Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the TRSM + RMIT Study Tour in Toronto

Every year since 2007, the Ted Rogers School of Management (TRSM) has hosted Australian students from RMIT University for a two week study tour. This summer, TRSM and RMIT celebrated the 10th anniversary of the tour, which also coincided with Canada 150!

The tour consisted of lectures, cultural visits, industry site tours, and presentations. Sandra Findlay, an RMIT master’s student in Business Administration reflected on her trip to Toronto:

“This was a once in a lifetime experience. The Ryerson study tour provided me with a unique opportunity to appreciate and evaluate relationships between global and Canadian businesses. The short term course allowed me to research a range of business topics to enhance my degree. Visiting businesses such as the Spirit of York Distillery and the Steam Whistle Brewery, as well as city green spaces including  the Evergreen Brick Works were experiences I never would have organized on my own.

What I liked most about the staff at TRSM was their passion for a diversity of topics relevant to learning. They motivated me to want to work to make a difference for people across many different cultures.”

Evergreen Brickworks

“Visiting and studying in Toronto to experience different teaching styles and ways of learning provided me with an international perspective on my studies and professional knowledge. It allowed me to gain insight into the practical challenges of working in global companies, to increase my professional networks, and to gain confidence in having the conversations that matter in business.”

Spirit of York Distillery, a place of innovation and education

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Jessica Michael, an RMIT master’s student in Information Management also reflected on the study tour:

“The opportunity to live on the Ryerson campus provided me with perspective into life as a North American college student that many of us had only dreamt of! The insight of the TRSM staff gave a truly global view to topics. The pairing of lectures with relevant field trips allowed us to see many of the practical implementations of the theories explored in class.

The friendly and welcoming nature of everyone we met allowed us to celebrate events such as Pride and Canada 150 as locals. The facilities of Ryerson University, and the unique positioning of the campus in downtown Toronto, meant we could experience the city in a way most Australian visitors never have the opportunity to.”

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Visit #Australia  for more on global learning opportunities linked to our partners Australia! 

Scarborough to Sweden – A semester abroad

By Varunan Muthiah, Undergraduate student in Business Technology Management, Ted Rogers School of Management

I remember seeing the posters for the Ryerson exchange program my first week of university. I thought it would be a great experience but didn’t think it would ever happen. Little did I know two years later I’d be on a plane to Sweden for 6 months. I didn’t know much about Sweden when applying but I knew it would be a place that would take me out of my comfort zone. This was going to be the first time I was away from family this long and living on my own. I was excited but also nervous. I had heard great things from a student who went there last year but I was still worried. I didn’t know anyone there and didn’t know if they’d have as many food options compared to Toronto. I knew it would be tough but I was determined to make the most of this experience.

The Jonkoping International Business School had set up a lot of events to show us around the city and events to meet a lot of the other exchange students. There were people from all over the world attending this university so I met a lot of people within the first week.

The university had made the first two weeks really exciting. I realized the majority of the exchange students were living in the same student accommodation as me. This meant I was less than a minute away from all my friends. It made going out super simple and everyone went out together. We had lots of parties and there was a student run club that everyone would go to every Wednesday. By the end of the first month everyone had already become friends and we were planning trips together.

The university also offered great trips to Finland and Norway. These trips were once in a lifetime opportunities. In Norway, I got to climb a glacier, kayak in an almost completely frozen lake and climb a small mountain.

Norway is one the most beautiful countries I’ve ever been to and I recommend everyone to go. During the trip to Finland I go to see the Northern lights, ride a reindeer pulled sleigh, go dogsledding, and even tried ice fishing. The experiences were unbelievable but it’s the people who I went with that made these trips so great.

When travelling with friends, you become close with people very quickly. Being in Europe meant flying to another country was super cheap. I flew roundtrip to Italy for $60. Denmark was also very close and I was able to take a train there and back for around $100. I’d suggest using the hopper app, or sky scanner where you can find flights as cheap as 10 euros roundtrip.

Travelling with your new friends is a big part of being on exchange. I suggest you take the opportunity to travel but you won’t always get the chance to meet people from all over the world. I recommend making a good group of friends before setting out on travels. Making international friends means even when you travel after the exchange you have people who will be your personal tour guides in their countries. I’ve been wanting to go back to Europe and travel more but I know it will pale in comparison to the times I had studying abroad.

Doing this exchange was the best decision I’ve ever made and I hope everyone can take advantage of this great opportunity.

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For more information on RI exchange opportunities visit our new website!
For tips and tricks on financial planning for exchange see our blog post!

