Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne
Exchange Student At The School Of Graduate Studies (St. George Campus), 2020-2021
How did being online impact your virtual exchange experience? What were some positive experiences you had even though the exchange was online?
Since the exchange was online, I did not really expect to build new friendships or have deep connections with people I could not meet in person. But surprisingly, I have made some friends and had great conversations with fellow students during the seminars and after the lectures. I believe that the academic culture at U of T is so oriented towards teamwork, human qualities and sharing that it reduced the distance usually generated by online settings. Therefore, I not only had great online experiences with the fellow students, but I also had nice encounters with my professors.
Did you have any favourite virtual events or resources that you took part in or used? What were they and why did you like them?
I really enjoyed taking part of the MoveU HappyU program because it allowed me to challenge myself in the sports field, and more specifically, to take care of myself with a great U of T coach. It was particularly helpful since the pandemic could be depressing. I also enjoyed participating in the student life workshops, particularly, the Better Coping Skills workshops. I appreciate the fact that U of T offers comprehensive support that values your mental, emotional and physical health. This is key to academic success, and all the more so during a remote exchange.
What are some non-academic things you learned during your exchange experience?
During my exchange experience, I learned to feel good about my accent when speaking in English, and even to be proud of it as it reflects my cultural background and openness. In fact, studying at U of T shows you that many of your fellow students and professors are not native English speakers which helps you to feel comfortable when speaking publicly, but more importantly, not to keep your ideas to yourself for fear of making mistakes. And I can honestly say that despite my mistakes, the students and professors have never belittled me, in fact, they even expressed some admiration for the language skills we, international students, demonstrate.
“I appreciate the fact that UofT offers comprehensive support that values your mental, emotional and physical health. This is key to academic success, and all the more so during a remote exchange”