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Prologue

29 July, 2006

University, as we are all so often told, is a time for both “experimentation and adventure”. The classic American teen movie, in all its undoubted wisdom, would have us all believe these terms are merely euphemisms for drug taking and promiscuity, however sometime around last October I decided to follow a different path and get my kicks by applying for the exchange program.

It's now nearly 8 months later, and I’m finally getting ready to pack my bags and take off to the other side of the world. In an unusual twist I managed to get a gig as an exchange blog writer, so here I am with my first ever post. I guess the first thing you should know about me is that I’m one of those people whose past travelling experience is limited to the Australian east coast between Brisbane and Melbourne, and that my last “holiday” was a week on the Gold Coast during Schoolies. I got my first passport about a month ago and have only recently become acquainted with the joys of waiting in line at the US visa office for four hours in order to be fingerprinted and have a thirty second interview. The second thing you should know about me is that the longest amount of time I’ve ever managed to keep a diary for is about two weeks. So, on all fronts, I’m trying something new.

There’s about 20 days left before I fly out, and it’s finally starting to dawn on me that I’m actually going away for a pretty long time. While I like to tell myself that I’m the tough and independent type (perhaps not accurate but attitude is half the battle, right?), the closer its gets to leaving time the more nervous and paranoid I get. I keep having dreams about accidentally saying the word “bomb” on the plane, or getting to my destination only to be told that I’m being arrested because contraband has been uncovered in my boogie board bag. But when it comes down to it, I’m about $10, 000 in airfares, insurance and accommodation past the point of no return, so I’m just going to have to get my act together.

So watch this space for a glimpse of what it's like at uni in Canada. Hopefully I’ll be able to entertain you with cautionary tales of my adventures (or misadventures) abroad, who knows, maybe you'll even learn a thing or two from my mistakes.

Comments

Hi Bailee,
Do you need to get good marks at uni to go on exchange? I;m in yr 11 and my brother lives in london. i thought it woiuld be cool to visit him as part of my degree, but i'm not sure if i'll get the top marks. are there universities in london i can go to?

Leona-Jane

Hi Leona-Jane,

There is a marks requirement for going on exchange. You have to have a credit average (which means marks of 65 and over). So you don't really need top marks, its pretty achievable if you just put in a solid effort. As for universities in London you can go to, you can find the list of universities that Sydney has exchange partnerships with at this address

http://www.usyd.edu.au/fstudent/studyabroad/exchpartners.shtml

There's a fair bit of variety when it comes to unis in the UK, so the lists worth looking through. I hope that helped you out, and good luck with everything.

Bailee

Hi Leona-Jane. You need to get a credit average to do exchange. That means the average of all your marks should be over 65.

I was one of those slow people who was too busy thinking about leaving to put my hand up to do the blog. I've been travelling in the US for 2.5 weeks now, on my way to study in Montreal (also Canada, but the other side).

Don't worry, Bailee, it's great fun once you're on that plane!

Hey Bailee,
Which year are you in? Is there a year that you think is the best to go on exchange in? Have funn!

Asako

Hey Bailee, don´t worry I´ve travelled heaps but theres always something to put off even the most seasoned traveller. My realisation didn´t hit me till I was on the plane, but gallavanting around South America it has kinda slipped my mind!

Anyways, I´ll be just across the border in the old US of A if you feel like dropping by for some tea :)

P.S. don´t forget to make sure those nail scissors aren´t in your hand luggage!

I think Vancouver's a little far to be called "just over the border" from Boston. And Boston is known for throwing out the tea....

Hi Bailee,

Do you really like Sydney uni? Do you think it has offered the best opportunities for exchange? How good is it?

Jane

I am considering going on an exchange to Canada. I want to go to a good fishing location. How is the fishing there? I hear there's an abundance of cod.

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