On gloomy, assignment-packed days like today, when even the Toronto I so dearly love fails to inspire me, I can’t help but think to myself “I wish I could just pick up and leave this continent.”
After attending the Global Perspectives Symposium (GPS) last week, a series of information sessions created to inform students about international academic opportunities at U of T, I can honestly say that I have no excuse not to seek them out. My questions were answered and my fears were quelled — I’m going to share what I learned with you!
1. Studying Abroad Doesn’t Have To Cost A Billion Dollars
The number one reason why I haven’t pursued international study opportunities is the cost. I had no idea that there are several ways to fund trips available for students looking to travel and learn! Bursaries and scholarships are available through the Centre for International Experience, Summer Abroad and Science Abroad, and the Faculty of Arts and Science (through specific programs, awards, and scholarships). I’ve spoken with several students who went on fully funded trips through the Faculty of Arts & Science — that means airfare and accommodation for certain international opportunities! Ahhh!
2. Don’t Be Afraid To Speak To Your Professors, TAs, and Registrar!
At the GPS information session about research opportunities, students studying Archeology, Equity Studies, International Relations (big ups to my program!), Aboriginal Studies, and Theatre shared their experiences conducting research around the world. The common thread among all of the students was that they went with professors from the University of Toronto. In several cases, students approached their professors and asked them if they knew of any research trips. Easier said than done, but biting the bullet and approaching your professor or TA — who is, contrary to popular belief, a human being — about research trips won’t kill you, and will potentially, literally, change your life.
3. Studying Abroad Will Take Research and Planning, But It’s Easier Than You Think
Unfortunately for we lazy students, we can’t just hop on a plane and make our way across the world, learn, and earn a credit without putting in a little elbow grease ourselves. It does take research and planning to construct a trip abroad, but it’s hardly an overwhelming amount of work. Reach out to the resources available through A&S and U of T, and pay attention in class (my first year Intro to African Studies professor took a few students to Ethiopia and it cost them almost nothing! Sucks for those of us who skipped the day he announced it), and you might just find a trip that suits your needs.
4. There Are Countless Resources For A&S Students Who Want To Travel
I’ll start you off with some links to check out, but there are plenty more travel opportunities available through the different colleges and programs on campus.
- A&S International Programs and Partnerships
- 399 Research Excursion Program
- International Course Module Program
- Deans International Initiative Fund
- The Centre for International Experience
- U of T Summer Abroad/Science Abroad
In sum, speak to your professors, do some research, speak to more professors, do more research, and be on your way! No better way to #TryItUofT than to experience learning outside our university, classroom, country, or continent.
* A MILLION thanks to (the very kind and very patient) MP Stevens, Director, International Programs and Partnerships for the Faculty of Arts & Science, for answering my incessant questions and starting me on my own journey to an international experience! I couldn’t have written this post without her input and the valuable information I received at the Global Perspectives Symposium.