Eva, from Italy, studies Civil Engineering in the school of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society. She is based in the Edinburgh Campus and travelled to University of Calgary in Canada for a year as part of the exchange programme.
How did studying in Canada differ from studying in the UK?
The education system is very similar. Both universities focus on teaching students in laboratories, via assignments, quizzes and tests. Both universities have an excellent programme for Civil Engineering.
How did the culture differ in your exchange country?
Coming from Italy I have already experienced a change of culture when I moved to the UK. I found the Canadian culture quite different from my original culture but not very different from the UK. The education system is also very similar; the food is slightly different as every country has their traditional foods; people are very friendly and polite. The only thing that's very different is the weather; Calgary can reach -30 degrees in winter.
What were the highlights from your global student experience?
Some of my highlights are meeting other international students from different countries; discovering and learning from the local culture and traditions; learning from different courses that are not available at Heriot-Watt; engaging in plenty of snow-activities; travelling around the country; and learning about the aboriginal population living in Canada.
Was there anything that you found challenging about studying in your exchange country?
I've found the most challenging part the number of courses that need to be taken at the University of Calgary to meet the Heriot-Watt requirements: five courses instead of four. The level of difficulty of the courses however is pretty much the same but the fifth extra course just means less time for yourself, less time to discover the country and a little more stress during classes and exams.
What advice would you give other students thinking of taking part in Heriot-Watt's Global Student Programme?
I would advise to plan ahead, estimate the budget that you would need before travelling, and to prepare all the travel documents. While you're there make lots of friends and don't be shy. This makes a difference; life is so much easier and enjoyable. Also, travel around the country if you get the chance.