#DiscoverDagoretti: RTA Community Engagement in Kenya (Part 2 of 3)

By Hannah White, Undergraduate student at the RTA School of Media, Faculty of Communication and Design

My name is Hannah White and I’m a 21 year old Ryerson student.  This past April I completed my third year in the RTA School of Media, majoring in Media Production and minoring in Business.

This past October, all RTA students received an e-mail about “RTA in Kenya” explaining that RTA would be offering an International Development course that winter, and as part of the course, the students would travel to Kenya and work alongside AMREF, a medical relief not-for profit organization.  Students would create content for AMREF Canada while overseas.  

Going to Kenya had been a dream of mine since the 5th grade, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to mix my interests and my education!

As a class, we decided we were going to do two separate projects for AMREF, one for each week of our trip. The first project we worked on was an Alternative Rites of Passage Documentary, shot two hours outside of Nairobi, in Magadi. We spent the second week at The Dagoretti Drop in Centre, right in Nairobi. This drop in center offered multiple activities for the children in the neighbourhood, ranging from arts to sports. It was here that each Ryerson student was responsible for creating their own 30 second video, that focused on a student and a skill that was offered at the center. This assignment included both filming and editing the video – #DiscoverDagoretti

My particular video is about a young boy named Henry. Henry is a natural athlete, who could always be found on the field playing football with all of his friends. Henry credits the development of much of his football skills to playing with the older boys at the center.

To hear more of Henry’s story, check out the video below!

Be sure to watch the other stories from Dagoretti as well, as each kid has their own unique one to share!

See #DiscoverDagoretti: RTA Community Engagement in Kenya (Part 1 of 3)

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To learn more about Ryerson’s partnership with Amref Health Africa, see “Kenya welcomes students for immersive education experience” in Ryerson Today

#LearningAbroad Photo Contest

Are you a Ryerson student with great photos from an international education experience?

Enter the Canadian Bureau for International Education‘s Annual Photo Contest for your chance to win $100! 

The deadline for submissions is October 2nd.

Photo credit: Sofia Puente
Location: Chile

Click here for contest details!

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My Australian Experience

By Erika Nonis, Undergraduate Student in the Creative Industries program, Faculty of Communication & Design

Feels like just yesterday I was just lugging my suitcases to the airport to begin the journey of a lifetime. The Ryerson International exchange program opened the opportunity for me to go to Brisbane, Australia. I found a student apartment with a 6-month lease, and spent an 2 extra months in Australia prior to the start of the semester. This allowed me to extend my experience in the amazing country and really immerse myself into the lifestyle and culture.

I am so grateful to have spent my exchange in Brisbane, as it is a big enough city to have plenty to see and do, but it is not overwhelming. The city is very new, clean and well designed. There are lots of restaurants, shops, museums and clubs. I stayed in the Iglu Student Accommodation in the heart of the city, which was great because I could walk everywhere. I was 5 minutes from the main mall, bus station and 5 minutes from the botanical gardens. While in Brisbane I attended Queensland University of Technology for the creative industries program. One of the big differences I noticed with the program is it was much better known. They had their own faculty, a wide selection of classes to chose from and people I met actually knew about the program. The professors were great, and the classes I took were not extremely challenging which allowed me to get high marks while being able to enjoy my time there. While at the university I became a global ambassador which allowed me to help out at the exchange office and promote Ryerson University to future exchange students. This was a great opportunity to be involved in the university community, while making friends and encouraging people to come visit Toronto.

Some of my favourite memories of Brisbane are in south bank at the urban beach, or in the valley which was the neighbourhood with an interesting nightlife. I also loved that all the museums were free and they had some great art museums.

Australia is one of the most beautiful and diverse countries I have ever been to as it ranges from beautiful beaches to deserts. I was very fortunate and was able to explore much of the country. I traveled to go to Sydney, Melbourne, Airlie Beach and the Outback. The best experience for me was being able to ride a camel at sunrise in the middle of the desert. It was such a surreal and different experience. I was also able to do a few road trips with friends I made and visited Byron Bay, Gold Coast, Noosa and Fraser Island. All of which were just a short drive away from Brisbane.

I was also very fortunate to have extra time prior to beginning school to visit New Zealand. I loved it so much I ended up going twice. The first time I did a Kiwi Experience bus tour of South Island, which was an incredible 17 day trip where I saw many cities and had many memorable experiences while travelling with people my age. I ended up meeting a great group of Canadian girls who stayed with me for most of the tour. The second time I went, I rented a car and drove around the North Island. North Island was beautiful as there is such an interesting culture and I learned so much about the Maori people. I also was able to have surreal experiences, such as skydiving, bungee jumping and shooting guns. New Zealand is the land of thrills, adventure and beautiful scenery and I loved every minute I spent there.

