Getting Involved in the Exchange Community: Join RISExC!

RISExC is a student-run group that helps new Ryerson exchange students settle into life in Toronto. The committee is mostly made up of current Ryerson students who have previously participated in the exchange program. The group plans social events and sightseeing trips in Toronto.

Joining RISExC is not only a great way to become involved in exchange community, it is also an opportunity to draw on your lived experiences to help others feel more comfortable here in Toronto.

Join the RISExC Fall ’17 – Student Group Facebook page.

Interested in taking a leadership role on the committee?
Email us at rihelp@ryerson.ca with the subject line: RISExC Committee Fall’17  and join the RISExC Fall’17 – Organizer Facebook Page.

Are you or will you be a Ted Rogers School of Management (TRSM) student in the fall? Join the TRSM Exchange Buddy Program!

The TRSM Exchange Buddy Program is an initiative by the Ted Rogers Students’ Society (TRSS) that aims to provide incoming TRSM exchange students with the resources and support that they need to make the most out of their exchange experience.

In this program, incoming exchange students will be paired up with current TRSM students. Partners will act as ‘buddies’ throughout the exchange semester.

As a participant, you can attend social events organized by the TRSS for exchange students, and will be kept up-to-date with other events and activities held around campus.

Are you a TRSM student interested in becoming a buddy? Stay tuned! Sign-up forms will be sent out at the beginning of July via email.

Are you an incoming TRSM exchange student? Check your email and sign up now!

For more information, please contact TRSS Special Projects Manager at janica.portillas@trssociety.ca.

 

Thoughts from a mate in Australia

By Andrew Walls, Undergraduate student in the School of Business Management , Ted Rogers School of Management

With a worried look on his face, my younger brother said to me “Don’t get eaten by spiders”. He was worried the Goliath Bird Eater spider he’d seen in a “Deadliest Things” YouTube video would chomp me.

This sentiment entirely reflected people’s opinion of Australia after I told them about my upcoming exchange at Curtin University. They couldn’t understand why someone would risk their life like that. It seemed daft. As they saw it, Australia was home to the deadliest most poisonous things on Earth.

This ran through my mind as I hugged my family goodbye at Pearson’s departure gate. What was Australia actually like? On the one hand; it was this haven of beaches, beauty and excitement, on the other articles like “The 30 deadliest animals in Australia” existed. Does Canada even have 10 deadly animals – let alone a ranking system for them?

But deadliest everything or not, I was headed there for a semester studying abroad. With feelings as mixed as the many drinks I would soon be having, I boarded my plane and so began one of the best periods of my entire life.

Being not smart on a boat

___

A 45 hour jaunt across the world later I was stepping off a jumbo jet into the brightest sunshine I’d ever seen in my life. This was Perth, the capital city of Western Australia and the most isolated major city in the world. It was also 45° out. Coming from a brutal -15° snowstorm which nearly derailed my travel plans, the heat was sizzling. I casually mentioned that to another disembarking traveller and he threw back “Mate, this is a cool one.” I thought: “What have I gotten myself into?”

Fast forward a month and I was living the life. My roommates and I got along famously. I’d found some drinking buddies and lifelong friends to mess around with. My classes were engaging, and there was always something to do; surfing lessons, scuba diving, trips to one of the many world-renowned beaches. I was having the time of my life. This was the Australia I’d dreamed about!   

 

Scuba, Natural stuff

___

Along with all the fun stuff to do, there was still that feeling something was missing. It was the lifeline back home. That feeling of being grounded by friends and family. My mom was crucial in this fight against loneliness and I’m forever thankful for her being the amazing woman she is. Travelling alone is scary, and that every-few-days call home helped me to both develop a new appreciation for what I’d left behind and recenter myself in the incredible experience I was so lucky to be having.

This stability was absolutely necessary when I was accepted to work with Curtin Volunteers in the remote community of Laverton. I was to fly several hours into the red belt as part of a 5 person team to rendezvous with our program facilitator. We were working with a youth program for 5 days to engage local indigenous youth.

Wide shot of #selfies

___

Besides being one of the most challenging things I’ve done, this experience fundamentally changed me into a more compassionate, empathetic and kind person. For the rest of my life, I’ll have the memories of my wonderful teammates and young friends. It still makes me smile at a moments notice (like as I’m writing this).

A breathtaking trip to New Zealand and a bumbling 3000km road trip to the stunning Ningaloo reef later and I was heading home. Looking back on my experience I can’t understate how much happier I’ve become from having gone abroad. It wasn’t easy by any means, but it was beyond worthwhile. 

