Exchange story - Hubert Dao
Hubert Dao is our Bachelor of Engineering in Civil and Environmental Engineering student
I went on exchange to Iowa State University in the United States during the second semester of 2014.
The courses I was able to match overseas were Engineering Practice, Structural Design, a general education and a professional elective. As I was in my fourth year of a five year degree, it was difficult trying to find universities which offered all the courses I required. I would recommend anyone to save as many as possible general education and professional electives for exchange. I was lucky enough to match Structural Design with two courses (Reinforced Concrete Design and Structural Steel Design). Imperial units were not a problem for me because it is really easy to pick up after a couple of weeks.
Although I did not know much about Iowa State University prior to going there, I was excited to go to a college town and experience a different culture. Universities in the United States are proud of their sports, especially American Football. Everyone who goes on exchange in the US should attend a football game and experience tailgating.
There were many great things that I learnt on exchange and I was surprised to learn how different the culture was in the Midwestern United States. The highlights of my exchange experience was travelling before and after my semester abroad, living away from home and making new friends. Living abroad is a once in a lifetime opportunity because you do not have to worry about work, getting excellent marks that affect your WAM or your thesis.
The biggest challenge while I was on exchange was that I had to make an effort to make new friends because I did not know anyone at Iowa State University. On the first day of my arrival at the university, I was lucky enough to make friends with a few international students. The university also organises an orientation day that allows all exchange students to meet each other.
I would recommend exchange to everyone. It is a worthwhile experience where you will learn about yourself and make new friends from all across the world. There will be opportunities to travel with people who want to learn from different cultures and have new experiences.