General

Choose Your Own Adventure: Making Summer Plans

 

The view from Sophia University’s cafeteria of Akasaka Palace, a Japanese State Guesthouse.

The view from Sophia University’s cafeteria of Akasaka Palace, a Japanese State Guesthouse.

Gone are the days where summers consisted of hours playing in the sun. Or in my case, playdates and a proportional amount of Kumon. Making summer plans in university is tough, to say the least. Employment is often precarious, internships are competitive, and research opportunities can be tough to track down. But deciding how you’ll spend your “holiday” (is it really a break for anyone?) is essential. While summer is well underway, I thought it would be useful to help demystify the transfer credit process.

U of T offers an array of courses in different disciplines in locations across the globe through its Summer Abroad and Exchange programs. However, it’s always possible to choose your own adventure and find a program separately. When looking for course options this summer, I decided to go my own route and use U of T’s Transfer Explorer to see how courses that piqued my interest at institutions abroad would contribute to my program requirements. After some extensive deliberation and too much money spent on stamps, I decided on a Japanese language course at Sophia University. It’s situated in Tokyo and offers a great selection of professors, summer courses taught in English, and $1 bread (carbs are delicious).

With long lunch hour line-ups everyday, I suppose you could call this vehicle Sophia’s equivalent of everyone’s favourite UofT food truck “Ideal Catering.”

With long lunch hour line-ups everyday, I suppose you could call this vehicle Sophia’s equivalent of everyone’s favourite U of T food truck “Ideal Catering.”

While I knew the course I signed up for was “intensive”, I underestimated just how intensive! Despite being caught up in an academic hurdle race of daily tests, I’ve been trying to make the most out of my time in a new place. One way is through GL Net, an on-campus group at Sophia focused on connecting international students like myself to students whose home university is Sophia. Avoiding rush-hour would be much easier than be spending time at after-school clubs. But at the end of the day, what you learn outside the classroom while studying abroad can be just as valuable as what you learn inside of the classroom. Everything from subtle cultural taboos, to the best ramen shops near campus, are all advantages that come when you break outside of the insular bubble of foreigners that study abroad programs tend to create.

While you might have to go out of your way to participate in extracurriculars, either abroad or at U of T, they’re a surefire way to help connect you to new people and expand out of your comfort zone!

A bird's eye view of the centre of Sophia's campus, which is much smaller than U of T!

A bird’s eye view of the centre of Sophia’s campus, which is much smaller than U of T!