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Last year’s exchange students share their experiences abroad

Mount Allison’s International Office currently has exchange partnerships with 26 schools in 20 different countries. Students who went on exchange last year gathered for the Study Abroad and Exchange Fair this week. Here, several of them share their experiences.

David Spence

David Spence, a fourth-year political science and religious studies student, choose the University of Newcastle for his exchange, a choice entirely based on location as the programs they offered made it more difficult to complete his degree in the long run. “Traveling to Australia specifically was something I’d wanted to do since 2012, when I started saving up Aeroplan miles,” he explained. “I said, ‘One day, somehow, I’m going to go.’ Then the opportunity came up and I said, ‘I’m doing it.’ ” When asked about why students should go on exchange, Spence said, “Getting out of your comfort zone is huge. Get out and see the world because you don’t know when you’re going to have that opportunity again.”

“I went to Uluru – Ayers Rock. To be able to go there and get first-hand experience of the Indigenous people’s language and culture was a life-changing experience.”

Shae Scully

Shae Scully, a fourth-year biology student, attended the University of Tasmania from February to July 2018. One of her main considerations for picking Tasmania was their biology program, though she referenced adjusting to the different school style as her biggest challenge. “In Tassie,” as she affectionately calls the island state, “it’s very experience-based, while here it’s a lot of essays and papers. There, most of my classes, I would be out in the field, either all day or I would go out for an entire week to an island. It was totally different from here.” Even with the differing style of education, it was easy to enjoy her experience alongside her studies. When asked why other students should go on exchange, Scully said, “I’d recommend it because it really is a way to learn about who you are, away from everything you know. Just finding out how you do in a completely new environment is really cool.”

“My favourite part was the people. I met so many incredible people who are lifelong friends now.”

Tingting Lin

Fourth-year Tingting Lin attended the University of Kent in England from the end of September to December 2017. Although the program gave her more flexibility to take classes she normally wouldn’t choose, it did make it harder to complete her degree in chemistry. She noticed that the programs at Kent were less interdisciplinary than at Mt. A, as they were very subject-specific. When asked her main reason for going on exchange, Lin said, “I really like traveling. I didn’t really want to stay in the same place for four years. I wanted to go to a new place and see around the world. I can’t think of any reason why people don’t want to go on exchange.”

“I made some really close friends. We still travel together and I think that’s really cool.”

Siyi Wang

Siyi Wang, a fifth-year bachelor of commerce and economics student, went to The Hague University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands, where her program featured a large selection of business courses that she wouldn’t be able to take at Mt. A. “I wanted to go to a business program,” she explained. “And the Netherlands is close to everything; it’s so convenient [for traveling].” Although she knew her exchange would affect her degree at home, she made the decision to do it anyway, saying, “I knew I would have to come back for another semester [to finish my degree] but I still wanted to go. It doesn’t ruin it.”

“My roommate and I went out for dinner each week as a treat for ourselves. We would find a new restaurant each week just to try it.”

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