MacBook Air with a picture of the UWA building on the screen

Why I decided to do a Virtual Exchange

As I am in the Co-op Management & International Business program at U of T, I have a program requirement to do an exchange term. Due to the current pandemic and travel bans, they provided us with an exception to graduate without doing the exchange. However, when I came to learn about the different virtual exchange opportunities offered by certain U of T partner institutions, I was super excited to participate in it. Keep reading to find out why!

Firstly, I thought about getting the chance to develop my global awareness. I was interested to see how other parts of the world were coping with this pandemic in real time. I wanted to learn about global issues and gain some perspective. I knew that I'd get the chance to experience a new culture and meet new people. I’d also be able to see how U of T differs from other universities worldwide.

I also thought that it would be really cool to take different courses offered at a U of T partner institution. When I looked into the University of Western Australia’s (UWA) course catalogue, I was able to find so many interesting courses which I’d never seen at U of T! As you can see below, there is a course about time travel - how cool is that?!

Screenshot from laptop screen of interesting courses at the University of Western Australia
So many interesting courses at UWA!

Besides just taking courses, I also thought that this would be a great opportunity to learn about the educational environment of another continent, in case I would ever consider pursuing higher education there.

I always wanted to visit Australia and I thought that this would be a great opportunity to engage with people there and hear about their lifestyle. I’d be able to get tips on where to visit and how to get around the cities, and basically preplan an entire trip that I’d be able to take later on!

Screenshot from laptop screen of top sights in Perth, Australia
Noting down the top sights in Perth!

Another great reason for doing a virtual exchange is that it is an unique experience that not many students have done so far. I mean, how many people could say that they did a virtual exchange at the University of Western Australia during COVID times? It's an awesome experience and discussion topic to share with others!

Lastly, I thought to myself: “I am going to be studying online at U of T anyway, so why not study online at a different university?” I needed to take some language credits and electives anyway and I would be paying the same tuition amount to U of T, so it totally made sense for me to try this arrangement out. It’s basically a cheaper alternative to doing a Study Abroad and I can assure you it has its perks.

All in all, I am so happy I ended up doing a virtual exchange. My experience so far has been nothing short of fantastic and I am really enjoying all of my classes. I've been able to meet so many new people during my online classes and learn new things about Australia which will definitely help me when I go visit there!

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