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  • 1. International Student Exchange Program Returned Student ReportWelcome back! The international experience you have gained while on exchange is avaluable resource that you will draw upon throughout your life. Your experience can alsohelp other UniSA students when they are planning for their exchange. To make sure thatprospective students have a chance to learn from your experience you are required to submita Returned Student Report. Please note that your academic credit from your host institutionwill not be transferred to your UniSA academic record until your report is submitted.This form has been developed to make submitting your report easier. Please complete theform and return by email to student.exchange@unisa.edu.au. Returned student reports willbe posted on the International Student Exchange Website.When filling in the returned student report try to remember the sort of things that youwanted to know before you went on exchange, be honest in your responses and try to avoidsimply giving yes/no answers.Please do not hesitate to contact UniSA International staff if there are any issues you wouldlike to discuss regarding your exchange experience.Student Exchange TeamUniSA InternationalUniversity of South AustraliaM3-21A100 North Terraceemail: student.exchange@unisa.edu.auName: Andrew ChownUniSA Program Enrolment: Bachelor of Urban and Regional Planning(eg Bachelor of Arts etc)Exchange Semester and Year: Semester 2 (Study Period 5), 2nd Year UniSA, 3rd Year Ryerson UniverityHost Institution: Ryerson University, TorontoCountry of Host Institution: CanadaDo you give permission for prospective exchange students to contact YESyou if they have questions?If yes, please give your preferred email Choat002@students.unisa.edu.auaddress:
  • 2. The Host InstitutionWhat factors influenced your decision to select the host institution that you went to?I chose to go the Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada, because I have always wanted to go toCanada and I thought this would be a great opportunity to see the country and live the lifestyle. Also, I chose Ryerson because in Urban Planning we have few choices of where we cango, but it worked out great because Ryerson has a really good course.How would you describe your host institution?Ryerson is good. It has many “newish” buildings, but I found with the planning course thatpowerpoint presentations were not used very regularly by professors. The Ryerson exchangeorganizers and student committee are fantastic, and organize a lot of events for exchangestudents and are always there to help.Please describe the location of the host institutionRyerson is right downtown. It is a campus that occupies quite a large area, probably biggerthen a city block. It is very close to shopping, food, pubs and public transport (subway).Please describe the courses that you took while on exchange? What were their pros and cons?Whilst on exchange I took 3rd year courses. They were:Planning Theory- I found this interesting and useful for decision making in the field. Butfound that without the use of powerpoint presentation systems it was a lot of writing andnoting.Environmental Planning and Management- This course was informative and much relatedto planning. It outlined approached to managing the environment. It was good because it wasa 3h course per week and it was all in one block. (Often didn’t go that long). I found that therewas a lot of reading for this course and it required the purchase of a text book. (approx $70can)Land Use Planning- This subject is a large group assignment project. It is intensive andrequires quite a lot of work. I found this subject the least enjoyable.Health Promotion and Community Development- This subject is an interdisciplinary subjectand was held between 6pm and 8.30pm Wednesday nights on my timetable. It is healthrelated but has elements of planning in it. I found this subject to be quite easy but it requireda weekly reading summary, but the content wasn’t too challenging.
  • 3. How did course content, class size, marking, etc compare with UniSA?The course content was obviously of a North American, Canadian context. So this made itinteresting as it was new and seemed quite foreign to me, but at times they talked aboutthings that I didn’t have a clue about because of this.The class size is relative to UniSA. In core courses it ranged from approx 50-75. Then inelectives it ranged from approx 20-30. The class size all depends on what subjects that you aretaking.The marking was similar. It seemed a little easier at Ryerson, but the workload was higher.Planning at Ryerson is similar to UniSA in the sense that there are 4 tasks worth marks. Theamount of work for these was varied; some were case studies of approx 10-12 pages. Anotherwas a term paper of approx 4,000 words. All in all the work varied but was similar in themarking to UniSA.Also, midterm exams are often carried out in subjects at Ryerson, I had 2 and then 2 finalexams for the same subjects.Did you find the academic and international office staff helpful?Like UniSA the academic staff set office hours and they were all helpful. Whilst they set officehours it is always possible to email them and they generally reply promptly.The international office staff were outstanding. They helped us with everything that weneeded and provided us with information required for life at Ryerson. The exchangecommittee that worked with the international office was amazing. This committee comprisedof returned exchange students from Ryerson, all of which were friendly and they organizedweekly pub nights and other events. They organized a baseball match, basketball match andgeneral get-togethers for the exchange students.Both the international office and committee were always there if you needed someone to talkto.Please describe the resources available to exchange students (ie computers, the library)?The resources available are much the same as regular students. There is a large library andvarious computer labs, with many computers. There is a huge cafeteria with many choicesand you are provided with a student card which can have money put on it to be used forprinting and buying food at various locations on campus and some off campus (residence andpub).Did you experience any language or cultural difficulties at the host institution?At times there were issues where people couldn’t understand what I was saying (aussiemumble and talking to quickly), but if I slowed down, generally people understood what Isaid. Cultural differences were experienced on many occasions. Different meanings to wordsand different words for different things were found all the time.Do you think that going on exchange contributed to your academic development? If so, how?I think that it did. I found that by going on exchange I obtained a different perspective on myeducation. I actually seemed to work harder while away, but still managed to do everythingthat I wanted to. I developed a better understanding of various elements of planning, andexperienced a totally different planning system, which in turn helped aid my academicdevelopment