My exchange was a life changing experience and I miss it every day. I also miss all the friends I met along the way and I hope to cross paths with them again soon. I would recommend to everyone to jump on the chance if they can go, as it truly is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

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For more information on RI exchange opportunities visit our new website!

For tips and tricks on financial planning for exchange see our blog post!

Top 10 Must-See Places in HK

By Sierra Sun, Undergraduate student the Media Production Program at the RTA School of Media, Faculty of Communication and Design

*Sierra also won the 2017 RI Photo Contest with her photo “Temple Street Market”

Hey there, I’m Si and I just finished my international exchange in Hong Kong. I left the comfy routine of my 4 jobs behind and traded them in for a lot of first time adventures like travelling solo, res life and adapting to a new country.If you’re thinking of going abroad, go for it and don’t bail out. I know you’re probably thinking about it and I did too at first. But I am glad I didn’t because here are my top ten must-see places while in Hong Kong.

  1. Garden Hill
  2. Edward Youde Aviary Park
  3. Cape D’Aguilar
  4. Quarry Bay
  5. Tram in Central (Central At Night)
  6. Lai Tak Tsuen Estate
  7. Mum’s Not Home
  8. Sai Wan Swimming Shed
  9. PMQ
  10. Lion Rock Peak

I hope you get to make it out to at least one of these places, there is so much to see in Hong Kong but even more when you take the chance to travel during your time abroad. I don’t get very many pictures of myself, partly because I’m busy documenting everything else, but during my time abroad, I enjoyed trips to Ho Chi Minh, Tokyo, Seoul and Busan. These are truly once in a lifetime experiences and you will meet great people like you. So go ahead, make the most out of your experience abroad and push yourself to do things you’ve never done.

Music: Bensound

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For more information on RI exchange opportunities visit our new website!

For tips and tricks on financial planning for exchange see our blog post!

University Rover Challenge 2017: Ryerson Rams Robotics (R3) in Hanksville, Utah

By Michel Kiflen, R3 Science Lead, Undergraduate student in the Biomedical Science program

“Life, in it’s most fundamental sense, is a good design of polymers”, was how I started my 2017 University Rover Challenge (URC) presentation at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in Utah desert.

Backtrack to the middle of summer 2016, I received a recruitment email from the Ryerson Rams Robotics (R3), a group of engineering students interested in building a Mars rover for the submission to the international URC competition.

One of the main requirements for the rover was to extract and analyze a soil sample to give a strong argument for the evidence of life. As one of the Science Leads of R3, I was given the responsibility to work with other engineers on the team to solve this. It turned out to be a greater challenge that I anticipated, since the URC committee required the whole process to be done in 20 minutes. Nonetheless, our team developed new protocols and systems to combat this problem in under 5 minutes. As far as we know, no one in the scientific community has been able to do this using traditional methods.

After the rover and corresponding tests were complete, we flew to Salt Lake City, Utah and drove south to the MDRS, located in Hanksville, Utah. This region is one of the closest representations of the red planet. Reaching the MDRS is impossible without a vehicle. The entry is barred with many peaks and hills, with a single path intertwined between the terrain. It is easily one of the most remote, and extreme places I have visited.

There is no cellphone service for kilometres and the closest clinic is a 90-minute helicopter ride away. Temperatures reach upwards of 40 ºC, making everyone vulnerable to severe heat exposure.

Nevertheless, we setup our mobile lab in the back of our trucks, whether we were in the arid desert or in the parking lot of our hotel, continuously practicing and timing our tests days leading up to the competition…

 

“Life, in it’s most fundamental sense, is a good design of polymers.”

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            After a series of questions and comments from the judges, we scored 11th place, worldwide.

I believe our success at the URC was because all of us, engineers and science students, are truly passionate about the programs we are in. We received direction and advice from Ryerson faculty, and had a keen interest to apply our learnt skill sets from the classroom to applications such as programming, building, and experimenting. I anticipate extending my knowledge even further as I continue to grow and undertake more projects.

As we packed our Rover back to Ryerson University and conducted a postmortem of our scores, I looked back at how participating in a challenge this large affects one’s learning. I have a strong biological research background, however, I lacked dexterity in robotics almost entirely. Joining this team allowed everyone, including myself to work in an interdisciplinary manner where our strengths were amplified.

