International Programs Office

International Programs Office

International Programs Office

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Learn about exchange from a Peer Adviser

Exchange Peer Advisers are returned exchange students who have undergone training so they can advise their peers on how to best prepare for the program. They attend events and spend 1.5 hours in the International Programs Office each week so they can meet with students who have questions about the exchange program. 

                  Monday             Tuesday          Wednesday           Thursday
9:00am-10:30am  Wendy

Miranda

 Ria Alexandra
10:30am-12:00pm      Stevie

Abigail

Alan Mikaela
1:00pm-2:30pm

Rhiann

Roy Jackie Emma
2:30pm-4:00pm

Leila (BISC)

Emily Sara Vicky

Interested in meeting with a Peer Adviser?  Email the IPO (ipo@queensu.ca) or drop by to book an appointment! Sessions are typically 15 minutes long.

Wendy
Exchange Country: Japan
Host University: Keio University

Discipline: Con-Ed/BIOL

Studying at Keio University in Japan was one of the most meaningful experiences I’ve had so far!

It was a great opportunity for me to fully immerse myself in another culture, experiencing the local life while getting involved in the student life, and having the opportunity to live in Tokyo, the most populous metropolitan area in the entire world. In between studying, I attended local club events and travel around Japan.

I loved getting involved with local students, watching the famous Keio vs. Waseda baseball game, celebrating all kinds of Omatsuri (Japanese Festival), wearing Kimono (traditional Japanese garment) and most importantly, tasting all kinds of local Japanese food. Besides that, I met a lot of people from all over the world and it is really fun exploring Japan with them.

The four months were a truly enriching experience, I really wish I could do it again!

Stevie
Exchange Country: Singapore
Host University: Nanyang Technological University

Discipline: LISC/MATH

Stevie's Testimonial is coming soon!

Rhiann
Exchange Country: Wales, United Kingdom
Host University: Cardiff University

Discipline: SOCY/PSYC

I did my exchange at Cardiff University for the Winter 2018 term, and it has absolutely been the highlight of my university experience. I was able to challenge myself to be more independent, adventurous and open to new experiences in ways that I would have never done while at home. I now have new friends all over the globe, and cannot get enough of traveling! 

Leila
Exchange Country: England, United Kingdom
Host University: Bader International Study Centre

Discipline: POLS

My name is Leila Oudeh and I am a fourth year Political Studies major that has returned from my term abroad at the Bader International Study Centre - a truly unbelievable experience.

Going to school in a real castle, in England, was nothing less than surreal. My experience was shaped by the people I met and the places I went. Over the span of 3 months I had visited 9 countries and absorbed more knowledge than I thought possible.

There is something unique about learning while traveling; being able to experience things first hand surpasses any other medium of learning. Being a Political Studies major, the Politics and Law Field Study program in which I was enrolled at the castle, ameliorated my capacity to contribute to relevant discussions all while being able to introduce nuanced perspectives on topics at hand.

Not only did I learn a new breadth of knowledge in my field, I also learned so much about myself in such a short period of time. I firmly believe that the opportunity to travel while learn in a new setting is something that should never be passed by. 

Miranda
Exchange Country: England, United Kingdom
Host University: University of Warwick

Discipline: POLS/PHIL

I am so thankful for the eye-opening time I spent at Warwick University on exchange. My exchange in the UK was a very rewarding experience as I was able to take unique courses which broadened my horizons in academia and had the opportunity to study alongside some brilliant domestic and international students of likeminded mindsets. Inspired by the passion my lecturers and module directors had, I developed a whole new area of interest in European politics that has carried over into my studies back at Queens and my future ambitions.

 Like Queen’s, the University of Warwick has many extracurricular opportunities. I joined a theatre society and made some close friendships that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I strongly recommend getting to know the locals in your exchange city and university, through my friendships I learned a whole new side of England and their culture that I am so grateful for. 

My exchange experience changed my perspective on the world and challenged me to grow in ways I would not have had the opportunity to do so otherwise. Thank you to the IPO and Queen's for giving me this incredible opportunity and support to learn from leading scholars, meet new people and explore new places! I encourage anyone thinking about exchange to explore their opportunities!  

Abigail
Exchange Country: Chile
Host University: Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

Discipline: HLTH/SPAN

I recently returned from a semester studying at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, in Santiago, Chile. It was truly one of the best experiences of my life.

