My UVIC Exchange Process Experience

This September I’ll be studying at University of East Anglia in the UK!

In 2022-2023 I’ll be taking my third year studying at UVIC abroad for a new cultural and educational experience.

Before applying to UVIC in 2020, I was debating taking a year off to travel before attending post-secondary education. The COVID-19 worldwide wave made my decision for me, as the only way to leave home was to enrol into a university in a different province.

I thought this meant I would have to commit to staying in the same place for four years, but if that mean’t leaving Saskatchewan, I’d do it.  When I found out about UVIC’s exchange program that would allow me to travel during my degree, it was a no brainer to start searching around the partner universities.

I was torn between Australia and the UK for a couple months. Australia had warm weather, beaches, where people live a lively outdoor lifestyle. The UK sounded like a rich cultural experience, where people fall in love with living amongst the old medieval architecture. I decided to choose based on the university’s relation to my degree and what classes interested me most, then the other location I would leisurely travel to after my degree.

I chose the University of East Anglia located in Norwich because of its representation for literature and international students. Norwich is known as the UNESCO City of Literature in the UK! University of East Anglia was the first university in the UK to offer a masters in creative writing.

Currently, I’m starting my exchange process by choosing and researching classes, housing, and following UVIC’s homework modules posted on Brightspace. During the long and sometimes overwhelming process, I keep reminding myself of why I want to go and the growth I’ll experience while completely out of my comfort zone on my own.

I have been researching three different main parts when preparing to immerse myself in a foreign country and culture in less than four months.

University of East Anglia

University of East Anglia

Housing

I realized looking for housing is easy I just need to know what I want. I chose to live off campus for more of a cultural UK experience living in the old buildings of Norwich.

My mom and I looked on https://www.unihomes.co.uk to get a feel for housing. I decided I want to rent from a 3-6 bedroom house for around 100 pounds a week.

The location has to be in between the UEA campus and downtown Norwich. I had to think about my daily living priorities and values. I want to be close enough to walk to a grocery store and still choose to walk to campus if I choose.

Classes

Since I’m going for a full term as a full time student I’ll be enrolled in 6 classes, 3 per term. For my application to UEA I need to choose 18 potential classes, in which 2/3 are under my faculty or “school,” while the others can be chosen from outside areas of study.

I chose from both Literature, Drama, and Creative Writing, as well as Media and American Studies. I had to go in acknowledging that I would only receive 6/18 of these classes, and chose 3rd and 4th year equivalents which are 500 and 600 level classes. All of these will go towards my electives while some writing classes may be equivalent to my writing requirements.

Brightspace mandatory online course

UVIC has a mandatory course including readings, resources, and assignments that prepares exchange students to travel abroad while learning. In the online modules I’m given 5 assignments where I have to answer question prompts based on the online module chapters and resources.

Some topics include travel documents, health considerations, travel safety, culture shock, and heading home from travelling abroad. Here I learned about what to expect from a UVIC exchange experience and how to adapt to the UK lifestyle and culture.

I learned that culture shock is inevitable and can be difficult, but it means I’ll be growing and learning about the world. Exploring a foreign country and culture comes with discomfort and the challenges that I’ll have to face on my journey but I want to see it positively as this is an indication of growth.

I’m excited continue the UVIC Exchange process as I plan to adapt to a new life from September 2022 to June 2023. Experiencing and exploring new education processes and teaching techniques will allow me to see my studies in a new light. Opening myself up to different perspectives is how I’ll grow the most, even if I don’t agree with them. I believe the highest amount of learning and growth comes from diving into change and staying curious with an open mind.

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