Two NZ landscapes/the Wanaka tree

___

Before you go money doesn’t seem like it’ll make sense. The overload of destination choices makes narrowing the list down to one seem impossible and terrifying. But finding the courage to push through those obstacles and embrace the experience has permanently changed my life for the better. It was only by leaving everything behind that I could really see how incredible my life was, and how lucky I am to have so many wonderful people around me. 

Thanks for having me Perth! I’ll miss you.

__________

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.

Six months in the New York Public Library’s Photography Department

By Cassandra Tavukciyan, Master’s Student in Photographic Preservation and Collections Management

Greetings from New York City! For the past five months, I have been completing an internship at the New York Public Library’s Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs. This internship is a residency requirement for my Master’s degree in Photographic Preservation and Collections Management at Ryerson. As an intern with a focus on photographic preservation, I have been able to gain hands-on training and experience in archiving and managing photographic collections of a major research library. Ryerson International and the RIWEF Award further assisted me in this pursuit with minimal amounts of financial constraint thus ensuring I complete my internship to a high standard.

The New York Public Library (NYPL) is a public library system in New York City. With nearly 53 million holdings, the NYPL is the fourth largest public library in the United States and the fourth largest in the world.  Established in 1895 with 88 branches and four research centers, the NYPL provides free and open access to a variety of materials including rare books, films, videos, maps and more.

The NYPL’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, widely known as the Main Branch, is the flagship building in the NYPL’s system and a prominent historic landmark in Midtown Manhattan, housing research collections in the humanities and social sciences as well as a circulating children’s collection. Located on 42nd and Fifth Avenue, the Library is surrounded by Bryant Park and in close proximity to the International Center of Photography School (ICP) and Grand Central Station.

My main responsibilities in the Photography Collection include assisting in research, supporting and enhancing cataloguing practices, managing the re-housing and organization of photographic collections and maintaining digital records through the library’s database. I have additionally supported staff in assisting and registering patrons with external research requests and appointments in the Prints and Photographs Study Room. The internship is additionally the basis of my thesis work in Ryerson’s MA Program, where I am researching cases of misattribution in the context of Ottoman-Armenian photography. Through these initiatives, I have achieved a high degree of fluency in navigating and organizing archival spaces and my thesis work has additionally attuned me to the particularities of specific objects and how they fit into archival collections.

In addition to the work experience and my thesis research, I am also taking advantage of being in one of the most diverse and exciting cities in the world.

During the evenings and weekends I’ve enjoyed participating in local cultural events, film screenings, and concerts and visiting the city’s incredible selection of cultural institutions such as the Morgan Library, the Met, The Brooklyn Museum, the Tenement Museum and much more.

I also had the opportunity to attend a conference in Watertown, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston where I got to meet and connect with individuals who share similar research interests with me. 

On the whole, my experience in New York City has been very valuable for both my academic and career goals. This wasn’t my first international placement, but it was certainly a memorable one. Living here for six months allowed me to become familiar with my surroundings and the institution.

While at times, living in this expensive and high energy city can be very stressful and challenging, I am confident that the skills I have acquired and the relationships I have formed with my colleagues will allow me to succeed in my future professional pursuits.

Planning for Exchange at Ryerson? Read this post for tips on finding short-term housing in Toronto

When planning for exchange at Ryerson University, finding appropriate living arrangements can often be a challenge. As you start your search, there are many factors to consider such as cost of living, location, rental agreements, etc.

Photo Credit: Vilja Keskimaki, 2016/2017 Ryerson Inbound Exchange Student

Below are some search avenues that may be helpful:

1. Student-residence building:​ There are 5 student housing buildings close to Ryerson campus that you may be interested in living in​, and may offer you a short-term lease along with basic furniture. As they are not owned or operated by Ryerson, you will need to do your research on them and contact them on your own. They are called: Neill-WycikCampus CommonTartu CollegeParkside Residence, and CampusOne.

2. Our partner Places4Students is an excellent resource, as property listings are posted regularly. You can use the Ryerson campus postal code to sign up for a Places4Students account: M5B 2K3.

Look for a sublet via Places4Students. A sublet is a short-term rental where you are renting from a tenant who is absent for a period of time (such as going on exchange themselves, or taking a co-op job in another city). Sublets are ideal because they are almost always furnished, and people looking to sublet out their unit may be willing to cover the cost of your internet or hydro bills in order to get their unit rented.

Look for a short-term lease via Places4Students. A short-term rental is simply a lease with a shorter duration than 12 months, where you are directly renting from a landlord.​​ Short-term rentals are not too common in Toronto (most Toronto leases are 1-year), but you may find some if you search a “room for rent in a shared house” or a furnished basement apartment

3. Our partner StayBillety is another great resource for short-term stays. We encourage you to check out StayBillety and use the code RAMS to book a short-term stay with a like-minded host. StayBillety operates similarly to AirBnB, but is dedicated to connecting guests with hosts who have shared interests, and you can book a longer-term stay than a typical weekend AirBnB booking.

