This piece is part of a new segment through the International Centre and Dal Student Life profiling Dalhousie students who have gone abroad. Interested in going on exchange? Visit dal.ca/exchange and check out Carly’s story right here!
Carly Ristow is a geology major at Dalhousie and spent her fall 2016 semester at the University of Western Australia. For her, the importance of balance was key to making her semester work especially while juggling work, school, friends, and staying fit. We caught up with Carly to learn more about her experience.
Exchanging her perspective
“At first, I went to Australia thinking that it would just be a replacement for a semester at home,” Carly explains. “It ended up working out that my courses would only count as electives so I will need to do an extra year upon my return home.”
Carly was discouraged at first, but by the end of her exchange she viewed her education differently. “I realized I was able to learn about geology in a whole new perspective,” Carly says. “I took classes that weren’t offered at Dal and I experienced field work in the outback, which I think will be very helpful when applying for jobs one day. The amount of time I spend doing my undergrad isn’t what matters to me anymore. I would rather take a little longer but have a more enriching experience.”
Advice for future students
Carly’s ability to adapt to her new environment served her well for her exchange. She advises Dal students heading abroad to give themselves time to adapt to their new surroundings, especially in an academic setting. “It’s a totally different system so it’s okay if you’re not doing well in your courses right from the beginning,” She says. “But it’s important to get to know your teachers. Most of the time they are more than willing to help you out if you’re finding it difficult.”
While academics are a crucial component of an exchange, there’s more to an exchange than just going to class. “I wish that someone had told me to get more out of the experience than just going to school,” Carly says. “I wish I had attended a few more social events.” Carly’s advises other Dal exchange students to get involved abroad, “Try as much as you can. Join clubs or sports teams, go on camping trips. Find ways to meet and interact with other people.”
For Carly, going on an experience has changed how she views herself and the world. “Going on an exchange gives you a difference perspective on everything,” Carly explains. Not only does she view her studies differently, but Carly has a new outlook on her lifestyle and her dreams for the future. For more information about the exchange profile series or for Dal exchanges, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the International Centre website or the Student Mobility site for the AC.
Delainey wishes she was in Australia.