A window to the wide world

Padmapriya Eunny

Undergraduate Student

FLAME University

Semester Abroad @ York University, Canada

I had set foot in FLAME University with the intention of being a part of its exchange program. When I did finally go to York University during their Winter Term, I was incredibly excited and overwhelmed. Visiting Canada in the winter was an experience of its own; being welcomed by the biting cold winds right at the airport was just the premise of the story. Toronto looked just like I had pictured it, with uniform houses in the residential areas and extremely tall corporate offices in the heart of its business district. The university campus was extremely huge, and was almost a town in itself.

The pedagogy was quite interesting due to the sheer number of students enrolled at York. The average class size was about 200 students, and most classes were in the lecture format. This was very different from that of FLAME, as the student teacher ratio here is very low. This enables a lot more interaction with the professors and a more personal touch. However, despite the number of students, the professors at York still managed to help all those who were struggling to cope with the material, and also had flexible office hours to cater to all the students. The focus, however, was on self-learning; we were expected to familiarise ourselves with the material before the relevant class. This was to ensure students take responsibility to grasp and think about the material themselves, instead of relying solely on the professor’s explanation or views.

I had never been to a foreign country by myself, and it was a very enriching and fulfilling experience. Visiting the Parliament at Ottawa, exploring the small historical town of Niagara, and familiarising myself with the complex public transport system of Toronto all taught me valuable lessons on how people adjust in unfamiliar territories. I realised that tasks that seemed daunting at first gradually became quite trivial as I was compelled to survive on my own. It gave me the necessary experience of living in a diversified culture, and will definitely act as a cushion for when I decide to pursue further studies abroad.