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Thread: Exchange term abroad for planning student

  1. #1
    Cyburbian abrowne's avatar
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    Exchange term abroad for planning student

    I've been feeling the need to get out of Waterloo and explore a bit - so I've been tossing around the idea of an exchange term abroad at another University (ideally, this term would consist largely of studio urban design and arch courses).

    http://www.research.uwaterloo.ca/int...pline.asp?ID=5

    This URL is a list of universities that have existing agreements with my Faculty at the University of Waterloo, so if any names there in particular jump out, let me know (Royal Melbourne certainly impressed me from the brief look I had at its programs, and Oxford-Brookes looked interesting too). Otherwise feel free to suggest other institutions.

    Some background: I'm enrolled with the School of Planning of the Faculty of Environmental Studies. I like design and architecture but architects are as plentiful as lawyers and I don't really like the idea of earning an architecture degree only to design mundane tract homes. Not sure about the USA, but in Canada we just have a glut of architects lounging about. In any case, I'm specializing in Urban Design with my HBES at Waterloo (http://www.fes.uwaterloo.ca/planning...l#urbandesign). Electives I've enrolled in include classical literature, cognitive science, existentialist experience, amongst others. I'm looking into enrolling into a 6-hour per week fine arts studio drawing class for next term but it remains to be seen whether or not there is room.

  2. #2
    maudit anglais
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    I went to Waterloo (BES '96). Did the Oxford-Brookes exchange, which was fantastic - I would highly recommend it to you, if you can get on the list. Not so sure about the RMIT exchange - the people from my class who went had a fantastic time, but because it is such a long exchange they came back a bit "out of it" with respect to the SURP curriculum. Don't think any of them ended up in planning.

    As an aside, I'm not sure if maybe things have changed since my days at UW but I would strongly caution about the Urban Design focus - it's a great pursuit and a good skill to have, but I have found that in the "real world" out here, all the urban designers are architects. If they're trying to tell you that your BES will let you be an urban designer right out of school, they're misleading you.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian abrowne's avatar
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    The Oxford-Brookes exchange looks interesting, but weighing in at only 3-4 weeks it is simply too short. And a... questionable professor handles it. I've been considering Sheffield instead, as it seems a more attractive option from most angles. I'd prefer to have an exchange of my own rather than the "class-trip" type atmosphere of the Oxford-Brookes exchange.

    The School has never really represented to me that I would be an urban designer right out of school. I don't know how realistic it is, but I would prefer that over pure policy and whatnot. I think that many things can flow from it, and in terms of urban design there are far more facets than simply being the designer - many realities of social and community planning and policy can flow from a well thought out critique of what already exists. Given that starting point I see the skills as being essential for working on any OCP, really. From what I have seen in Vancouver the vast majority of people involved in design review and design of projects for both private and public sector are planners. There are four specializations that the School of Planning offers, and the two that interest me are Land Development Planning and Urban Design.

    As for RMIT, is it a year, or one term? How were they "out of it" as far as curriculum is concerned? Exchange terms are typically granted as equivalency for courses taught at home.

  4. #4
    maudit anglais
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    When I went, Oxford-Brookes was a six week exchange (still too short) worth a half credit I think. The RMIT exchange was long...a full academic year I think. What I meant by "out of it" was what they learned and we learned while they were away was not that compatible (even though they got equivalent credit). When they came back I think it was hard for them to get back into the SURP curriculum. Part of it could be that we were one of the first classes to go "high tech" (e.g. abandoning the leroy machine and letratone for AutoCAD and computurized mapping).

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