Mount Allison hosts annual international exchange fair

International Centre provides opportunities for students to study at universities around the world

On Oct. 16, Mount Allison hosted the International Exchange Fair as part of International Education Week. The annual fair highlights the learning opportunities available for students through the university’s partnerships with other institutions.

Mt. A’s partner universities include the University of Kent in England, Fudan University in China and the University of Newcastle in Australia.

The fair began with an information session led by Robin Walker, the international affairs coordinator. Walker discussed different topics of interest to students, such as the difference between the terms “study abroad” and “exchange,” language requirements, transfer credits and a list of international partner institutions offering semester or full-year exchange.

After the session, Walker introduced several Mt. A students who studied abroad on various programs last year and invited them to share their experiences. They spoke about the the challenges, financial issues and what they learned from their experiences, and gave some advice to students who want to go on exchanges.

Honours biology student Kat Fleury participated in an exchange program at Kent University in the U.K. last year. “Before going there, I was a little bit worried about finances,” Fleury said. “The pound in the U.K. is 1.71 Canadian dollars – almost double. This was something I kept in my mind while buying things and it worked out.”

Keith Nicholson said he wanted to study on an exchange program to perfect his French. “I found the information about the University of Strasbourg in the International Student Centre,” said Nicholson. He is completing his international relations honours and minoring in French.

“My professor helped me with my visa application and gave me information about courses,” Nicholson added.

For Nicholson, the language barrier was the most difficult thing, especially during his first semester. “I was connecting with people only to the level that I could express myself. So, they only know the part of me that I know how to express in French. I felt like the friendship was superficial, but after breaking that barrier, I got more comfortable making mistakes in public.”

According to Walker, “The keys to having a successful exchange experience are to be open-minded, excited, flexible and enthusiastic, while also being prepared and having your degree in mind.”

Interested students can find information about partner universities and available programs on the International Centre page.

“Our online program pages are a really good starting resource for students. Each of our partner universities’ pages has link to our partner universities that can tell you what courses you can take, when the application deadline is and what the accommodation situation looks like,” said Walker.

With regards to admission criteria, Walker explained that “Typically, our partner universities nominate students, so they know our eligibility criteria. As long as students meet that criteria we just receive the application.”

During the fair, students had the opportunity to walk around a number of tables set up in the International Centre dedicated to different countries, in order to receive general information about each university. Each table had an identification sign, a map of the city or the university, and universities’ brochures.

The tables were staffed by former participants in the exchange program and exchange students who came to Mt. A from other countries.

The deadline to apply for exchange is midnight on Jan. 14, 2019. More information can be found on the International Centre’s page on the Mt. A website.

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