Experience report Exchange Trent University

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1 Experience report Exchange Trent University Name: Bo Gijsen Study Program: Organization studies Exchange semester: Winter semester Academic year: 3 Host University: Trent University Country: Canada I GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE SCHOOL Trent university has a really nice campus, just outside of the city center. Trent is located in Peterborough, about 1,5 hours away from Toronto. The campus is a really nice place, there are four different colleges, each with residence. I lived in Lady Eaton college, which is a really good one. It is quit, mostly because there are a lot of single rooms. That was something that I preferred. You can eat in all colleges, they all have big dining halls which are also a social place where you meet people and hang out. Besides that, there were also common rooms in each residence, where you can hang out, get together and watch a movie or play games. By bus it was only minutes to get to town, and you get a bus pass from the university. Peterborough is a small town, but they have a lot of nice bars/restaurants. There are a lot of students of course, so it is really fun to go out and party in town, there are a lot of nice clubs as well. There are also some nice parks in Peterborough where you can go to and just enjoy the nature. The campus itself also offers a lot of nice walking trails and views. On campus is a big gym, and you get a gym pass from the university. They offer a lot of group lessons and there are many different sports that you can play. I must say that Peterborough is not the most beautiful city, in my opinion. There are a lot of homeless people and the town can be a bit sketchy sometimes, though the people are really nice and it has not been a problem for me. Trent is a small university, of approximately 7000 students. There are a lot of international students, and the amount of exchange students is also pretty big. It is nice, because they offer a lot of fun activities for exchange students and international students. I felt like I was part of a community, while being at Trent, which I really enjoyed. Information before you left I received the information from my host university, approximately 3-4 months before I left. I did not experience any difficulties with them. Visa procedure and arrival I arrived on campus on the 5 th of January. On the 6 th we had an introduction day in which they explained the most important stuff, that we needed to know. On the 7 th my classes already started, so the first week was a bit hectic, but in the end it all turned out well. They picked us up at the airport and they took really good care of us. They made us a welcome dinner and we got to meet the staff and the other exchange students that arrived in September. Orientation/Introduction activities I also got a student buddy, before I left. I ed with her, and we exchanged information. I asked her about the campus, classes etc., to gain some more information and to be better prepared for my exchange. I liked the fact that we could talk to someone and ask them things. They can be really helpful. Housing I decided to live on campus. On the website of Trent University you can find the different colleges, with the room types and prices. So I just looked through that and I made a first, second and third choice.

2 They sent me an when the application for housing opened, and then I could just apply for a room on campus. You have to be on time though, in order to get your first choice. I asked my buddy for her opinion about which residence to choose, and she gave me some good advice. I got a single room in Lady Eaton, and it was good. Living on campus gives you the opportunity to get involved easily and it is easy to meet new people. Living Costs I saved some money before I went on exchange, my parents also gave me some money on a monthly base and I also got some money from a student loan. My living expenses abroad were much higher than in Tilburg, probably because living on campus was really expensive and we did a lot of fun stuff as well, going out a lot, going on trips etc. I think I spent most of my money on food and going out. If you live on campus, you get dining dollars. You get 1700 dining dollars, which seems like a lot, but in fact it is not. The food in the cafeteria is really expensive, so I had to be careful with my money, to make sure that I did not need more at the end of my stay. I do recommend to get a fridge, so you can keep some stuff in your room. I did not have one, so I had to go to the dining hall every time I wanted something to drink or eat. I do recommend living on campus, but it is expensive. If you do not want to live on campus, there are also a lot of places in town where you can live, and it is easy to get on campus by bus. Approximate monthly budget: Housing/food: Transport: Books: Miscellaneous: 900,00 euro Free 80,00 euro 150,00 euro Academic Calendar I arrived on the 5 th of January on Campus. We had a one-day introduction program. So, the first day of the semester was on the 7 th of January already. I finished early, my last day of classes was in the end of March. In February we had a mid-term break. It is called reading week, and it is the week before the mid-terms start. I had one examination period in February, and the final one was in April. I finished my exams on the 18 th of April, which is really early compared to my final exams in Tilburg. The International Office Trent does have an international office. Kate Logan is responsible for incoming exchange students. They are really nice and helpful at the International office, and a lot of international students are working there as well. They helped me out really well in Canada, I had to make some changes in courses and they provide you with really good information. You can go to the International office if you have questions about courses, payments, activities etc. Exchange promotion I did go to some meetings with all the other incoming and outgoing exchange students. I told them about Tilburg University and about being a student in Tilburg. Social Activities The international office organized a lot of activities for international/exchange students. They organized a trip to Niagara falls, a trip to a maple farm, dinners, cultural outreach performance and many more. The student organization for international students is TIP/TISA. Because of the TIP/TISA program, I got in touch with many other international/exchange students, so I think they were really helpful for my stay abroad. I also travelled with some of the exchange students that I met at Trent,

