Differences in the education system

Lee shares with us her thoughts on the differences between the Australian and Canadian education systems!

Canada and Australia are quite similar; this means settling into Nipissing University was not too stressful as there were only a few differences in the education system here.  Just like at home, there are classes, lecturers, assignments and exams – all expectations that I have back in Australia.

If I was to be completely honest however, I personally found university in Canada MUCH harder than Australia but all worth it in the end. Here are the few differences I have noticed between university in Canada and Australia.

In Canada the workload is so high that very few people work during the semester, instead, working full-time in the summer break. This I found really odd because in Australia it is quite common for me and many of my friends to work over 20 hours a week during the semester. But this amount of hours would just not be at possible here in Canada. This is because students here do five subjects a semester instead of four. Also, in the nursing program (which I am a part of), students are required to work a hospital shift on Thursday and Fridays as well as go into the hospital on Wednesday night, gather all information on your assigned patient for those days and write up homework using this information – which takes approximately four hours. This on top of classes made us nursing students pretty busy (and maybe sometimes just a little bit stressed).

Don’t let this turn you off coming to Canada though, there is good news! The workload may be harder here but personally, I (and my roommate also from ACU – so it isn’t just me!), have found the marking not as tough here.

Classes between Canada and Australia are a little different also. At ACU, tutorials were a big part of university. Here at Nipissing tutorials do not exist but instead 3 hour lectures each class with discussion and sometimes even group work integrated in them. This meant my timetable wasn’t too intense – giving me overall only 11 hours of classes (if you don’t count placement), which gave me plenty of time to do the tourist activities.   At first I was worried the lack of tutorials in my timetable would affect my learning and would make it harder to get acquainted with my lecturers but due to Nipissing small class size and the amount of class discussion in the lectures, I was still able to participate and learn a lot in class and build a good relationship with the professors.

With only two exams left before I leave North Bay and Nipissing for good – I am now feeling well-adjusted to my new university and these differences.

I am really going to miss Nipissing, the lecturers, the big sense of community at the university and, the higher grades I’ve been getting while here!