like living downtown in a busy city. I travelled back to the USA during the Universities reading week, which was a great way to break up the semester. We also explored all over Toronto going to the outer suburbs and neighbouring small towns which was so interesting to experience compared to the face paced and busy downtown Toronto.

Describe how you adjusted to life in a different country and how you met new people.

I found settling in Toronto to be rather normal and easy-going as their culture is extremely similar to here in Adelaide. The weather came as a bit of shock and wasn’t overly pleasant at times but I came home before the worst of the winter months hit. I think it is so important to go and explore what’s around you, and learn to navigate your way around the city as it will make you feel more at home and confident about being there on your own.

The people I met were what made the experience so special. Whether it’s friends from Uni, the residence or locals, you spend so much time with them that they become like family whilst you are away. Being with friends will also encourage you to do as much as you can in your spare time as it’s much nicer to do things with others.   

Can you see any benefits from this exchange to your future career?

Definitely! You come home with a whole new mindset and ideas of things you want to do in the future which is so motivating. You also develop and strengthen so many skills that will help you advance in your working life. For me, it has also slightly changed the direction of what I would like to achieve with my career and has given me more direction of where I would ideally like to work, which wasn’t clear to me before.

What advice would you give to a student who was hesitant or considering joining the exchange program?

Why not? It was honestly the most amazing thing I have decided to do and would do it again if I could! It was the best semester of Uni I’ve had I and I got to travel the world whilst doing it. Obviously you’re going to feel a little nervous as it’s a big change but I can definitely say how worth it the experience was. Definitely start planning it early and get in contact with your course coordinator to organise subjects, as it will make it a much smoother process.

Top tips

Do as much as you can and take every opportunity as it comes. There are many times when you’re too tired or it may be cold outside which can stop you from doing things, DON’T let it. I love being able to look back and know that I made the most of my time away with no regrets about missing an event or dinner with friends. Everything you participate in creates a memory and you want to come home with as many as possible. You also need to value and make an effort with the relationships you form, as they were the most valuable thing I gained from the whole exchange experience.