Matilde Mendonca – International Hospitality & Tourism Management – Level 3
Brock University, Canada
The reason I went on exchange was not the best one, as I was being pushed by my parents to use the opportunity given by the university to do so, and they thought it would be silly not to do so. Although I did not really want to do it, mostly I had already been living in 3 different countries the previous year, I decided to go for it. I chose my university based on the country, as North America had always been on my list of desired places to visit, but I was still not 21 and would have some limitations in the USA. So Canada it was, and more exactly Brock University.
Before I went out on exchange I wish I had known how cold it actually gets there, and maybe it would have been a good idea to pair the students going there with other students from the university so that as soon as we got there we would have gotten some guidance from the students themselves, as there was a lot that took me a bit to understand like how credits work over there.
Brock and QMU teach very differently. Unlike QMU, Brock allows us to choose the modules we want to take each semester, allowing us two weeks or so to change if we don’t like, which allowed me to actually become extremely interested in what I was learning and excited about the lecturers I had chosen. Assignments also work differently, meaning that unlike one essay worth 70% of the grade and the exam being the 30% of it, Brock actually makes us work a little bit every week and we get 10% or so for each little assignment we do, as well as showing up and participating in class. This made me learn more than in QMU, as instead of studying for exams that I know I am not good at and will only make me nervous, I actually took a little bit of time each week to read what I had to read, therefore learning more about the subject than one does when they are reading simply to study for an exam. This is definitely one thing that I thought Brock did really well.
While in Brock, I did not take part in any extra curricular activities, both because I was only there for one semester and because most of the meetings were on Wednesdays, which was my busiest day. Still, I did go travel! Because I had no exams this semester, my classes finished on the 1st of April, and so I decided to go to the USA. I went to Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and New York City for 2 weeks altogether. It was a dream come true and it only made me want to work harder so that one day I can come back, because NYC is definitely a city I would consider living in.
The worst part of my exchange was probably adjusting to the cold and missing home. The best part was definitely making friends and traveling!
I would definitely recommend going on exchange because it is a unique opportunity that life does not give too often. It was indeed extremely difficult overall, but it was also an experience I will never forget nor regret.