Haste Ye Back : Toronto to Edinburgh

By: Maria Bendo, Undergraduate Student in English, Faculty of Arts

From the moment I got back to Canada, I’ve had trouble trying finding words to describe what my exchange was like. I spent the first five months of 2018 studying at Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland during the second half of my third year. Strangely, I’ve found myself struggling to answer questions about it. I usually reply with “Oh, it was amazing!” or “Honestly, would go back in a heartbeat,” which are both extremely true, but I’ve never really elaborated upon it. So, I’m going to make an attempt.

From the moment I graduated high school, I knew I wanted to participate in an exchange program. I didn’t really feel nervous leading up to it until I sat down for the 7-hour flight ahead of me. I couldn’t believe I was going to live an ocean away from my family and friends. Even if it was for a short period of time, I could not stop thinking about how I would have to be on my own and my family wouldn’t be just an hour and a half drive away. I was so grateful when I learned that one of my now best friends was going on exchange as well. With her sitting next to me on the plane, I felt so much more at ease. I think we were both ready to experience everything the exchange threw at us.

Edinburgh is an extremely beautiful city with a rich history and for an English major; I don’t think I could have chosen a better place to live for five months. I learned a multitude of things about renowned Scottish poets, authors, and even about myself as a student. I only had to take 3 courses compared to Ryerson’s standard 5, which left me with more free time than I’m used to. I lived in one of Napier’s residences called Bainfield; It is about a 10-minute walk from the campus of Merchiston. This is where I met many wonderful people who I ended up spending most of my time with.                The Old Town in Edinburgh might have been one of my favorite areas of the city. I’m a sucker for cobblestone and narrow alleys, despite being a clumsy mess and nearly breaking an ankle. I also have a special place in my heart for the highlands, especially after going on the same free highland tour twice. Walking around the city, I was in a state of disbelief; a common theme during my exchange. I really couldn’t believe that this place was my home for five months. It really didn’t click for me until I boarded my flight back to Canada.

Obviously, studying abroad in Europe gave me the chance to travel within the continent for relatively cheap. Weirdly enough, I’ve seen more of Europe than Canada. While on exchange, I traveled to 7 countries and 10 cities and towns. I’ve never been one for taking a ton of pictures while on vacation, being a “live in the moment” type of person, but I really couldn’t help it. I look back on each picture so fondly and almost instantly connect a memory to it – roaming Edinburgh after a night out, eating gelato by the canal in Venice, riding paddle boats on the Vltava river. As cliche as it sounds, it was really like living in a dream and the pictures I took made it feel a bit more real to me.

It’s easy to be intimidated by the idea of living in a foreign country on your own, but don’t let that fear stop you from it. As any person would, I did get homesick from time to time. At the end of the day I always knew I was coming back, which is bittersweet when I think about it now. The day I left Edinburgh, I really couldn’t stand the thought of leaving my exchange experience behind. To be honest, I think about going back every day.

Along with the general answers I tend to give about the whole experience, I always tell people that it is absolutely worth it. I’m constantly telling everyone that asks, if they get the chance to study abroad or even just visit Europe or any other place in the world, they should take the opportunity and run. Seize and cherish every moment while you’re gone and make a few (or a lot) of memories doing it.

 

Evolving Life Perspective Through World Travels

By Nikita (Mykyta) Drakokhrust, Undergraduate student in the Department of Politics and Public Administration, Faculty of Arts

Note from the Editor: Nikita Drakokhrust was 1 of 13 Politics and Governance students who traveled to Washington DC from March 4 – March 12, 2017. The trip is a major component of the course CPOG490: Politics and Government in Washington DC.  

Whether you have traveled before or not, your expectations are usually very different from what your experiences turn out to be. Having traveled to several countries before, I figured Washington DC would be another trip with tourism and of course school work. But it wasn’t.

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Getting Involved in the Exchange Community: Join RISExC!

RISExC is a student-run group that helps new Ryerson exchange students settle into life in Toronto. The committee is mostly made up of current Ryerson students who have previously participated in the exchange program. The group plans social events and sightseeing trips in Toronto.

Joining RISExC is not only a great way to become involved in exchange community, it is also an opportunity to draw on your lived experiences to help others feel more comfortable here in Toronto.

Join the RISExC Fall ’17 – Student Group Facebook page.

Interested in taking a leadership role on the committee?
Email us at rihelp@ryerson.ca with the subject line: RISExC Committee Fall’17  and join the RISExC Fall’17 – Organizer Facebook Page.

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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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Transferring Knowledge Across Academic and Cultural Borders: My Practicum Experience in Chile

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.

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