Consider studying abroad! An experience you’ll never forget

Mount Allison currently offers over 20 exchange programs across four continents, catering to many unique interests

Note: All personal experiences are from my study abroad at L’Université de Strasbourg in France. Other universities will offer different experiences, but with similarities.

I was shocked to find how inexpensive my study abroad experience was. That’s right, living across the world didn’t leave me broke. Studying in Strasbourg, France, for a semester didn’t cost me any more than studying here in Sackville. I actually saved money.

If you attend a partnered university, you pay Mount Allison’s tuition. Therefore, the main added expense is a flight. My rent in France was significantly less than here in Canada at C$237.50 a month, all utilities included. The money I saved on rent alone was enough to pay for the flight. Food was approximately the same price as here in Canada; my phone plan was $25 a month for unlimited data and unlimited worldwide calling. If that isn’t enough for you, Mt. A offers travel grants for those that are doing studies overseas. These aren’t guaranteed to everyone, but can often offer financial support. If you can afford to live in residence and pay a meal plan, you can afford many of the study abroad programs offered through the International Centre here on campus.

My experience studying abroad gave me the chance to really expand my view of our world. Growing up in Atlantic Canada, I had never really left. Sure, I had vacations here and there, but that isn’t leaving. Travelling to Europe is one thing, but living there is a completely different experience. Leaving sounds scary, but a new life is easy to adapt to quickly. You learn to do things on your own and not depend on others.

Mt. A’s exchange program connects students to educational opportunities around the world. Louis Sobol/Argosy

Studying abroad was never about the actual studying to me: it was about the experience I’d get. The people you meet, things you see, foods you try – everything was new and that is why it was special. Finding a new favourite restaurant, a new grocery store, new friends, new everything. You make your own choices and make the best of it in a country where nobody knows who you are or anything about you.

Luckily for me, I had two different reading weeks, both two weeks off. This left me with time to travel Europe. There are discount airlines that offer flights for next to nothing. I literally flew to Ibiza for ten dollars. I don’t think I ever spent more than C$50 for a plane ticket during my time in Europe. You see all these photos of people studying in Europe travelling around the continent; this is because plane tickets often cost less than North Americans taxis.

I suppose I should conclude this article talking about the actual studying part. Your credits get transferred to Mt. A, but the letter grade you receive will not show up on your transcript. If you pass the class, you get the credits, it’s that easy. Your GPA is essentially “frozen” for the semester, meaning if you get all As or all Fs it won’t have any change on the GPA that you had when you left. All you need to do is get D- or higher in your classes and you are good as gold, credit-wise. However, remember that if you’re going to graduate school, they can look into your marks.

In my opinion, everyone at Mt. A should look into doing an exchange. Spend a semester outside of this small town and experience something new. Take the five minutes and apply. This doesn’t mean that you have to go, but at least it opens up opportunities for your future.

The exchange application for 2018-19 deadline is Jan. 12, 2018, at midnight. Learn more at mta.ca/studyabroad.

Keifer Bell