I learnt many engineering concepts such as in materials physics when the team researched different building materials for the Rover. Additionally, working on this Rover under R3 is the largest project and leadership role I have undertaken in terms of work output and number of collaborators.  I learned to keep a more rigorous calendar and schedule to ensure I was in sync with all four sub-teams under R3.

For my concluding remarks, I would like to mention that if you have the opportunity to participate in activities that come with huge challenges, you definitely should – you must.

The experience of meeting students outside my faculty, let alone students from universities all around the world, put common interests and central themes into perspective.

As for the URC, it is Mars and its eventual colonization. Mars is the future. My motivation to write an email to R3 was because I believe Mars is the next challenge that we need to tackle, and opportunities such as these contribute to the larger goal that is bigger than all of us. We should strive for boundless human endeavour. From the dawn of human existence ~300,000 years ago, there has always been an intrinsic feeling, a motivation to explore and a craving to seek beyond the horizon. It is this ‘essential instinctual element’ that allowed us to disperse out of Africa and later cross the Beringian land bridge. Mars’ mystery represents fascination, excitement, and incalculable opportunity that extends beyond anything anyone has done.

“Maybe it’s a little early. Maybe the time is not quite yet. But those other worlds promising untold opportunities — beckon. Silently, they orbit the Sun, waiting.”

– Carl Sagan

fin.

#DiscoverDagoretti: RTA Community Engagement in Kenya (Part 1 of 3)

By Hayley Graham, Undergraduate student at the RTA School of Media, Faculty of Communication and Design

I’ve always loved storytelling, whether it be listening to a story or telling one. So, when the opportunity to take the RTA International Development course to work on a storytelling project for Amref Health Africa came about, I couldn’t let it pass me by.

Along with 6 of my fellow classmates and our professor, Lori Beckstead, I travelled to Kenya for 2 weeks in February 2017 to film two projects.

During the first week, we travelled outside of Nairobi to Magadi to film a documentary about Amref’s project, Alternative Rites of Passage on the topic of female genital mutilation (FGM), also known as female genital circumcision.

For the second week, we travelled back to Nairobi to film a social media campaign on Amref’s Dagoretti Child in Need Project.

For the campaign, we filmed 30-second videos highlighting a child at the centre and the subject they are most passionate about. We had little teams of three filming, so the team I was in filmed a handful, but the video that became my baby, for a lack of a better term, was Sophia’s “I am an actor.”

 

 

For every video we wanted to find a child who could not only highlight a particular school subject, but also who represented what the Dagoretti Child in Need Project stood for.

For acting we chose Sophia, and she was great. She was the most hardworking child in the class, and took it very seriously. We spent half a day filming and interviewing her. When we got back to Toronto, it was our responsibility to edit the footage down to a 30-second video, and deliver a product that we were all proud of.

 

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To learn more about Ryerson’s partnership with Amref Health Africa, see “Kenya welcomes students for immersive education experience” in Ryerson Today.

Seeing life in a new light: Looking back on my exchange at Ryerson University

By Jade du Preez, Inbound Exchange Student from the Journalism program at Edinburgh Napier University

“Yeah, but why Canada?” This was probably the most commonly asked question from local Torontonians. They couldn’t understand why someone as well travelled as myself would spend four months in Canada, of all the countries I could have picked. And here’s why; Canada is the most beautiful and polite country I’ve ever visited. Never have I encountered nicer people in such a big city, and I’ve lived in a few cities!

I was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, but moved to the Highlands of Scotland when I was nine. Then I left to study Journalism at university in the capital, Edinburgh. After two years, I moved to Toronto as part of the Ryerson International exchange program – and I never met the person I exchanged with, but if they ever want to swap lives again, I’d happily accept. In fact, my parents just about had to drag me back home after a whirlwind four months at an amazing university, with amazing new friends. If I had it my way, we’d all stay in Toronto and never leave. I couldn’t understand why locals were so dumbfounded to find that I’d fallen head over heels in love with the city.

Toronto has everything you could possibly want as a student – the bright lights at night, the beautiful harbour, and the surrounding areas are amazing; Scarborough Bluffs are insane on a warm day.

People kept telling me that they’d love to leave Toronto behind and move to Edinburgh for a few months, even though they had what I viewed as literal paradise on their doorstep. This was madness to me. I couldn’t understand their confusion, just as they couldn’t believe mine. Then it struck me, the novelty of things wears off when you’ve been around them for too long. You forget the beauty and wonder of sights at home when you’ve walked passed them a million times, or how delicious things taste when you’ve eaten them once a week for your entire life.

