Geography student Charlotte Marquand is currently studying at the University of Toronto, having received the £12,000 First Abroad Scholarship. She recently sent us this blog, letting us know how she’s been getting on in her first couple of months in Canada:
“I have now been in Toronto for about 7 weeks and am having an absolutely amazing time! I have been really enjoying my courses at UofT – I’m taking an urban geography course which looks at how Toronto has developed as a city from colonial times up to the present day which is fascinating and has made me look at the city in a completely different light. Another course I am taking is called Indigenous Worldviews and this is very eye-opening as I am learning about the Indigenous peoples of Canada, which I wouldn’t have had the chance to do in St Andrews. My lecturers here have quite a different teaching style to at home and there is a lot of coursework to keep up with. It was hard to begin with, but I am getting used to it now.
I have joined a student choir and we have a performance in November, I am part of an intramural tennis team who have matches once a week and I have joined the UofT Outing Club which will be a good opportunity to get out of Toronto! I volunteered at the UofT study abroad fair to talk to students thinking about studying abroad and to try and encourage them to choose St Andrews as their exchange university! I have met some really lovely people here – mostly other exchange students through the exchange society but also some local Canadians. I have been told that the winter here is really harsh and that it can get to about -20 degrees, but I have never experienced this before so am really excited (especially for the snow!).
I have been able to explore Toronto in between studying and some of the places I have been to include the CN Tower, Toronto Zoo, Toronto Islands and Niagara Falls. I also went to my first baseball game and Canadian football game! It was really exciting when I was asked with some other exchange students to hold the big Canadian Flag on the football pitch during the flag ceremony and the national anthem! I was also able to meet a friend from St Andrews who is studying abroad at Western who came to Toronto for a couple of days and it was great to see a familiar face!
Although I haven’t been here for very long, I already feel that this opportunity to study abroad has made me more confident and adventurous than I was 7 weeks ago! I am so grateful for the opportunities that this scholarship has opened up to me. It not only has allowed me to fully immerse myself in UofT, Canadian culture and a new way of learning, but I have been able to develop a more global mindset through reflecting on my own culture and talking to other international students about their experiences at home. So far this has been an unforgettable experience and I am excited to see where this adventure will take me next!”
If you’re currently studying abroad and want to let us know how you’re getting on, then send your experiences or photos to firstname.lastname@example.org and you could be featured on our social media or blog!