Exchange Student at the University of Waterloo, Canada  

Ruby Hall, English Language and Literature

Why I got involved

I’ve always wanted to go to North America, especially Canada, and it seemed like a good opportunity to experience that and to do some travelling whilst I was there as well. I wanted to meet new people and study in a different place - and it was nice to have a break from Newcastle.

Why did you choose your specific destination?

The other parts of Canada were pretty rural and rather cold! Waterloo is quite near Toronto, which is a big city and somewhere I wanted to see. It was also a good base for travelling, once my university work was finished.

Most enjoyable aspect

Meeting different people from all over the world - my best friend there was Australian and it’s nice to mix with other nationalities. I didn’t really get that at Newcastle. The non-academic side, travelling, canoeing, skiing - that was a fantastic opportunity.

What was the most challenging aspect?

Moving to a new country on your own. When I first arrived I had problems with my accommodation and I was living a little bit further out from the university, just myself and an older couple. Establishing yourself somewhere with a different culture where you don’t know anyone can be challenging. The teaching is quite different, too. Very large lecture groups and very small seminar groups took some getting used to!

How do you feel it helped to enhance your degree?

I studied things I would not have looked at before, like Canadian literature. I’d never studied a Canadian author before, but it has given me a broader understanding of literature in general, and now I intend to do my personal study project on Canadian literature. It also shows prospective employers that I can excel outside my comfort zone.

How I've benefited personally?

I became a lot more confident. You have to put yourself out there and talk to people when you don’t know anyone. At home you tend to sit back and stay in your friendship group because you don’t particularly need to meet new people.

Find out more about Student Exchange Programmes.