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Erin Bruce, Deakin Health, Medicine, Nursing and Behavioural Sciences student

York University, Canada

image of erin bruce

After spending five and a half months out of Australia and far away from home, I regularly look back on my 'big adventure' and marvel at the things that I have accomplished. At times I thought that even the process of planning an exchange to another country was too much and that perhaps exchange wasn't for me. I was wrong. Luckily I continued to plan, and took out the OS-HELP loan, rounded up support from my family, befriended the travel agents and within a couple of months I was packing my bags for Canada. Thanks to the opposite seasons, on the way to Toronto I was fortunate enough to visit Los Angeles and backpack around the Canadian Rockies during the northern hemisphere Summer.

When I arrived at my new home, York University, I was amazed to find that the campus was a city within itself. It had a shopping centre, football stadium, at least seven different 'colleges' with their own residence buildings, pub, and assembly halls and a huge sporting facility with a fitness centre, gymnasiums and a swimming pool. It was love at first sight.

One of my more serious worries had been about the classes themselves. I was so afraid that they would be totally different to what I was used to at Deakin, and in many ways they were, but that ended up being why I loved them so much. Going on exchange gave me the opportunity to experience learning in a different country, to see different relationships and expectations between students and professors, to attempt (and succeed at!) different forms of assessment and, best of all, to make life-long friends with students who shared my passion for psychology despite living so far away from me!

Going on exchange has turned out to be the biggest life-changing event that I have ever experienced. Not only did it allow me to see and take part in activities that are solely North American (such as Thanksgiving, Halloween, and living in the snow!), but it gave me the opportunity that I needed to grow and learn so much about myself. I now feel confident and capable of handling many more of life's problems and feel that I have a better understanding of how I cope and react to different situations. Without the exchange, I would not be the person that I am today.


image of erin bruce
Despite many memories, I still find it hard to grasp that I have lived on the other side of the world. I didn't just go to Canada on a fortnightly holiday; I lived and studied in Toronto for four months. I watched forests of trees change colour through the fall, walked to class in the snow, caught up with friends in New York and managed to pick up enough French to be able to successfully travel up to Montreal and Quebec City. Going on exchange was the best decision that I have ever made.

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20th March 2010