  • 4. PracticalAccommodationPlease describe the accommodation options available to exchange studentsAccommodation options for semester long exchanges are limited slightly. The universityresidences only accept year long students. But I stayed at a place called Neill-Wycik which isabout 2 minutes from Ryerson. Neill-Wycik is a bit old and some rooms (mine) are a littledilapidated, but it is a good place to stay as many exchange and international students livehere, as well as Canadian students. Other options would include renting a room, and in somecases a basement flat at peoples houses.At Neill-Wycik students cook for themselves, where as at the Ryerson residences you arerequired to buy a meal plan.How expensive were the accommodation options?Neill-Wycik appeared to be the cheapest at approximately $1800 Canadian for 4 months, inthe McGill wing (which has bigger rooms and 2 bathrooms, but is not ‘flashier’. I am not sureof the prices for rented rooms.What type of accommodation would you recommend?I would recommend accommodation that allows you to be mixed with all sorts of differentpeople. Neill-Wycik had a lot of exchange students and this was good as I got to meet peoplefrom all parts of the world experiencing the same things as me. As well as some Canadianstudents from surrounding areas and other provincesFoodDid you have self-catering facilities or were meals provided with your accommodation?I had to self cater for myselfWhat sort of food was available?There was a supermarket very close to Ryerson that offered all sorts of food. Also all sorts offood was available on campus and off campus. There are many restaurants in Toronto, andmost of which are not too expensive. There are also various fast-food outlets around.Was food expensive?Food from the supermarket was in comparison to Australia. Fruit and Veg were about thesame and meat prices were similar, but chicken seemed to be quite expensive. Most food from
  • 5. the supermarkets was prices similar to AustraliaWhere is the best place to shop?For food, I shopped at Dominion 24 hour supermarket and the process here weren’t too bad.But there is also another supermarket called no-frills and this is cheaper again. There are alsovarious different supermarkets available.How much does it cost to eat out at a local restaurant/café?Restaurant- approx $15-25 plus tax and tipCafé- approx 10-15/ plus tax and tipAll restaurants, bars, cafés and taxi’s expect tips. Generally you can tip the same amount asthe tax, which is added to the ticketed price and in Ontario this is 14%.TransportHow did you find the local transport network?The local transport network was great. The subway was quick, and cost $2.75 one way , alittle pricy, with no student fares.Was it expensive to use local transport?As said $2.75 unless you decide to buy a monthly pass where you can get student ratesDo you have any tips on types of tickets to buy?If you are going to be using the subway, buses and street cars (all part of the TTC) a monthlypass is probably a good way to go.Personal SafetyDid you find the city in which you stayed safe?Toronto seemed to be safe, but with any city I would not walk alone at night.
  • 6. Do you have any safety advice for other exchange students?Same as aboveEmploymentWere there opportunities for paid employment for exchange students? If yes, what sort ofwork was available?I did not try to find anySocialLife on ExchangeHow would you describe the way of life in your exchange destination?The way of life in Toronto was fairly fast paced. The people seemed to have many things todo, but it was still possible to relax in the city.Did you experience ‘culture shock’?Yes, I would say that I did experience ‘culture shock’Do you have any suggestions on how to cope with ‘culture shock’?Keep busy and make lots of friends, because in many cases other exchange students areexperiencing the same thing.What is the best way to meet people?Go to the organised events put on by the committee and seek to introduce yourself to asmany exchange/international and Canadian students as possible.Do you have any suggestions on what to do on the weekend?Look around the city, there is a lot there to see and do. Brewery tours are always goodbecause it is free beer and you will also see many sights of Toronto at the same time.
  • 7. TravelDid you travel before, after or during your exchange?I traveled to New York on the way. I also went to Quebec city, Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouverand Whistler whilst on exchange.Do you have any travel tips?Book early and get an ISIC card, because it will save you heaps of money.HighlightsBriefly describe the highlights of your exchange experienceMeeting new people from all over the world. Also traveling and experiencing a new way oflife. Making good Canadian friends to go back and visit. Snowboarding in Whistler.ProblemsBriefly describe any problems you experienced on exchange and any suggestions you mayhave to help others avoid them.You sometimes encounter problems where people will not understand you, so just talk slowlyand clearly.Other CommentsDo you have any further comments?Toronto was a great city with lots to do around university. Try to get a lot of things donewhilst the weather is still fine, as it may not be to appealing to go sight seeing when it isminus 5.
  • 8. Thank you for taking the time to share your exchange experiences in this report.Please save your report as a Word document and email a copy tostudent.exchange@unisa.edu.au.Date: 6 / 1 / 2007Name: Andrew Chown