Home Sweet Home- Trying to Figure Out Life After Exchange

By Chelsea Dolan, 4th year Student in Journalism, FCAD

Landing back home in Canada at Pearson Airport felt strange, in the sense that it felt like I never left home in the first place. For the past five months I lived in Europe, constantly experiencing new cultures and cities, with each day being so spontaneously different— yet everything at home remained the exactly the same.

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A Broad, Abroad: Toronto to Perth, Australia

By McKenzie Broad, Student in Interior Design, FCAD

I had never put much thought into going on exchange until second year when I received an email about an exchange meeting. I have always had an urge to travel the world so I thought I would check it out.

From that day on, I had my heart set on studying abroad.

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The Key to Overcoming Challenges Abroad

By: Hana Glaser, Undergraduate Student in Creative Industries

Going to study for a semester abroad has always been one of my dreams. I had pictured myself going to school in a city, making friends with the locals, and learning all about the local culture. Although this was a small part of my experience, I lived a completely different reality that surpassed my expectations.

Looking back, it’s crazy to think that I spent 6 months in Germany studying in Stuttgart at HdM (Stuttgart Media University). During this time, the challenges I faced ranged from odd ones like not knowing how to open my own apartment door, to hard ones where I needed to talk to city officials concerning my VISA in an office where no one spoke English.

“Regardless of how big or small the challenges that I encountered were, they all felt like a big deal as I had gone by myself to a country where I knew no one and did not speak the language.”

The first challenge was using my house key. The door and key were a problem for me almost the whole length of my semester. On my first day a buddy that the university had set up on my part to pick me up and help me settle in took me to my apartment and showed me around the flat. After being there for half an hour, she took me out to eat with some of the other international students that had arrived earlier that day as well. When the time came to go home she handed me the keys and we went our separate ways.

 

This being my first time opening my door, I struggled for a total of 30 minutes before the panic of having to sleep in a stairwell started to settle in. Being someone who does not like to ask for help nor bother people, especially when I do not know them and it is almost one in the morning, I had to overcome my discomfort and text my buddy for help.  My buddy was able to find someone that lived in the same building as me to come and help me. This person quickly became my best friend and my family while I was there.

It took me about a month to learn how to properly open my door, as well as how to ask for help when I needed it. Sometimes you have to place trust in others. The most important thing that I learned through all of my challenges was that there is no harm in asking the people around you for help. Since we were all in the same boat, everyone was willing to help. Even though I spent most of my time with the same group of international students, it was mainly sharing our concerns and helping each other that brought us closer together.

“Sometimes you have to place trust in others.”

This group of international students became my family. We cooked together, did laundry together, studied together, traveled together and partied together. It was this family that helped me with my most difficult challenge which was obtaining my Student VISA.  After I heard that the process is much simpler and quicker in Germany than in Canada, I decided to do all of my paper work upon my arrival.  Unfortunately for me, the information on the website was not accurate when it came to their hours of operation. On top of that, none of the staff members in the building spoke English.

The office I needed to get to within the building was very difficult to find. I ended up sitting in the refugee appeal waiting room for 15 minutes until I noticed I was in the wrong room. Determined to make things easier for myself, I asked one of my international friends who spoke German to help me. Although it took the both of us some more confusion, two more trips to the bureau, and a pile of paper work in order to get my VISA done, I could not have done it without the help of my international family.

The painful process that I went through in order to get my VISA allowed me to help some of the American Students that started their process later on. All in all, an exchange experience would not be complete without its challenges as there’s a lesson from each challenge one encounters.

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

By Jessica Burtt, Undergraduate student at the RTA School of Media, Faculty of Communication and Design

Last February I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Kenya for the RTA International Development class. Our trip was in partnership with Amref Health Africa, an organization that has developed multiple initiatives in Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia, to improve the health of people living in Africa through community empowerment and better health systems. During our trip we visited two projects, spending time with the local people to develop content for Amref’s social media, in hopes that it would increase awareness and encourage others to donate or volunteer their time.

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#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

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 Health Africa, 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!

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#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.

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AIESEC RYERSON IS HIRING!

AIESEC is the world’s largest non-profit youth-run organization. AIESEC helps develop global-minded leaders by sending students and graduates abroad through AIESEC’s global internship programs.

If you want to experience the rewarding feeling of being able to make a difference in other students’ lives, join the RYERSON team!

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