If you do get the chance to go to another country while doing university at the same time you defiantly should! Study abroad is an excellent program that TRU offers. I knew since I heard about it in first year at TRU that I would enjoy the program, and now after two terms studying abroad I confirm that it has changed my university experience. My semesters studying abroad in Turku, Finland, and Tianjin, China were amazing experiences and had a great impact. I was able to meet so many interesting people from all around the world and not only learn about my host country and their culture, but also of the other international students’ cultures. The study abroad trip to Finland was the first time that I traveled on a commercial airline, the first time visiting another country (outside of the United States), and the first time living in a shared apartment. The way you view the world as a whole changes after you go abroad and escape your safety bubble. After being abroad, I am much more aware of the world and now realize there are so many more places I would like to go visit!
It is hard to put into a short blog all the exciting adventures I had studying abroad. Some were spontaneous and completely random adventures with other students abroad, while others were going to sites such as the Great Wall of China, which I had always wanted to climb. Finland and China are both very interesting countries and completely different in almost every way. The terms abroad also help bulk up your resume when looking for work after graduation. Besides all of the academic classroom knowledge students gain, also you have the extracurricular activities and need to remember to leverage those skills learned to get above your competition in the job market.
It is very interesting to take academic classes in another country as well. While I was in Finland I was able to take courses such as ‘The Finish Political System’ and ‘Nordic History’, surprisingly neither of which I would be able to take regularly at TRU. During my time in China, I did take a TRU course called ‘Managerial Economics’ which was very interesting to see the different way classes are taught in comparing Canada and China. It was interesting as well to see the different relations teachers and students had with one another in the two countries. This was very useful as to better understand living in the shoes of an international student abroad.
When I returned from Finland I was able to work as a Study Abroad Ambassador, during 2012- 2013. This was a very rewarding experience, which I was able to help other students apply to study abroad and share travel tips. At TRU there are so many options to be active on campus, through clubs, certificates and research opportunities. If studying abroad is something you are interested in, looking into attending an info session and if you are on the fence about this, I say take the leap!
Written by: Will George (Past Study Abroad Ambassador 2012-2013) Studied in Finland and China at Åbo Akademi University & Tianjin University of Technology