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).
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.
Sophia Chea (right), a Ryerson International (RI) intern and future exchange student interviews Saura Haggart-Smith (left), another RI intern and former exchange participant.
THE APPLICATION PROCESS:
Sophia: Before I applied to go on an exchange, I attended an information session hosted by my faculty specific exchange coordinator. Attending the session made my application process so much easier. As the deadline for the application is near the end of January, I was able to take some time after my exams to complete it.