In Chile I made incredible friends from all over the world, and had the opportunity to travel to amazing sites around Chile and even in Peru and Argentina. The exchange community in Santiago provided endless opportunities to meet other students from around the world, join conversation groups or dance classes with locals, and travel all over Chile with other students.

As a Spanish and Latin American studies minor, my exchange greatly enhanced my degree by giving me the opportunity to practice the language with native speakers, immerse myself in a Latin American culture, and study many aspects of the countries through classes as well as by visiting sites and talking to locals. In addition to impacting me academically, I grew so much personally. From gaining more maturity while navigating living on my own in a city so different from my home, independence while travelling solo and with friends, and becoming more comfortable communicating with people from different linguistic and cultural backgrounds than my own.

I will truly never be the same after my exchange.

Roy
Exchange Country: Scotland
Host University: University of St. Andrews

Discipline: FILM

I can still picture every frame of my wonderful year at the University of St. Andrews, from the moment I arrived at the Edinburgh airport, to the first time I wore an iconic red gown; from a weekly dining at the local fish and chips store, to a life-changing road-trip along the famous Baltic Way.

St. Andrews might not be the most interesting place in the world, but after fully indulging myself into its beauty for almost a year, I can proudly call it home for the rest of my life. To me the idea of exchange is about spending a certain period of time to step aside from your familiar world and explore more beyond your recognition.

It is not necessary but one would never return with regrets, instead the whole experience sparks endless wanderlusts and surprises. Friendships, travels, academic challenges and sleepless nights spent on long distance buses. #ILOVEMYLIFE

Emily
Exchange Country: Australia
Host University: Monash University

Discipline: DEVS

I was on exchange at Monash University in Melbourne Australia winter semester 2018. It is difficult to summarize the six impactful months in which I was abroad in only a few paragraphs. Reflecting on my experiences, I now understand the variety of ways that an exchange can be valuable beyond looking good on a resume. It teaches life long skills of adaptation, flexibility, problem solving, and ultimately provides opportunities to test one’s independence. 
 
Melbourne as a city fit my interests perfectly. There is an excellent mixture of art, culture, entertainment, great food and so much more. It was easy to spend a day getting lost in everything the famous laneways had to offer. Being so far away from home, I took it as an opportunity for discovery. I travelled to places I had only previously dreamed of. Australia has always been a bucket list location and I feel truly lucky to have been able to cross it off so early in my life.  On the academic side, Monash University offered an excellent campus environment that fostered learning with engaging courses and innovative teaching. Majoring in Global Development Studies, I had a unique opportunity to gain a new perspective on subjects that I had previously studied at Queen’s. In particular, I took an Indigenous studies course at Monash and was able to learn about the similarities and differences between the Canadian and Australian contexts. Finding a school that not only met my academic requirements, but also matched my academic interests was a key component in the positive outcome of my time at Monash.
 
Although at times exchange did offer its challenges and pushed me to step out of my comfort zone, it was all for the best as I have learned so much from my time away and have grown as a person as a result. I cannot recommend exchange enough to anyone who is considering it as it provides learning opportunities that a classroom simply cannot offer. 

Ria
Exchange Country: Scotland
Host University: University of Strathclyde

Discipline: KINE

Hi everyone! My name is Ria and I am a 4th year Kinesiology student. Last January, after dreaming, planning and preparing for exchange, I boarded a flight to Glasgow, Scotland and jumped head-first into my exchange experience at the University of Strathclyde. 

For me, the best part of being on exchange was the that each day brought with it something new. Whether it was meeting a new friend, exploring a new city, immersing myself in a new culture or simply trying a new food, I learned to love the unpredictability. This experience taught me to appreciate the ‘newness’ of each day and opened my eyes to the reality that each day holds endless opportunities – sometimes you just have to seek them out or put aside fears and reach out to grab them! 

Going on exchange doesn’t end when you touch down on Canadian soil. By learning so many life lessons, exchange can truly be an experience that ‘keeps on giving’.  Exchange taught me (or perhaps I should say ‘forced’ me) to be independent, but also helped me learn how to ask for help. For me, exchange was a great ‘reset’ time; a semester where I could focus more on learning about the world and discovering my place in it, than simply on my course work. 

