Exchange Report University of Calgary, Canada

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1 Exchange Report University of Calgary, Canada Ruby Lam, BBA (MGMT) Spring 2014 Exchange T h e w o r l d i s a b o o k a n d t h o s e w h o d o n o t t r a v e l r e a d o n l y o n e p a g e. - S t. A u g u s t i n e

2 Table of Contents Page Part I: Activity Log Part II: General Exchange Information Part III: Check List

3 Part I: Activity Log January, 2014 When I first arrived in Calgary, it is the middle of winter when was extremely cold. Everywhere was covered by snow. I moved in the residence with the help of my buddy from business school here. There was a gathering for international students before the start of semester. I met some other exchange students there, including those from Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia. As classes began, I often went shopping with my friends and cooked dinner together. Things got better once I got used to them. February, 2014 I celebrated Lunar New Year together with some Hong Kong students in Chinatown. I met some friends who also love snowboarding, so I went on a day trip with to Sunshine Ski Resort to spend a day snowboarding. We also joined the Banff tour organized by CISSA (Center of International Student and Study Abroad). Banff was a very beautiful town under Canadian Rockies. Apart from entertainment, I had to study for the midterms that mostly held before reading week. I had to finish some homework too. After all these, I went to Vancouver with my friends and spent a week there. March, 2014 March was the month of projects. There were many project meetings every week. Fortunately, all my group mates were very nice and friendly; we made a great team together. Moreover, I went to Canada Olympic Park to snowboard with my friends again. But I thought the park is just for beginners and the routes are just not that interesting and challenging. So we had a road trip again to Fernie, BC to snowboard again. We stayed there for one night before we came back to Calgary. It is very enjoyable and exciting to go on a ski trip with friends. 2

4 April, 2014 It was time to study. Exams were usually around the end of April. We did have a study break, but most of us went to visit other places near Calgary before the end of semester. I went to an outlet just out of town, where was a good place for shopping. I also went to Drumheller to see the fossil and museum with my friends. After finishing the exams, I went to Toronto and then spent one month to travel around the US. 3

5 Part II: General Exchange Information Visa Procedures If you hold a HKSAR passport like me, you do not need to apply for visa if you stay in Canada less than six months. For other passport holders, please refer to the immigration department of Canada. Orientation Activities CISSA is responsible for all the orientation activities. There was a gathering before the semester started. I suggest that everyone should go for it, because it is a very good opportunity for you to make some friends. There will be all the information needed for your stay. You just have to look for s as they will send out the details before you arrive. International Service & Activities CISSA also responsible for assisting international students and organizing tours to explore the city and beyond. Just stiop by the center if you have any questions, or sign up for their mail- list, and you will be able to get first hand news from them. Accommodations I stayed in on- campus residence. I chose Yamnuska Hall as it is only for Year 2 students. It is quite expensive but you have better environment, as it is the newest hall. The school is building two more residential halls, so maybe you will have more choices in the future. I suggested that you do not necessarily have to stay in Yam, just pick one that best fit your budget and preference. You can also rent room outside campus. Just ask CISSA for more information. Courses Registration In the application form of the university, there are spaces for you to fill in the courses that you wish to take during your exchange. For business courses, you 4

6 just have to meet the requirement of the course and they will automatically put you in. For non- business courses, you have to register by yourself just like me. The register system is exactly the same as that of HKUST, so I am sure you will be fine in using it. For your reference, I took MKTG 487 (Service Marketing), MKTG 483 (Consumer Behavior), POLI 381 (International Relations) and SOCI 201 (Intro to Sociology). Teaching & Assessment Methods The professors were really kind and willing to help. The teaching method is quite similar to that of HKUST, but even more straightforward I think. There were homework assignments, and sole and group projects. Midterms and finals mostly were MC and short answer questions. Sports & Recreation Facilities There were a swimming pool (indoor of course!), a gymnasium, an ice- skating rink, etc. Feel free to use them, as they were all located in the same building. There was also an outdoor center for ski gear rental. It is much cheaper than renting those at the resort by showing your student ID, but make sure you can bring them there. As I bring my own and just have to get a snowboard, so it is not that expensive for me than my friends who need full gear. Cost/Expenses It really depends on how you spend and where you go. I spent most of my money on traveling and snowboarding. I usually cooked with my friends, as it was quite economical to share the groceries. I think I spent around HKD80,000 for the whole four- month exchange. Social Clubs/Networking Opportunities There was club week in the second week of class. It was something like promotion period in HKUST. You can talk to the committee and decide which club you want to join. There was a Hong Kong Student Association, they organized activities that were really great. 5

7 Health & Safety It was really expensive to see a doctor here. So make sure you have health insurance with you. You can also bring your own medicine with you in case of some minor problems. It was very safe in Calgary. But I think you should take precaution anyway. Do not walk alone at night. You can call for safe walk in campus at night, the security department will send someone to accompany you back to residence. Beware of Thursday nights because it is their pub night, people get drunk and get crazy these days. Food I lived in Yamnuska Hall so it was compulsory for me to purchase food fund. It was like putting money into your student card and you can pay by electronic money. You can get refund from it at the end of your exchange. I suggested that you get the cheapest one because it is more than enough even it is the cheapest one. There were food stalls everywhere, but MacHall and the Dinning Center is the major spots for meals. Transportation It is quite easy to go to downtown, Chinatown and most of the malls. Calgary Transit provides bus as well as LRT services. You have to purchase an U- PASS for riding them, after you pay for it, you can ride for free for unlimited time. Climate It was very cold in January and February. There were snowstorms too. Temperature was around - 10 to - 20 degree, sometimes it might reach - 30 or even - 40 degrees. It was much warmer in March and April, around 10 to - 10 degrees. Communication English is the official language in Canada. Some people may speak both English and French. I have not met any communication problems since I arrived. However, you may need time to understand their jokes. 6

8 Cautionary Measures Bring coat that is water- proved and wind- proved. Dress in layers, otherwise you will be very hot inside buildings. Always aware of any kinds of warning issued by both the government and school about bad or extremely weather and follow their instructions. Other Notes If you wish to go to the US during your stay, remember to apply the US Visa BEFORE departure. As it will be extremely difficult to get an US Visa there. On the other hand, if you wish to try ski or snowboarding, remember to purchase an insurance that cover these activities because they are often categorized as extreme sports and normal travel insurance may not cover them. 7

9 Part III: Check List Things to Bring For a Wonderful Exchange in Calgary Sweaters Snow boots Water- proof and wind- proof coat/jacket Ski Gear and clothing (if you want to ski) Camera Laptop US Visa (If you wish to travel to the US) Credit cards Confirmation letter from U of C **If more information is needed, please feel free to get my contact from SBM Exchange Team by ing at 8

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