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Jennifer Shen


Fall 2016 - 3B
Computer Science, Honours Co-op

United Kingdom - University of Birmingham, England

Jennifer (Zijing) Shen's Exchange Summary

Hi! My name is Jennifer, and I did my exchange at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom! I have grown up in Canada my whole life, so going to live in a new Country was really exciting to me. University of Birmingham is a beautiful place, located north of London, with red brick buildings and the world’s largest free standing clock tower in the middle of their quad. Birmingham is the second biggest city in England, so there is quite a bit to see there as well.

University of Birmingham red brick buildings free standing clock tower in university of Birmingham's
Birmingham’s Beautiful Campus

When I arrived at the University, there were Welcome Week Events for Exchange students and incoming students.  There was never a shortage of things to do or people to meet. Meeting all these people from around the world, was a little overwhelming, but it was a very memorable part of my exchange. Not only did I get to experience UK’s unique culture, I got to talk to people from all around the world and understand their perspectives and views better. As a person, this helped me appreciate other cultures better and break out of my comfort zone.

meeting people on exchange group 1 meeting people around the world making friends on exchange
Meeting people from around the world!

In terms of academics, figuring out another School’s system was difficult, but after I got over that hump I was able to attend and enjoy my classes right away.

Sometimes Waterloo’s environment can be a bit stressful, especially when job hunting season comes around. However, having an internship aligned from my previous work term gave me freedom to enjoy my classes more and explore the United Kingdom. Policies and academics tend to be less rigorous when you are on exchange, after all it is important to take advantage of being in a new Country, leaving you more time to explore.

Since the United Kingdom is very small, and cities are easily accessible my train I got to visit several cities within the UK including London, Manchester, Liverpool, Bath, Dublin, and Edinburgh.

Penny Lane in Liverpool visiting cities within the United Kingdom
Exploring City to City!
Dublin Rome

When my exchange finished, I had a few weeks to spare before starting co-op. During that time, my family got to visit me and we travelled around Europe for two weeks. Overall, I had an excellent time on exchange, and I recommend people take the opportunity!

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