3 Culture and Language I did not experience a culture shock while being on exchange. Canada is a developed country, and even though a lot of things are different, there are also a lot of things that are the same. The people are really friendly and nice. They are so helpful and laid-back, something that I really liked. They are also really warm and welcoming, which is great when you go to a new place/country, where you don t know many people yet. I think the main difference for me was the food, they love fried/fat food. I really had to get used to that in the beginning. Furthermore, they speak English in Ontario, so I did not experience a language barrier, which also made it a lot easier. I did not follow a language course during my stay. I think the norms/values of Canadian people are also similar to Dutch people, so I found it easy to adjust to the Canadian culture. Personal development I learned a lot from my exchange period. I met a lot of people from different countries with different backgrounds, so I learned a lot about different cultures and values. I think that is one of the most important things that I learned from this experience, because it is something that I will take anywhere I go and it will be helpful. This experience taught me to be very open minded and to listen to people s ideas/opinions, to find out where they are coming from. One of my best experiences were the ice hockey games that we went to and just the dinners with friends and having a laugh. In the beginning I found it a bit hard to adjust, because everything went so quick and we did not have a lot of time to settle in before school started, so that was the part that I was not too thrilled about. I will never forget the great people that I met during my exchange, and the beauty of Canada. It is such a beautiful country with such nice people, that is something that will make you feel at home. III ACADEMIC INFORMATION Academic level at a host university The courses at Trent were offered in English. So all the courses that I followed were in English as well. I had to take 5 courses, I took the following courses: - Gender, race and class - Discovering social theory - Managerial and market research - Perspectives on occupational health and safety - Law, rights and development - Depending on what your major is and what your interests are, I would recommend the Perspectives on Occupational health and safety course. It is part of the business administration program, and it is a third year course. It is really interesting and the teacher is really good as well. I learned a lot of useful things in that course. I found the workload higher at Trent, I had to do 5 courses at the same time and the period is only 4 months. They give a lot of small assignments that count for 10/15/20 %, so I had to do more smaller assignments in order to pass the course. Though it was more work, the material was easier sometimes and they gave higher grades. Many of my classes at Trent were small and interactive. Most profs knew me by name and they were always really friendly and helpful, whenever you needed it. Most of my classes were only once a week, 3 hours. They combined lectures with seminars. Sometimes the first part of the class was just a lecture, and in the second part you had to do some little assignments. Even though the workload was higher, it paid off in the end and I am happy with my results. Exams For four of my classes I had a mid-term test in February and a final exam in April. The exams contained open-ended questions, multiple choice questions, and sometimes essay questions. For the fifth course, I had to write two papers and I had to give a group presentation.

4 Other Trent has a nice library where you can go and study in silence. There are a lot of books that you can rent in the library and you can make use of the public computers and silence areas in the library. During exam periods, the library will be open longer and there will be later buses from and to campus. Please fill in all the courses you have taken: Course Prerequisites Exam ECTS Comments 2080H Managerial 1,0 ADMN Written 6 Two large group and market research credit assignments 3260H Occ. Health 60% or Written 6 Many and safety higher in assignments each of ADMN 2220H and 2230H 3120H law, rights and development 2110H Discovering social theory 38 60H gender, race and Class - Essay 6 Hard course, but interesting and a good professor None Written exam 6 Weekly online assessments None Written exam 6 - The perquisites for all courses can be found in the syllabus. Though, for an exchange student you have to get the approval from the professor. I was able to follow all these courses, even though three of them are not related to my current program. So it is not really a problem if you do not have the prerequisites for the course, as long as you ask the professor/board. Tips for the future students: I would definitely recommend an exchange period. I learned a lot from my exchange, not only in class but also a lot of personal development. It is not always easy and fun, there will be moments that it can be a bit overwhelming, but that is also part of the journey. I really enjoyed my stay abroad and it taught me a lot about other people and the world. I would do it again if I could. One thing that is really important, is to start early with arranging stuff for your exchange period. It can take a long time before you get a response when you try to arrange stuff, so it is better to start on time, and not wait until it is too late. Make sure you bring a lot of warm clothes when you go in January, because it gets really cold, even upon arrival. I also learned that you have to be flexible. I had to change some courses when I arrived and there was a misunderstanding with the room that I applied for. So even when you have arranged everything on beforehand, it can still be that you have to change stuff when you arrive, you learn to deal with those things. But it is a great experience that you ll never forget. Blog: I kept a blog while being abroad. If you re interested, you can have a look at it by clicking on the following link:

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