GLOBAL CONNECT

A window to the wide world

Simonell Marshall

Undergraduate Student

FLAME University

Semester Abroad @ York University, Canada

 
My study abroad experience was truly one I’ll never forget. I got a chance to interact with wonderful people, see fantastic sights, study diverse and interesting courses and explore the culture and place. I got the dual experience of being both a student and a tourist in a new country. It was all in all a fantastic experience!

My study abroad experience was a fantastic one. When I first arrived in Canada I had no idea what was in store for me. I was super excited and also really nervous. My first day turned out to be great. It’s true what they say about Canadians-they truly are incredibly warm people. Everybody made me feel very welcome. York University organized an orientation for all the exchange students so they could brief us and also so that all the exchange students had a chance to meet. I met people from all over the world-Spain, France, Germany, Israel and many more places. The room was buzzing with culture and nervous excitement. Over my semester in York I had a chance to interact with a multitude of people from diverse cultures who were all extremely friendly and warm. It was an interesting experience to mingle with people from places that I’ve only dreamed of visiting. We taught each other about our cultures and I was fascinated with how differently they lived.

I am a Psychology major and Journalism minor and the academic experience I received at York was excellent. I had the opportunity to study interesting courses such as the Psychology of Women and Intercultural communication. It enabled me to broaden my horizons and expand my knowledge base further. All my professors were quite good and I learnt a lot from them.

The culture in Toronto, where York University is based, was quite different from what I was used to back in Pune. It was a novel experience to explore the city and everything it had to offer. The sights were incredible and I got to experience the city both as a tourist and as a student. Toronto is home to a variety of people from different cultures. All over the city there are small eateries and shops that have a variety of cuisines and products from all over the world. As a foodie, I got to try out a plethora of cuisines from Japanese to French to German. Over time I made friends who will always hold a special place in my heart. Toronto is also home to many Indians and it wasn’t difficult to find people who made me feel right at home even in a foreign land. I tried to use my time in Canada as wisely as possible. I learnt a lot about myself in my 4-month stint. Being so far away from home taught me a lot of lessons about independence. I had to learn to do everything myself, from laundry to cooking to travelling. Self-discipline is a huge part of studying abroad. The workload can be hectic but is quite manageable if you stay focused. It was quite an eye opening experience.

As somebody who loves to travel, I grabbed this opportunity to also explore all the places around me that I could visit. I visited the Niagara Falls, which was only 2 hours away from Toronto. The Falls were as magnificent as I expected them to be. I also visited Montreal and Quebec City and they are truly charming places. It was all in all a novel experience to stay in a foreign country and experience firsthand the sights, food and culture the place had to offer. My experience in Canada has broadened my horizons and helped me grow as a person. It’s an experience that that will stay with me for a lifetime.