Hi, my name is Katelyn and I have been in Canada for the last month, studying at the University of Waterloo (UW) in Ontario. I am currently studying the Bachelor of Science (Psychology) at ANU. I just wanted to let you know some similarities and differences between UW and ANU, program wise and generally.

In my courses at the UW, I only have lectures to attend and there are no tutorials/labs; this may be because the courses I am currently studying fall under the umbrella of the art faculty at UW whereas some of my courses qualify as science courses at ANU. Due to this lack of tutorials/labs, I have just under 3 hours of lectures per course a week. I feel as though the required readings are slightly longer here, or this could be because I am taking five courses opposed to my regular four. Also, the timetable structure is slightly different here; three of my courses are divided into two lectures a week either on Mondays and Wednesdays or Tuesdays and Thursdays, meaning that half the time there is only one day between the last lecture and the next one. Like ANU there are large lecture theatres for courses with many students and a smaller one for smaller cohorts, here my lectures range from 200+ students to around 30 students. I find these smaller lectures interesting, as I am used to having at least 50 other students participating in the courses I am taking. I have also found that there are more questions asked by students during lectures and more invitations for students to state their opinion or formulate an argument on the topic been discussed. I think this may be due to the lack of tutorials/labs. Another difference that I have found is the ability to gain extra credit. As a psychology student I used to having research participation as a part of my assessment, but at UW for two of my psychology courses I can gain up to four extra marks for the semester if I participate in research.

Lecturers/professors at UW (and most other universities in Canada) are not required to post their lecture slides on to the university’s online course program, though some choose to before or after the lecture. Unlike ANU, lectures are not recorded, which makes students presence at lectures imperative, and due to this, I have not seen the usual decrease in individuals attending lectures in person that I am accustomed to at home.

On campus you can get a meal for $3-$20 CAD depending on where you go. The cheaper options are places such as Subway and Tim Hortons. There are cafeteria-style eateries attached to some of the on-campus accommodation options; here you can buy pizza, burgers, sandwiches, create a salad, or indulge in the buffet offerings of the day. I typically spend $10-$15 CAD depending on which option I choose to have that day. Students can purchase a meal plan, which can add a discount of 12-18% off meals. And if you want a coffee on campus you can go to Tim Hortons and get a coffee for less than $2 CAD or go to Starbucks and spend closer to $4-$5 CAD, I usaully go for a nice hot chocolate which sits in a price range similar to that of the coffee prices previously mentioned.

The buildings here are gorgeous, with a mixture of new and innovative architecture and older style buildings. I love the look of old-style brick buildings, which there are plenty of to admire on campus. Some buildings are confusing at first, but maps are posted on the walls to help individuals who are lost find their way. The university in terms of its use of space is like ANU, having a lot of green space and gorgeous trees that are being to lose their leaves and make it feel like it is Autumn. Due to this there is a lot of wildlife on campus, primarily been squirrels, geese, and groundhogs.

When looking at what courses I wanted to enrol in at UW, I made a list of around eight courses that interested me. Two of these courses changed to no longer been offered during this semester and there was a time conflict between the lecture times of two courses I was interested in taking. But overall, I was able to get into five courses, that were high on my list into comparison to those that were no longer on offer or didn’t work with my schedule.

I believe any review of a North American university would be incomplete without looking into the university and sporting culture. I think it also needs to be said that there is a large sense of university pride on campus; with many students walking around in university swag and the incredible amount of university spirit that I have seen at sporting events. I have been to varsity soccer, rugby, football, and hockey games; and at each, I have seen a sea of black and gold, cheerleaders leading the crowd in chants, and the large number of alumni that attend these events.