International Opportunities at U of T: Planning an Exchange

A photo of the Cumberland House taken mid-day.
The Cumberland House, located across from the U of T bookstore, is the go-to stop for all information about studying abroad!

The end of the semester is quickly approaching. While running on a treadmill of exams and essays, I’ve been giving much thought to what I want to do in my third year. While my plans are not set in stone, I am strongly interested in going on exchange next year. Just the prospect of studying abroad makes me excited! These past few weeks, I’ve been diving into the process of how study abroad opportunities at U of T work. While I’m yet to complete the application process, through attending information sessions at the Centre for International Experience (CIE), and asking questions to other students, I’ve learned more about the study abroad process.

With so many different types of study abroad opportunities, narrowing down what option works best for you is one of the most challenging parts of the application process! The CIE International Opportunities Search Tool offers a comprehensive list of many study abroad opportunities. These include summer courses, in addition to full-year exchanges. One of the best features of the search tool is the ability to narrow down your search by criteria such as country and language of instruction.

Your program of study has a major effect on what types of study abroad opportunities will work best. While on the CIE website, I also looked for Department-approved pathways for either of my majors: International Relations (IR) or Peace, Conflict, and Justice (PCJ). While there was only one department-approved pathway for IR, I was pleased to find that students are not limited to programs on the approved list. The CIE gave a presentation to PCJ students interested in study abroad, and I was pleased to find that PCJ makes it easy for students who wish to go on exchange in their third-year. In the second semester, there is an online PCJ course module, which allows students the opportunity to complete the mandatory third-year PCJ course while abroad. However, most majors do not offer such an option, or study abroad may conflict with mandatory courses. In such circumstances, a summer study abroad course may be a better option.

In the past month, I’ve attended two events at the CIE. One of these events concerned how to get funding for going abroad. The costs of living abroad can add up, especially if the Canadian Dollar’s value is lower than the currency of your target destination. Exchange rates, transportation, textbooks, and personal expenses add up quickly. Luckily, the CIE offers many funding and scholarship opportunities. Individual colleges also offer bursaries for students.

If you’re also interested in going on exchange or are considering joint minor programs, be sure to check out the CIE website, because deadlines are quickly approaching!

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