Exchange

United Kingdom - University of Warwick (Warwick, England)

Winter 2017 Exchange - 4B
Math/Financial Analysis & Risk Management-Chartered Financial Analyst Specialization, Honours, Co-op

Hello, I'm Lucy! I was placed at the University of Warwick for my 4B term in Winter 2017.  Although it wasn't my first choice, I definitely wasn't upset about going on exchange regardless. To be honest, I was a little afraid of going to an unfamiliar country for 4 months (hence the 4B exchange term, I kept procrastinating submitting my application), but I found a friend who applied with me and I'm so glad we applied in the end.

Before committing to applying, I would definitely recommend doing your research. Many schools have very different term dates than Waterloo, and this could affect your next co-op/study term. You should also definitely look into scholarships/bursaries targeted to students going on exchange. Most of them can be applied to using a single submission form so it's really not much extra work.

I completed my exchange term at the University of Warwick's business school. The university is located in a small town called Coventry. If you thought Waterloo was a small town, then you've never been to Coventry. The school itself is on a large campus with enough geese to rival Waterloo. The city of Coventry itself though is actually a short bus ride away, and if you're someone that lives off of all the Korean, Japanese, and Chinese food in UW Plaza, then this may not be the school for you. Although these food options are available in Coventry, they are nowhere near as good as UW Plaza (and that's already saying a lot!). I think the biggest adjustment for my friend (who was placed in the same school as me) was definitely the food – although Birmingham (possibly the 2nd largest city in the UK) is only a short train ride away with much better food options.

In terms of academics, it works pretty much the same as it does here in Canada with a few small differences. Their undergrad program is 3 years in length, and with Waterloo's already extended 5 year program and me being in my final year, I was older than most of my peers. Lectures are pretty standard and vary by professor, but all of the business school courses I took (they call them modules) had video recorded lectures, which was very convenient. Assessment will depend on the course and which terms your exchange is, but it's also standard exams/assignments (assignments for me were essays), with a heavier emphasis on assignments if you are not attending the summer exam term.

I think one of the best things about doing an exchange term in the UK is that it's really easy to travel within Europe. It was really easy to book train tickets for a weekend trip to Scotland or plane tickets for a weekend in Ireland. The 16-25 railcard provides a 30% discount on train fares, and discount airlines like RyanAir are great money savers. I also booked my return ticket one month after my term end date so I had enough time to travel around Europe. Another really great discount travel option is FlixBus, it is a bus though (like Greyhound) so travel times are definitely longer but it's very affordable!

A few pictures from my adventures around Europe during my term abroad
 
Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
Eiffel Tower, France
Eiffel Tower, France

If you plan to travel while on exchange I would recommend packing light, and be willing to throw away things that are not absolutely necessary. I made the mistake of packing way too much and having to throw away a lot of stuff. You should also be aware of pickpockets - they are very quick and can catch you off guard when you least expect it.

Overall, I'm really glad that I went on an exchange term. You don't regularly get the chance to live in another country for 4 or more months while earning credits toward your degree. It's a really great opportunity to experience another culture, meet new friends from around the world, and travel. It really is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I would highly recommend it to anyone that is interested.

Warwick Castle, just a short bus ride from campus
Warwick Castle
Stonehenge, England
Stonehenge, England
Affiliation: 
University of Waterloo

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