Although going on exchange was one of the most incredible experiences of my time as a Queen’s student, it was not without its challenges. Course selection was frustrating and did not, in any way, go according to plan. Living away from friends and family and organizing my life in a new country was also overwhelming and emotionally draining at times. But now, upon returning, I know that these challenges have made me more resilient and more able to ‘go with the flow’; they were all part of the learning experience. Going on exchange can be one of the best choices you will ever make. Will it be easy? Probably not. Will it be worth it? Absolutely! 

Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions or concerns about exchange! I am always happy to help and can’t wait to live vicariously through the stories of future Queen’s exchange students!
 

Alan
Exchange Country: The Netherlands
Host University: University College Maastricht

Discipline: STATS/ECON

My first year was spent at BISC, the castle campus in the UK. Everything was different from the main campus and it was a life-changing experience for me, so I promptly applied to IPO’s Bilateral Exchange program once I knew about. I was grateful being selected to the University College Maastricht (UCM) for a whole year last year. Now, I am also working at the IPO as a peer advisor after returning from the Netherlands because I think this opportunity is life-changing and I would like to advertise it to more people. These two valuable years of studying abroad taught me to think locally and act globally.

Thinking locally is the course name of BISC100 in which I learnt at BISC castle. The course gave a brief conceptual framework of culture, society and their impact on individuals whilst mainly focusing on British national identity. Starting from the history of the castle, we spent the fall semester on archival research about the relationship between culture and the individuals within it. We realised individuals were unconsciously affected by the community and the corresponding culture. Studying abroad is a good opportunity of integrating into different cultures. By doing so, I truly understood the existence of cultural difference and learnt to respect it. I worked at a local horse farm near the castle with my professor for a year. My major role was feeding horses. Beside of working, I talked with people from the local village, so I got a better understanding of British culture by integrating into the local community rather than reading biased secondary resources such as TV news at home. 

Acting globally is the course name of BISC101, the course followed by BISC100. Whilst keeping talking about cultural identity, it switched the concentration from understanding to cultural exchanging in action. We learnt about the process of re-visiting, re-thinking and possible cultural hybridity when getting into another different culture. I travelled around Europe again last year when studying at UCM and paid more attention to local museums. Then I realised there were great cultural differences among cities and small countries in terms of lifestyle, architecture, collective memory etc. In May 2018, I joined an excursion hiking along with UCM classmates to the Camino de Santiago in Spain. It took us for a week. We hiked during the day and slept in a local gym at night. It was organised in a very different way comparing to road trips in North America. Since these UCM classmates also shared distinct cultural backgrounds coming from different EU countries, we learnt a lot from each other during the trip.

In conclusion, the exchange experience completely transforms my understanding of the world, so I would love to suggest more students going abroad.
 

Jackie
Exchange Country: Hong Kong
Host University: Chinese University of Hong Kong

Discipline: ECON/PSYC

I went to The Chinese University of Hong Kong for exchange during the fall term of 2017. Being an exchange student was not that easy than what I expected, life was completely new which somehow pulled me back to my first year in university.

However, challenges are always accompanied by surprise. I made lots of new friends from all over the world and they brought me many fascinated ideas and views. Jumping out of comfort zone is a hard and difficult decision. Thus, I thought if I chose to jump, why not jump further? I joined my college’s volunteering community as the only non-local student, our job was to teach English to local primary school students. Moreover, I took Cantonese class and participated in activities that held by the CUHK Office of Academic Links. 

It might be tough and uncomfortable at the moment when you were undertaking it, but I still felt worthy because all the experiences shape who I am today!

Sara
Exchange Country: Israel
Host University: Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Discipline: POLS

This past winter semester I skipped the cold Kingston weather to live in the Negev desert of Israel for four months.

I had a very unique and one of a kind exchange experience as I went to Israel completely alone in the midst of a very tense political time, which was daunting before my departure. While Israel was not my first choice and I was afraid of the uncertainty of this exchange, it turned out to the be the most amazing life experience full of immense learning and growth. I made amazing friends from all over the world, interned at an NGO, and discovered what I want to do with my future with the help of my professors.

While I was abroad I travelled every single weekend from camping and cliff jumping in the Golan Heights to hiking in the desert. I spent my time jet skiing and swimming in Eilat, floating in the dead sea, exploring the city of Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem and discovering neighbouring countries as well. I visited Petra in Jordan and went on a spontaneous road trip around Cyprus for a weekend. I had the opportunity to completely immerse myself into a new country and a new culture over the course of a semester and I had the best time of my life.

