By Dylan Freeman-Grist and Sidney O’Reilly
Five days a week, you sit in the same desks in the same classrooms listening to your professor ramble on about something you’re probably not interested in. As you look out the window, you may find yourself thinking, “I wish I could be anywhere but here.”
The world is a big place. Toronto is great, but there are so many other cities to see. For students at Ryerson hoping to travel while completing their degrees, there is no shortage of opportunity.
“We want our students to get out there and be ambassadors for Canada and for Ryerson and just enjoy an international experience,” said Erin Miley, student mobility assistant at Ryerson International.
There are two primary options for students hoping to get out of the classrooms in Kerr Hall – going on exchange, or studying abroad.
There’s a lot to think about when deciding between programs. Cost is a major factor, along with destination choice and applications.
For most students, exchanges are the more affordable option, since tuition is paid directly to Ryerson. Once you add up the cost of airfare, insurance, food and living, it ends up being more expensive than staying on campus. But if budgeted correctly, it’s a reasonable option.
Suhair Deeb, international mobility coodinator, said it’s difficult to put an exact number on how much an exchange costs because it varies from student to student.
“It really depends where you’re going,” said Deeb. “Business students tend to go to big cities because they want to be in the thick of it all and that’s more expensive than living in a small city.”
Abroad programs tend to be a lot more expensive in comparison, seeing as most students get nailed with international fees. Deeb said that tuition costs could be as much as double (in some cases even higher) depending on the university.
On the plus side, students who choose to go abroad can study at other universities for over a four month period – something that exchange students don’t have the option to do.
The application process is different for each option. For abroad programs, students must apply directly to the host university while exchanges are done directly through Ryerson.
Exchanges are very competitive. In order to apply, students must have a GPA of at least 2.5 and must also fill out a lengthy application. It varies from program to program, but essays, portfolios, and interviews may also be required.
“[This process is] just to make sure that we’re sending over top quality students,” said Miley. “We want to make sure they are able to keep up with the academic work.”
Even though going global requires a lot of planning, hard work, and preparation, students who do take on this opportunity say it’s worth it.
Sarah Kristensen, a fourth-year retail management student, spent six months studying in Adelaide, Australia at the University of South Australia. She said that going on exchange taught her how to embrace life’s twists and turns.
“I was completely pushed out of my comfort zone almost daily,” said Kristensen. “I did so many things I don’t think I would have been able to do without exchange.”
While in Australia, Kristensen tried everything from ziplining to surfing to black-water rafting (tubing through dark caves surrounded by glowworms and eels).
With files from Nicole Schmidt
Ryerson students share their exchange stories
By Sidney O’Reilly
Trevor Coll – Edinburgh, Scotland
When fourth year radio and television arts student Trevor Coll went on exchange last January, he spent his weekends flying across Europe. One weekend, he’d be in Dublin for St. Patrick’s Day and the next, he’d be eating pizza in Venice.
“My weekends weren’t spent sitting around watching Breaking Bad,” said Coll.
Coll spent four months in Scotland studying at Edinburgh Napier University – a school that, like Ryerson, is located right in the heart of the city.
“Edinburgh is a vibrant city filled with welcoming Scots, tartan, history and vibrant scenery,” said Coll.
When Coll first arrived in Edinburgh, his schedule completely fell apart.
“I had like an hour to put it all back together and re-enroll in the right courses,” he said.
In the chaos of last-minute enrolling, Coll lost his spot in a marketing course and ended up being enrolled in “Scottish Culture and Society.”
But even though things didn’t go exactly as Coll had originally planned them, he said he was happy that things turned out the way they did.
“I ended up in a course debating whether or not the Loch Ness monster was real and met some really cool people,” said Coll. “These mix-ups aren’t stressful. They’re just part of your exchange.”
Sarah Kristensen – Adelaide, Australia
When Sarah Kristensen stepped off the plane, she was terrified. She had just landed in a country halfway across the world.
“I was in complete shock,” said Kristensen. “I was really excited though. Excited to see the place I was going to call home for the next six months.”
Kristensen, a now fourth year retail management student at Ryerson, went on exchange to Adelaide, Australia last February and studied at the University of South Australia.
“Adelaide is gorgeous,” said Kristensen. “The ocean is beautiful and the wildlife is crazy. There are birds that look like parrots everywhere.”
For Kristensen, going on exchange taught her how to embrace life’s twists and turns.
“I was completely pushed out of my comfort zone almost daily,” Kristensen says. “I did so many things I don’t think I would have been able to do without exchange.”
Kristensen said that her boss back home told her to take advantage of every available opportunity, and that is exactly what she did. Kristensen tried everything from zip lining to surfing to black-water rafting (tubing through dark caves surrounded by glowworms and eels).
“I said yes to everything I possibly could,” said Kristensen. “It was a completely overwhelming, wild experience that I would never change.”