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Annelise Brear

SFU Student Undergraduate
Beedie School of Business › Finance
Study Abroad › Exchange

Experience Faculty
Learning in a different environment helped my personal and academic growth as I overcame new challenges and experiences.
Experience Details
Introduction + Preparation

I did a lot of research on accomadation, weather, banking, and the city. I tried not to plan too much and go with the flow once abroad. 

Previous Experience

This was my first time out of north America and my first time travelling alone! It was scary at first but so rewarding. 

Location Research

Reading past students surveys and researching exchange school cities helped me discover that Brisbane has the weather and lifestyle that I wanted to experience. 

Financial Preparation

I worked full time during the summer at a waitressing job and took less classes the semester prior to have more time to work and save up money. I budgeted my weekly expenses but made sure there was a lot of squeeze room for unexpected emergencies or trips. Mine and so many other abroad students I met had computers break and needed to buy new ones. 


Packing was stressful because Australia has reverse seasons from Canada, therefore determining what clothes to bring was confusing. I packed a lot, but I also bought more clothes and souvenirs here than I thought I would; I would suggest leaving room for buying items abroad. I would also suggest bringing bags for travelling while abroad because I ended up doing more travelling than I thought I would and had to buy bags for that. Also bring multiple ID's because some places do not accept some, and in case you lose one you will have backups.

Travel and Transportation

I flew through Auckland then to Brisbane but there are direct flights. Once I arrived at Brisbane International Airport I took a taxi to my accomodation, although the school did offer a free shuttle. I would arrange a shuttle pickup because you may also meet other international students on the shuttle. Getting around the city I relied mostly on public transit and occasionally Ubers or taxis. 

Preparation Tips for Future Students

Attend the pre-departure orientation and reach out to other students going to the same school as you! Also really do your research on your accomadation; this is a make or break for exchange!

During my Experience
Orientation and First Weeks

Orientation was mandatory although attendance was not taken. It was just a short talk and did not include any activities. The school had an orientation week that include lots of activities and was a good way to meet people. There was a Welcome party that was actually fun and I met lots of other international students.

Accommodation and Living

The only student housing options are off-campus. QUT website has insight to a few options. I lived in a shared student apartment that is in a student accomodation building called Student One that is a 10 minute walk to campus. I highly recommend staying in a shared apartment because it is how I met some amazing international friends whom I ended up travelling with. 

Day to Day

School was not demanding and allowed for lots of free time to explore the city and travel.

Learning and Adaptation

The lecture style was very comparable to SFU but all lectures are recorded and uploaded on Canvas. Class sizes are also comparable, although not many people attend lectures, only tutorials. Grading is slightly harder than SFU, given that assignments are more abstract and have less instruction than SFU. 

Accomplishments and Challenges

There were some stressful times that came with being so far away from home, but facetime calls really helped that. 

Cultural and Environmental Observations

Everyone I met was from around the world so there were a lot of cultural differences. I learned that all Australians love Canada and they all have been to or want to travel to Whistler! Many people assumed I was American when they first heard my accent, but were pleasantly surprised to hear I am Canadian. 

Social and Extracurricular Activities

I joined the QUT surf club to put myself out of my comfort zone and went on a surf trip with the club.

Wrap Up

The time goes by quick so try not to be homesick and live in the moment.

Reflection & Tips

I am overall so glad that I studied abroad and decided to study at QUT. QUT was in a great location because of the ease of travelling to other destinations and had hot and sunny weather almost everyday. Brisbane City is also very safe and new.

Most Valuable Aspects of This Experience

Meeting new people and challenging myself by putting myself in unfamiliar social and academic situations. 

Connection to Academic Studies or Career Goals

I took a variety of courses which helped me narrow down what field I want to major in. 

Advice for Future Students

Take this opportunity to challenge yourself and become who you have always dreamed of.