Through my experience I learned that no matter where you go, your time abroad will be what you make of it

Alexandra
Exchange Country: Taiwan
Host University: National Taiwan University

Discipline: LING

Last August I packed my bags, chose my courses and anticipated moving out of my parent’s house just as I have every year when returning to university.

This year however, when making my to-do list I added a few extra steps; ‘book the cheapest one-way flight to Asia’ and ‘apply for your visa before it’s too late’, as my quickly approaching year as a Queen’s student would be slightly different than the last.  I was confident that I was in store for what would be the best year of my life.

Over the past year I found nothing but happiness and found myself consumed by wanderlust; exploring Taiwan and all of its’ unique qualities which validly named it the heart of Asia. From the beautiful temples scattered across the island to the crystal clear waters of Sun Moon lake and the generosity of the locals, studying internationally at National Taiwan University has taught me the importance of breaking free from the constricting walls of comfort zones and narrow mindedness in pursuit of happiness and understanding.

My experience abroad has allowed me to reach previously undiscovered goals, along with a new level of self-understanding and the specific type of confidence that only comes with successfully ordering a cup of coffee in Mandarin with no mistakes for the first time. I know that the values I have developed will stay with me for the rest of my life.

Taiwan has become my home away from home in such a short amount of time, I can easily say that applying to study abroad has been among of the best decisions I have ever made!

Mikaela
Exchange Country: Sweden
Host University: Lund University

Discpline: SOCY

I went to Lund University in Sweden for exchange during the Winter 2017 semester and I couldn’t be happier with my decision to do so!

Going on exchange enriched my university experience for the better, it forced me outside my comfort zone and provided me with a new level of independence. It gives you new perspectives- no matter where you go on exchange-  on your academic, relationships and  your life back home. The opportunity to travel and explore new countries and cultures is one of the amazing things exchange allows for, but also is the time spent in your host city making new connections and integrating into that community.

In regards to academics, going on exchange gave me a global perspective into my area of study and new insights various cultural backgrounds . For me personally, studying abroad in Sweden gave me a glimpse to the kind of future I may want to lead. My exchange experience has left me with incredible friendships, lifelong memories and a new global appreciation. 

Emma
Exchange Country: France
Host University: Lyon 2, Université Lumière (ORA)

Discipline: HIST/FREN

My name is Emma Holland and  I had the privilege of traveling to Lyon, France for my exchange where I studied at the Université Lumière Lyon 2 during the 2018 Winter Term.

I had an amazing time while I was on exchange. While living in France I was able to experience a completely different school system and culture. I ate foods I had never tried before and was able to travel to places I had never even heard of. I met people from a multitude of different countries and had experiences that I never imagined I would. Although at times living in a different country and speaking a different language proved difficult, the lessons I learned and the memories I made are irreplaceable.

Vicky
Exchange Country: Germany
Host University: Universität Mannheim

Discipline: APEC/GRMN

January 6th to June 29th, 174 days. It was the best and happiest 174 days in my life. I am amazed at the things I have experienced, and I am surprised that how much I have changed in six months. 

I am so proud of myself to make this decision and step out bravely two years ago. I found my best friends, they helped me find myself. They are the angels on the earth. We listened to everyone’s story and we found truly freedom and happiness in this new life. We spent the most valuable time together in a beautiful foreign country, overcame the old awareness, found out more meanings in the life and encouraged each other to seek more incredible adventures. I am very thankful, to myself, to everyone who helped me in this journey. The feeling that I am reborn is so powerful and meaningful. I have a world in my heart. I am not lonely inside any more, I will always have those people, and I am sure they will have time for me. They showed me how interesting and broad the world can be. 

I gained more self- and culture-awareness during this period. It is very exciting to see that there are so many people live so differently on the other side of the earth, but somehow, we also share kindness, values, and dreams, and a lot more. I want to thank everyone I met in Europe, stranger artiest in Venice; the policeman in Berlin; the Art professor at the subway station in Barcelona, etc., they taught me how you can live your life with the meaning you put in itself, and you will find the direction of your dream. 

Air Canada, Flight from Toronto to Frankfurt am Main on January 6th, life-changing flight ticket. Going on the exchange is the life-changing decision, and it is the best decision I have ever made.