Let me introduce myself: my name is Cheryl, and I am completing my third year of an undergraduate degree in political science and American studies. My interest in American politics, specifically voter behavior, prompted me to apply for a term abroad in the U.S. as a Killam Fellow, and I will be blogging about my virtual exchange this spring semester!
The Killam Fellowship is facilitated by Fulbright Canada, an agency that strives to foster US-Canada relations by facilitating arrangements for academic scholars. The deadline for internal exchange (the option I undertook) is coming up, so make sure you apply if you are interested in studying at an American institution in the 2021-22 year!
Though the exchange was planned as an in-person experience, most undergraduate classes for the spring term at my placement, American University, were moved online due to safety concerns regarding COVID-19. I had not heard of virtual exchange, but I figured that if my classes at the University of Toronto would have been online anyway, there is nothing being lost by taking a term online at American U.
As most exchanges in the past have been in person, I wasn’t sure what to expect with an online term. Now that I am in my second week of classes, I am glad to announce that the course offerings are interesting and that the peers I have met are of great candor. But let’s backtrack a little: I will kick off my blogging with a post on which courses I chose to form the foundation of my virtual exchange.
My indecisiveness over which courses to enroll in means I am still auditing courses. Most students take five to six 3-credit-hour classes, and I have already dropped two to make room for more. There is a strict limit of 18 credit hours imposed on exchange students, though I plan to take only 15 as I will be simultaneously completing another half course at U of T.
While it is good news that the credit exchange office let me know they don’t have any deadlines, the CIE made it clear that I should work vigilantly to have my courses pre-approved by both the credit exchange office for degree completion requirements and subject departments.
I am having a fantastic time exploring the different course options available at AU, for many of them are not subjects that I can explore here at the University of Toronto. Last week, I learned that I am not as excited about the history of American conservatism as I am about campaign financing, for instance. Gaining access to a greater breadth of political science-related subjects will help me realize my academic interests, should I pursue graduate school. By the time my next blog post comes around, I’ll be able to speak on which courses I have stuck to, and also: how I make sure to stay organized with classes and events!