I never imagined myself living a whole ocean away from Toronto; away from U of T, my parents and my comfort zone. In my final summer at U of T, I took a leap of faith and applied for the summer abroad program. This just happened to be the first year that they offered a psychology course and it was a topic that I was extremely interested in. Not to mention, they were offering 1.0 credit in just a month, which also made it easier for me to convince my parents to let me go to England by myself!
One of the things about being a university student is that you start to say, “OH SO I’m NOT the only one who…”. When I was in high school, I felt like I was the only one around who cared about the environment or that I was the only one who enjoyed classical music. With a group only 800 students in the whole school and around 200 in my grade, it really was difficult to see diversity. Not to mention, everyone in my grade came from the same neighbourhood and likely grew up there their whole lives so we tended to focus on the similarities between us and our peers while ignoring the parts of us that make us different.
When I started at U of T, one of the largest and most renowned schools in Canada, and lived in the city, I truly saw the world from a diverse lens for the first time. Concepts like accessibility, citizenship status, equity and intersectionality were either not in my vocabulary radar or I hadn’t thought about them on a larger scale whatsoever; I had a pretty narrow view of the world which was shaped by what was immediately around me. I also didn’t use the Internet in order to keep up my grades for university. After coming to university, I started realizing my own privilege and found the ways that I could make a difference in the community using that privilege but most importantly, I found communities that eliminated any misconception I had had about being “the only one who…”.
Hello new semester! Don’t you just love the buzz around campus this time of year? You know, its that time in the semester where midterms haven’t taken over life yet, the weather is still amazing and you have a whole new batch of stationary to play with. Okay, that last one only applies to me and a handful of very cool people.
It’s also that time of year where I usually make tons of new goals and try extra hard to get this whole studying thing right.
Are you an international student missing out on your “home holiday seasons” and family this year? Read on to meet some of U of T’s own international students, and their tips on how to deal with missing family, friends and holiday traditions while studying at university.
Guys, it’s almost that time of year again.
You’re probably thinking:
‘Oh, it’s almost finals season!’ or
‘Oh, it’s almost Christmas!’ or
‘Ooh, it’s almost the holidays!’
Me: ‘Oh god….it’s almost winter.’