Why I Chose To Go On An Exchange

I have never really travelled, especially alone. It wasn’t until this past September when I visited a friend in Halifax that I actually left my time zone. The idea of uprooting my life and moving across the world seemed like such an impossible feat. I came up with a million reasons why I shouldn't leave: Will I fall behind in my studies? Will I be able to afford it? Could I create a life in another country where I dont know a single soul? After talking to those who had did travel during university there was an overwhelming response saying that it was the best thing they ever did.

Ryerson is partnered with schools around the world and I started researching all of the schools that carried my program. I created a short list of schools in Australia. I submitted my application and the adventure began.

I am currently in my third year of studies at Ryerson School of Interior Design. When I first started school I thought that the classroom and my teachers would influence me the most but my greatest professor was the city itself. I moved to Toronto when I started school, I fell fast and hard for the city. To see the architecture I was taught in my lecutres was invaluable. Everyday I discovered something about my new home, from the unique style of the districts to the characters inhabitating them. Growing up in the suburbs it was so different to be in a place that celebrates art and culture. To see design first hand and explore it with so many opportunities such as Nut Blanche, IIDEX, Toronto Offsight Design Festival and Come Up To My Room. These city centred shows help develop me as a designer.

I have just arrived into Melbourne, where I will be studying and at the starting line for the greatest adventure. Melbourne has already taught me so much about urban planning, integrated city projects and architecture. This city is dripping with stunning structures and I am already bursting with ideas.

However, it wasn’t all butterflies and rainbows getting myself here. There were challenges that I had to overcome and still am. The preparation for leaving was like taking an extra course. I had due dates and a steep learning curve. Throughout the year I needed to figure out all that I needed to travel and then how to do it.

Ryerson is more of a vessel than a tour guide. They are there to help you out, however you are for the most part responsible for yourself. I needed to buy tickets, find housing and get a visa. That was unexpectedly stressful. Even the first couple days I had to figure out how to get a bank account, which Australian phone plan would meet my needs and where the closest grocery store is.

What this experience has so far made me feel is capable. As if I could pick up and move anytime in my life. I also feel like a bit of a nomad, I love telling people that I am a traveller. I am also in love with the Australian accent! Can I have one?

An exchange is learning outside of the classroom. Often times I feel like I complain why I didn’t learn how a mortgage works or how to make a budget in class. This experience feels like I am learning skills I could not other wise get from being in a classroom. I have already taken so much from this experience and I still have 5 months left.