General

Five reasons to go on exchange

I studied abroad twice during my undergrad at U of T (I wrote about my time in Berlin a while back on the blog). I learned so much during those trips, made some of my favourite memories, and met some of my favourite people.

Deadlines for exchange are coming up, so if you’re thinking about going abroad this summer or next year, it’s time to get moving on those applications!

Not sure if exchange is for you? Here’s five reasons why I think you should think about it.

1. U of T offers a lot of options through their partnerships with universities across the globe.

U of T has partnerships with over 150 universities in 39 countries. You can explore the many exchange opportunities available to you online. Plus, if nothing there floats your boat, you can design your own program (which really happens – my exchange in Berlin was self-designed, and it was not difficult to arrange). To use one of this institution’s favourite words, the opportunities are boundless – you can really go anywhere, and the Centre for International Experience will help you organize your trip every step of the way.

2. You can get you credits pre-approved so you don’t need to stress about whether they’ll get transferred.

Stressed about whether your exchange program will mesh with requirements for your program at home? The CIE has resources to help you navigate program requirements and make sure that you get appropriate credits and exemptions for the courses you take abroad. By getting them pre-approved, you can avoid stress when you get home about whether they’ll transfer.

The sun over the city of Tz'vat, a centre of Kabblistic practice in Israel where I went on a field trip with one of my seminar classes at Hebrew U. It really brought the course material to life to be able to see things firsthand.

The sun over the city of Tzvat, a centre of Kabblistic practice in Israel where I went on a field trip with one of my seminar classes at Hebrew U. It really brought the course material to life to be able to see things firsthand.

3. You can get a lot of financial support if you act fast and apply widely, and you can make it more affordable while you’re there if you make a budget and stick to it.

Exchange can be expensive, but if you apply early and apply for lots of scholarships, you can build up a nice cushion to take with you abroad. Some exchange programs have specific scholarships attached to them, and a lot of colleges offer bursaries to students pursuing exchanges.

Most scholarships require you to write up a budget, which you can take with you when you go on exchange. If you stick to it, you can save money while you’re there. Learn more about funding and costs from the CIE.

4. You can travel safely with help from the Safety Abroad office.

The Safety Abroad office is an amazing resource for students going on exchange. Before you go, they’ll get you ready with a safety abroad session, and while you’re there, they’ll be available to you in case of emergencies – if anything goes wrong while you’re travelling, from breaking your arm to losing your wallet and more, they can be your first call to give you a hand.

5. Exchange is an opportunity to learn and grow.

You never know what you'll run into while studying abroad... like these amazing fountains I happened upon with a friend while exploring Barcelona on the tail end of our summer at Hebrew U.

You never know what you’ll run into while studying abroad… like these amazing fountains I happened upon with a friend while exploring Barcelona on the tail end of our summer at Hebrew U.

 

 

Getting to learn at a different institution, to meet new friends, and to see a new country is an incredible experience. University is one of the only places where there’s lots of funding, opportunities, and resources to help you travel. Beyond what you learn in classrooms abroad, you’ll grow a lot as a person on exchange, and I’d bet, based on my time abroad, that it will be a highlight of your undergraduate experience.

If you’re considering going on an exchange, don’t miss the Exchange Fair on November 3 from 11:00am-3:00pm at the Centre for International Experience. Register here.

danielle

Danielle is the summer 2015 Communications Intern at the Office of Student Life. She wrapped up her undergrad this year and will be entering a master's program at U of T in the fall, studying in the Faculty of Information. She previously studied English and Jewish Studies with a minor in History. Danielle studied abroad twice, in Jerusalem and Berlin, did a service learning course, and did a few work-study positions. Her favourite part of her undergrad was working at The Varsity, the campus newspaper. She was the editor-in-chief in her final year. She's passionate about good writing, student journalism, reading, knitting, long walks (on the beach or otherwise), and table tennis, which she insists she is very good at, though her friends may not agree. You can reach her on twitter @lifeatuoft over the summer if you want to chat!

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