I’m spending the fall term of my second year on exchange in Sydney and, to be perfectly honest, I was not sure if this was the right decision to make. I had no doubt that being in Australia would be a good decision and that I would learn a lot from my exchange experience. Rather, what I was worried about was missing a term at Tuck—missing nine weeks (ten if you include the recruiting break in mid-October) on campus, hanging out with my classmates, and meeting the new first years. I had such a great time in my first year that this consideration truly gave me pause.
Nonetheless, I took the plunge, knowing that I’d regret not doing an exchange more than I’d regret not being in Hanover for the fall (though missing the fall foliage amongst the verdant flora here in Sydney has been a shock). And it turns out to have been a great decision. I’ve kept in touch with classmates through Facebook (we have a class Facebook group that certain classmates are very active in) and e-mail. Our campus-wide IM client still works halfway around the world, and I recently participated in a video conference with my fellow Judicial Board members (it was a routine meeting, in case you’re wondering). Do I feel 100% abreast with what’s going on at Tuck? No, but I feel reasonably close. I did a practice case with a classmate preparing for fall recruiting and have reviewed resumes and cover letters for T’15s.
I honestly hadn’t given much thought to how the internet truly brings people together, but, using Tuck’s IM program (Microsoft Lync) to chat with classmates half a world away has been a treat! I feel more connected than I thought I’d be, and that’s made this exchange experience all the more rewarding. So, if you’re thinking about coming to Tuck and going to one of our 18 exchange schools (it’s also possible to go to another school if you’re interested—I briefly explored going on exchange in New Zealand), I encourage you to take the plunge! It’s an experience you won’t forget.
Speaking of the exchange program, it’s been a fantastic experience. Much like my classmates back at Tuck, I’ve been able to arrange my schedule based on my priorities; for this experience, my priority is to travel around Australia and experience as much of it as I can. As a result, I’ve concentrated my classes onto Mondays and Tuesdays, giving me five days to explore this amazing continent. From spending four days in the “red center” (mostly a desert made of brilliantly red sandstone crystals) to driving around Tasmania and exploring South Australia’s mountains and vineyards, I have used this exchange as a platform to explore, both as a tourist and as a student of business. While ascending Australia’s tallest mountain wasn’t as much of a challenge as it sounds (the first leg involved a ski lift), it’s given me a great perspective of this country and how unique it really is.
The exchange has also helped me understand a true advantage of Tuck’s curriculum: the mini courses. I don’t pretend to have studied in detail how other business schools structure their courses, so it could be that this is quite common at most schools; all I know is that Tuck offers half-term-length classes (called mini’s) and my exchange institution does not. These minis are great opportunities to cover a topic that is relevant to business but not deserving of a full-term class. Most of the electives I’ve taken are minis, and I think it’s a great way to expand your horizon. I’m taking three full-term courses here, and registering for winter courses at Tuck reminded me of how valuable the minis are and what a great opportunity they provide.
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