Andrew Letton

from Australia National University

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The teachers and staff at Dal genuinely care about you as a person and you’re not just another number - they’re always available for support when you need it.

What is the best piece of advice you have for living in Halifax?
Just get out there! I’ve lost count of the number of friends I’ve met by just leaving my residence door open or chatting to the person next to me in a class. You’re only here for a brief period so make the most of every day you have.

Is it easy to travel in Canada?
Incredibly! Both trains and airlines serve Halifax very well, so you’re always able to head over to Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto or even New York and Boston for a weekend. Travel isn’t too expensive if booked in advance. Make sure you plan your travels around your assignments – don’t make the mistake of trying to do it the other way around!    

Is it really that cold/snowy/wet in Halifax?
I’d say yes, but it’s probably changed by the time that I finish writing this sentence. Halifax’s weather is notoriously unpredictable which can make for interesting commutes some mornings or better yet – a Snow Day!

I’m so thankful I packed my… 
Nothing. Honestly, I wish I packed half the things that I did. You really don’t need all the stuff from home and you can get an entire wardrobe from Value Village (this thrift store will change your life) for much less than you think.

Also, things are much cheaper in Canada in general than at home so it’s easier just to buy it here and not worry about taking everything with you.           

Is the course load very different than home?
Very much so. Lectures aren’t recorded here and attendance is compulsory (yes, they check) and tutorials aren’t really a thing for the most part. I found that whilst there’s at least double the number of assessment items as at home, the intensity and size of the assessment is generally much smaller.   

Favorite part of going to Dalhousie?
A combination of the people, the classes that I’m taking and the city that is Halifax. There’s always a lot happening on campus and around so you’re never bored.    

The things you MUST see/do when living in Halifax?
Mary’s Place II Café, Point Pleasant Park, ski trips to Martock and Wentworth, Humble Pie Pie Shop in Dartmouth and of course, the many stunning hikes and walks that are accessible by public transit.    

Favorite thing about Halifax?
It’s a city that I can see myself living in indefinitely. It’s got the diversity and benefits of a major international hub, yet the charm and niceties of somewhere much smaller. There’s a thriving redevelopment currently occurring in the city and it’s pretty cool to be here whilst it’s happening – you’re a part of the change and development of the new Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM).    

How has studying abroad changed you?
Studying overseas was a big decision for me as I was working full-time at home and had everything else pretty much ‘sorted out’. Exchange has helped me revaluate both the direction of my studies and what’s important to me.

Also, proving to myself that I can move across the world and start a new life all by myself is also really pleasing—an idea that forever seemed daunting and impossible.

Why would you recommend going on exchange – to Dal specifically?
The teachers and staff at Dal genuinely care about you as a person and you’re not just another number - they’re always available for support when you need it.

Halifax and Nova Scotia have some of the most beautiful scenery in Canada in every season. Whether it’s kayaking in the summer or a ski trip in winter, nothing is more than an hour’s drive. Also, the proximity to the United States and Europe mean you can head out of the city for a long weekend with ease.

As someone who was initially undecided about exchange, I can honestly say that it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. Not even in a ‘soul searching’ sense, but just to give you some perspective about what else is out there in the world! By choosing Dal, you’re not just choosing a university, but a culture, a lifestyle and friends in one of the best places on earth.