BY HUDA AKHTAR, THIRD YEAR STUDENT IN HUMAN RESOURCES, TRSM
What people don’t tell you about studying abroad is that you’ll want to go home about 2 days into your trip. No one tells you how hard it really is settling into a place you have absolutely no prior knowledge of. People don’t speak of the first week you arrive into your chosen city, they don’t mention the restless nights thinking about how you’re going to manage your commute, your work – your stress piles up.
By Sophia Chea, Student in Business Management, TRSM
Like many people, studying abroad was always something I’ve dreamed of. After applying, I hesitated many times while contemplating whether studying abroad was right for me. Although there were moments when I didn’t think I was making the right choice, I still stuck with it. Honestly, it is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
BY SHANNON TINNING, 4TH YEAR STUDENT IN ENGLISH, FACULTY OF ARTS
I have never been an impulsive, or a decisive person. Deciding between what colour of sweater to purchase, or mustering up the courage to select a unique menu item, instead of chicken fingers, fills me with immense anxiety. Before departing for my exchange to Edinburgh, Scotland, I came to the realization that I would have to escape my finely crafted comfort zone in order to fully capitalize on this once in a lifetime opportunity, and not return to Canada filled with ‘what if’s’ and ‘I wishes’.
And no, getting a tattoo is not on this list (sorry grandma).
Living the exchange student lifestyle in Frankfurt, Germany, was an indescribable experience, saturated with joy, adventures and travels. But along with the blissful, memorable moments came mistakes and chaotic situations that simultaneously turned out to be great learning experiences.After embracing the perks and pitfalls of studying abroad, here are my top recommendations for anyone preparing to venture upon the exchange journey.
By Jackie Jabson, 4th year Student in Creative Industries, FCAD
6 months. That sounds like a lot of time, but it goes by faster than you’d think. Time is of the essence. It sneaks up on without you noticing. One day you’ll wake up and it will all be over. The reality of it is that exchange is only a small fragment of your life. That’s why soaking in every bit of the experience will ensure you won’t be left feeling dissatisfied with it.
I traveled to Denmark for my student exchange and stayed in Copenhagen for 6 months. I discovered that there is always a shortage in time. It is up to you to make the most of it in this foreign and magical place. How long is your stay abroad? 6 months? That is 26 weeks or 4,380 hours. Take note on some of these tips to help make the most out of your 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 exactly the same.
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.
So you’ve heard about the exchange program and you’ve already listed all the cities you want to visit. You’re daydreaming about the incredible sights you’ll see, flavorful foods you’ll try and inspirational people you’ll meet until the thought of the associated expenses tramples you back into the reality of a student budget.
As exciting as going on exchange is, you still have to be a responsible adult (sigh) and plan your expenses, but you shouldn’t let financial fears stop you from studying abroad. Managing and budgeting your expenses (especially in a different currency) is a valuable skill that might give you a new outlook on your spending habits, even upon returning to Canada.
By Shannon Tinning, 4th Year Student in English, Faculty of Arts
When I was preparing to go on exchange to Edinburgh, Scotland, I was flooded with speeches from relatives and friends, filled with statements such as, “you’re going to have such an amazing time!”, “this will change your life!”, and “you’re literally the luckiest person in the world.” While I was incredibly grateful for the countless words of encouragement to ease my anxiety concerning this massive move across the world, I noticed that no one had discussed how different life would be once I returned home to Canada.
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.