#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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See #DiscoverDagoretti: RTA Community Engagement in Kenya (Part 2 of 3) and (Part 3 of 3) for more on this project!

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