4. You may also want to look at other websites such as Kijiji for postings. You can reduce the distance radius to 3km to find a place that is under 30 minutes walk to campus (1km = about 10 minutes walking).

We also suggest using Google Maps to check the distance of each apartment to campus. You can use the Ryerson Student Learning Centre as a reference point on campus, as your classes will be within a 5-minute walk of this building.

Prepare against scams

It is very important that you view a unit before agreeing to a lease. Housing scams are unfortunately common in large cities, and particularly at this time of year. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. We strongly encourage you to view any apartment before you sign a lease; make sure to google the address and landlord name to see if there are any reports of scams connected with either.

Landlords want to get their place rented—if they’re making excuses for why you can’t come see the unit, or are asking you to send money in advance, this is likely a scam. Remember: you should only ever pay money at the moment you are signing the lease. Toronto landlords cannot ask for a security/damage deposit; they can ask for first and last month’s rent, as well as a key deposit only in the amount it would cost to replace the key but you should only be paying this after you have seen the unit and are signing the lease.

This may mean you have to come to Toronto a week earlier and stay in a hotel or hostel (you can find one via this list of temporary accommodations), and attend viewings in person before agreeing to sign a lease.

For more information, we encourage you to read our Guide to Toronto Housing. You can also contact the Off-Campus Housing Office for more support.

To all Ryerson Students, if you or anyone you know has a room or apartment available for short-term rent/sub-lease starting in the late summer or early fall, please feel free to share the details with us at rihelp@ryerson.ca. We can then share the details with the incoming exchange students. 

Living the European dream: Life Abroad

By Serena Lalani, Undergraduate student in the School of Journalism, Faculty of Communication and Design

I’m not sure what day of the week it is as I’ve started to lose track, but what I can tell you is that I’m currently sipping rosé on the coast of Greece and life feels nothing short of a dream come true.

Santorini, Greece

Only 4 short months ago, my 3 suitcases and I were nervously boarding a plane from Toronto Pearson to Amsterdam Schipol.

Almost a year of preparation had led up to the moment of the take-off. It felt completely surreal to be moving to a new country, let alone a new continent. I knew from my first year at Ryerson that I wanted to take advantage of any abroad opportunities I possibly could and yet I had no idea what to expect from this semester. I had done months worth of research on absolutely everything. I felt extremely prepared to get my visa, register my new address, open a bank account, decorate my room, make international friends, plan weekend trips and have the time of my life.

I’ve spent the past few months studying at Hogeschool van Utrecht in the European Culture & Journalism program. The perks of my program here in Utrecht is that the class sizes are extremely small. This made making friends extremely easy as everyone got close right away. The friendships I’ve made at Hogeschool are ones that I know will last for life.  

Another great part of being on exchange is that there are tons of events formed by student networks to help you meet other people your age from all over the world. Any feeling of nervousness quickly diminishes when you realize just how many people are in the same boat as you are. Many of my best memories were made during nights out with new friends.

Living in a European city is probably the highlight of my entire life. Utrecht is exactly what I hoped it would be and so much more. There are cute cafés on every corner, endless amounts of boutiques, picturesque canals surrounded by hundreds of bicycles and friendly people.

Utrecht, Netherlands

The absolute best part about being on exchange in Europe is the ease of being able to travel to a new country almost every weekend. During the off-seasons, flying or taking trains to other European countries can cost as low as 20 euros. Of course, I took full advantage of this and jet-setted as much as I possibly could. I took trips to Germany, Italy, Denmark, Greece, Belgium, Portugal and Switzerland and crossed numerous things off my bucket list (the main one being Skydiving above the Swiss Alps).

Class trip to Berlin

Rome, Italy

Copenhagen, Denmark

Lisbon, Portugal

Interlaken, Switzerland

Traveling through Europe introduced me to countless people from cities I had never even heard of, gave me a fresh perspective, enriched my cultural experience and left me speechless.

If there’s one piece of advice I can give to Ryerson students it’s that opportunities are endless. Many of my friends that are currently abroad had no idea it was even an option for their program. If there is something that interests you in any way, reach out to faculty members and they will be more than happy to point you into the right direction or help guide you. Your university experience is what you make of it and I highly recommend making the most of anything that comes your way, especially if it involves going abroad.

If you ever find yourself on exchange in Europe, get ready for the adventure of a lifetime!

__________

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.