*The contest is open to all 2016/2017 participants of the Ryerson International Exchange Program, 2016/2017 recipients of RIWEF and ICRSF, as well as students who have participated in academic placements and internships.
To enter the contest, please follow the instructions below.
Select 1-3 photos from your international learning experience and write a caption for each. We encourage photos of your global learning experience, as well as landscape and architectural photos.
Write a short description (approximately 100-200 words) about a memorable experience from your time abroad.
Send photo(s) with captions and write up to firstname.lastname@example.org by MONDAY APRIL 24th, 2017 with the subject line: Photo Contest 2017.
The winner will be announced on MONDAY MAY 8th, 2017!
The winner will receive a prize, and their photos will be featured on this blog.
By Lauren Gellatly, Undergraduate Student in the RTA Production Program, Faculty of Communication and Design
Did you know that, in England, you have to pull the door handle up before you can lock it? My awesome fellow Canadian housemate and I did not. We tried for half an hour to lock our door and, when we gave up, we locked it from the inside and broke out of our own backyard like any intelligent, resourceful, and independent young women would do when faced with this problem.
I didn’t find there was a lot more than this level of culture shock in England. As a people, they’re pretty similar to us – a little more sarcastic and way cooler in terms of accents, but they also say sorry excessively and love talking about the weather.
I had been dreaming of going on an exchange for a very long time – since I was thirteen. I started putting away my babysitting money for my big trip around the world. I was going to live in a new place I’d never been to before. I was going to see famous places and eat lots of delicious food. I worked non-stop and saved as much as I could to go. As I got older, and started looking at universities, I highlighted three things in each university’s booklet – what program they had, what scholarships I could get, and where I could go on exchange.
Waiting at the airport felt surreal. The thing I had been dreaming about for years was finally happening! I’ll admit I was a bit nervous in the weeks leading up to leaving. Was I really not going to see my family or sleep in my own bed for months? But the loudest voice in my head was my thirteen-year-old self telling me to go for it.
And she was right. My six months in England were the best six months of my life. It was everything I ever dreamed of and more. Looking back on it, there was one small period where I was a little stressed – but not once did I wish I was home. I know that I am the luckiest person in the world to have had this experience. I got to visit nine different countries with both new friends and old. I lived in a place I’d never been to before, and it felt like a second home in a very short time. I saw famous places and not-so-famous places, and was blown away by both. I ate so much good food, especially in places like France, Italy, and Spain, I thought I’d have to be rolled onto the plane home.
My advice to anyone who is just starting their exchange, or who is going next semester – remember to make the most out of your experience, whatever that means for you. Make friends from around the world, including your host country. TRAVEL, especially if you’re in Europe. Their discount airlines will become your favourite guilty pleasure websites. You’ve gone this far, so see all of the places you want to see! Don’t fail, and don’t waste your learning experience at a new school. But, don’t bury yourself in schoolwork and forget to experience your exchange.
And, if you’re in England, don’t forget about those doorknobs – pull up, then lock.
By Sofia Puente-Duran, PhD student in the Psychology Program
My international practicum placement was set in Chile, a country defined by its 4,300-kilometre range of landscapes, spanning from the northern Atacama Desert to the southern Antarctic land. While living in Santiago, I worked in the Department of Psychology at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile (Measurement Center, MIDE) – a department responsible for large-scale evaluation programs, which work toward the investigation and improvement of the Chilean Education System at a national level.
Undertaking this placement in Chile – with the support from the RIWEF Award – was fundamental in my growth and development as an academic, researcher, and individual. It afforded me the opportunity to gain an invaluable international experience while working and collaborating within a different institution, cultural setting, and language. It also provided an opportunity to gain insight into high-quality methods and advanced statistical procedures grounded in both theoretical rigour and standardized-based practices. This placement was particularly important, given that it provided me with first-hand experience conducting research that was grounded in cultural sensitivity within a Latin American country. During the placement, I was able to assist in the completion of a manuscript in English regarding the validity of teacher quality and student learning across schools and neighbourhoods, and I also assisted with a report in Spanish, with the goal to disseminate such findings across disciplines and making it accessible to a broader audience within Latin America.
In addition to the academic setting, I sought out moments where I could explore some of the beautiful Chilean landscape. Naturally, I was unable to travel across Chile in its entirety, though I managed to take short trips, which included a visit to the south of Chile, to an important museum in Isla Negra – home to a grand Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda, travelled across the border to Mendoza, Argentina, and partook in weekend hikes through the Andes mountains. The south of Chile was particularly impressive, and marked by notable greenery, forests, lakes, and rivers, with fluctuating weather patterns of sunshine and rainfalls. In fact, in contrast to the dry northern desert regions, the southern landscape is described as the “Region of the Lakes” (which shows some similarity to cottage country in northern Ontario). One scenic view included a visit to the Lake of Todos los Santos (“All the Saints”), a crisp blue body of water surrounded by the cordillera mountains, volcanoes, waterfalls, and skies full of condors, the national bird. In addition, I was impressed by the sight of numerous stunning sunrises and sunsets during my time exploring, as well as daily from my apartment balcony – perhaps there is a certain magic that occurs when the sun hits the Andes mountain range.
Overall, this placement was a unique opportunity that supported the exploration of psychology, education, and evaluation-based research all within an international setting. It is a privilege to gain insight into the strengths and challenges that exist in other societies and cultural contexts, particularly embedded within settings that foster scientific exploration, in order to capture an
awareness and understanding of societal issues across cultures overall. I would highly recommend opportunities that foster these explorations, specifically supported by Ryerson University. It was an unforgettable experience that I hope can be repeated at some point in my academic, professional, or personal path.
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