It’s Never Too Early to Start Thinking About Summer

Why Studying in the Summer may be the Best Experience of your life! I don’t know about you, but I have the November blues, and I can’t help but think about summer. Ah, summer, the time when we can rid ourselves of those pesky assignments and tests, and just relax.  But, have you ever considered using a portion of your summer break to learn?  Have no fear, the kind of course I’m referring to isn’t like those typical summer courses, its one where you learn . . . ABROAD! Taking a course abroad during your summer break is an excellent way to combine your need to fulfill course requirements with the beauty and pleasure of living in another country.  Who doesn’t love to travel and experience a new culture and all of its offerings?  As someone who has taken advantage of the Woodsworth Summer Abroad Program, I can tell you it’s one of the greatest, if not the best academic experience I’ve had during my time at U of T. Unlike traditional courses where you are glued to books, the Summer Abroad Program lets you learn outside the regular academic environment.  My program was French Culture, so naturally I went to France.  Since the course was based on the history of the region we were living in, we got to go outside (yippee!) and visit the ancient relics we read about.  Actually physically experiencing our topic created a memorable learning experience.  In my case, as we were studying the history of castles in the region, we actually got to visit the Chateau of Amboise where King Charles VII died in 1498 – by way of banging his head against a door!  How else can you replicate this invaluable learning experience ? The beauty of the program was that I got to complete a whole credit in less than 4 weeks, and it wasn’t as expensive as I thought.  As the course is the same price as one you would take at U of T, you basically just had to pay for transportation to and from your location, living arrangements, food and spending money.  The program also offers different bursaries depending on the program you are applying to.  Luckily, your college will have bursaries, the Centre for International Experience offers $1250 for courses for 4 weeks, and don’t forget your old friend OSAP! Getting into the program is probably the hardest part.  You need to have a certain CGPA, usually above 2.5 (which depends on the course of interest) and you need to apply as soon as registration opens, and I literally mean the minute it opens up otherwise you could be waitlisted or never even admitted. Maybe it’s just me, but I think the best part of the program isn’t visiting cool places, but getting to make friends in your program. I consider myself pretty shy, and I was afraid I’d be spending a month in a foreign place and wouldn’t be able to share it with anyone. But, as other students were in the same boat as me it was natural that we became fast friends and together we made incredible memories. So, consider taking a summer course abroad next year.  I can guarantee you won’t regret it!  Desiree

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