I’d never looked at Edinburgh from a tourist’s perspective, because I wasn’t one, but when I had the excuse of acting like a tourist for four months, I realised how good it feels. I was witnessing and experiencing everything for the first time, and I was viscerally very aware of that. It was like every second spent with my new friends; eating, exploring, trying, it was all on a heightened level of happiness, as I totally immersed myself into Torontonian life.

I rode the TTC, ate Beavertails and shopped in Kensington Market, whereas at home I would take the Night Bus, eat Tunnock’s Teacakes and shop at the Grassmarket. I could do all of these things at home but it wasn’t the same; I had to learn how to see things like it was for the first time again.

 

Toronto showed me how to do that. I’d never experienced a baseball game in a stadium as amazing as the Rogers Centre, or eaten maple syrup that wasn’t a cheap exported knock off of the real deal, or walked for hours to get a great view of the skyline.

I still miss the reassuring sight of the CN Tower from my bedroom window, or the adventurous friends who were always up for a laugh, but I made more memories in the time I was in Toronto than I ever did when I was at home, so if anything, my exchange has taught me a true lesson. To value what is around me and never take for granted the place I live in, because there is always an adventure waiting for you around the corner, you just have to go looking for it.

Toronto awakened me to the fact that there is so much to see and do, no matter where you are. So, take that holiday and see the world, even if you don’t go very far, make sure you make the most of it and make all the memories you possibly can.

Moving to Toronto was the best thing I’ve ever done, and I’ve learned so many life lessons from it. It truly was a magical, beautiful and worthwhile trip. I can now understand people who aren’t content with where they live, but I can’t understand people who don’t go on exchange whilst they still can. It’ll change their lives.

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For more information on exchange opportunities at Ryerson, please visit: http://www.ryerson.ca/ri/

For tips and tricks on financial planning for exchange, click here.

Working Towards Achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals: Reflections on my AIESEC exchange in Taiwan

By Michael Pham, Undergraduate student in the School of Business Management, Ted Rogers School of Management and President of AIESEC Ryerson

Note from the Editor: AIESEC is the world’s largest non-profit youth-run organization. It helps develop global-minded leaders by sending students and graduates abroad through its global volunteer, talent and entrepreneurship programs. Michael Pham participated in AIESEC’s Global Volunteer exchange program, which focuses on achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. 

I chose to go abroad because I feel strongly that in the landscape of today, the key to leadership is to understand the world around you.

My entire world has always been the city I live and study in. Before participating in AIESEC’s exchange program, I knew that I wanted to challenge myself.

I once heard a quote saying that you only grow as a person when you are uncomfortable and I knew that I was too comfortable in my city, in my bubble. I wanted to learn how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Having never been outside Canada before this exchange, my view on the world was solely from the Canadian perspective. At that point in my life, I hadn’t even been to every province in Canada, so for my first international experience, I thought why not go directly to the other side of the world – and so I chose Taiwan.

I chose to do AIESEC’s Global Volunteer exchange program, where I would volunteer for 6 weeks at an elementary school called Nan’an, located just north of Kaohsiung City in Taiwan. I taught English and created structured lesson plans for topics based on Diversity, Cross-Cultural Sharing, and Climate Change. My exchange focused on working towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, Quality Education (SDG #4) and Climate Action (SDG #13). I was able to not only be a teacher to the students at the school, but I was a student myself learning from the culture of Taiwan. I was able to take part in religious and traditional celebrations at school.

My favourite part of my exchange was the entire experience of course! The food was so cheap and delicious, and the sights were beautiful and surreal.

It is so hard to narrow it down to what I liked most, but I think it would be the people that I met on the exchange. Every person who I met has made a lifelong impact on me and I was able to develop bonds that I will have for life. My host families, my students, the teachers, the fellow exchange participants, and the friends, as well as fellow AIESECers who I met abroad are all people who I will always remember. Even after the exchange, we still stay in contact, sharing daily slices of our lives, even though we are on the opposite sides of the world.

I think the beauty of an AIESEC exchange is that the experience doesn’t end after your exchange. If I could give any tip to someone considering an exchange, it would be to always keep an open mind.

There will be ups and downs, and challenges. The exchange is meant for you to discover yourself and unlock your leadership potential through cross cultural understanding. It isn’t just a vacation, although sometimes it feels like one. Be willing to accept the fact that you will only grow by feeling uncomfortable.

A final tip I would say is go somewhere you never imagined yourself going to because you’ll find yourself wanting to go back immediately once you leave.