Setting goals to make the most of time on exchange at Queen’s

How exchange students balance study and play

Hinano Kobayashi is excited to study in Kingston.

On Sept. 1, following a tedious 24-hour journey from Narita Airport in my native Japan, I finally arrived at Queen’s to begin my semester as an exchange student.

Moving overseas by myself to live as an exchange student in Canada was a mind-blowing, massive lifestyle change.  

I packed everything I had into a backpack and suitcase, and said goodbye to my daily life to begin this international adventure. 

When I arrived in Kingston, I was full of anxiety and excitement. In the three weeks since I’ve been here, I’ve had a hard time balancing work and play, as well as adjusting to an unfamiliar environment and culture. 

I came up with a list of goals I’d like to achieve while I’m at Queen’s. These objectives will hopefully help me achieve a better balance for everything I want to do and give fellow exchange students an idea of how to make the most of their time in Kingston.

Meet new people with different backgrounds

One of the advantages of studying on Queen’s campus is the chance to meet new people from all over the world. There are more than 1,300 international students and 600 exchange students who come to campus ever year. 

The Exchange Buddies program connects full-time Queen’s students to international students. Personally, I’ve noticed it’s not easy to become friends with full-time students unless you join clubs or go to events. 

Exchange Buddies is a perfect opportunity for students to broaden their horizons and learn about new perspectives.

Stay fit and healthy with sports

As is often the case with incoming international students, I was amazed by the size of Queen’s campus and its wide variety of facilities. Everything in Canada seems bigger than the equivalents in my home country—a point that came up a lot with fellow exchange students during Orientation Week. 

The drinks here are bigger, foods have larger portions, and even ice cream scoops are fuller. To cope with this increased intake, I wish to maintain my health by going to the gym,  swimming or joining classes and sport clubs at the ARC. 

Create academic objectives

There are many events and fun activities at Queen’s, but it’s important to try not to forget about studying. 

No matter what the subject matter is, it always helps me to set casual study goals so I consistently become more comfortable with course material. I’m taking a few courses about Indigenous languages, cultures and peoples this year. A goal of mine is to read three novels written by Indigenous authors by the end of the fall term. 

Take advantage of campus safety

I used Walkhome the day after I was introduced to the service during the New, Exchange, Worldly, Transfer Students (NEWTS) Orientation, and I already can’t recommend it enough. 

Since I was in a new place, I felt really scared and helpless on my way home at night, even though I was walking with a friend.

I called Walkhome and they came about ten minutes later. I enjoyed conversing with them as they walked me to my door, and I’m thankful a useful and important service like this is so easily available.


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