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. 

Interested in meeting with a Peer Adviser? Sessions are typically 15 minutes long.

Book an appointment with International Programs Office using SetMore

  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday
9:00am-10:30am  Victoria J.

Abby H.

 Katie S. Emily R.
10:30am-12:00pm      Ally B.

Rachel F.

Graham H. Gladys X.
1:00pm-2:30pm

Sarah W.

Erin V. Sinead O. Sarah O.
2:30pm-4:00pm

Victoria S.

Yue Z. Rebecca S. Yael G.

 

Victoria J. — a BIOL student who studied at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.
Exchange Country: Chile
Host University: Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

Discipline: BIOL

I spent four wonderful months studying at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile during the Winter 2019 semester! When I get asked about exchange, I always say that it was by far the most exciting yet challenging experience I’ve ever had.

As with many exchange students, I had the incredible opportunity to travel most weekends (and when I wasn’t travelling, I was exploring the amazing city of Santiago itself). I sand boarded down sand dunes in the northern Atacama Desert, and saw massive chunks of glacier crash into the water below in Patagonia in the south. I surfed for the first time in Pacific Ocean (and learned that it’s harder than it looks!) and during my travels I managed to get myself lost more times than I can count! But even more memorable than the places I went were the people I met.

Soon after arriving, I became friends with other exchange students, including someone from Germany who had previously studied at Queen’s on exchange! I also had the privilege of living in a homestay with a local woman, who I quickly started referring to as my “Chilean Mom”. She would make amazing dinners and we’d sit for hours talking in the evenings. Whether I was on a crowded subway or hiking in the mountains, there was always a Chilean who was eager to talk to me and be patient with me as I practiced my Spanish. After asking where I was from, they’d more often than not tell me about some friend or relative of theirs who lives in Canada, and then proceed to tell me that while they’d love to visit Canada, they are afraid that it is far too cold!

These experiences taught me a lot, but my biggest lesson learned was that “it will always be okay”. During the stressful times (which inevitably happen when you’re on exchange), there was always someone who was more than willing to help. I learned to go with the flow, not take things too seriously, and to trust that things would eventually work out (which they always did!). I am very thankful for the experience of exchange and I’m already very excited to return “home” to Chile!

Chi Chi Chi! Le Le Le! Viva Chile!

Ally B. — a DEVS/POLS student who studied at École de Gouvernance et d'Économie de Rabat.
Exchange Country: Morocco
Host University: École de Gouvernance et d'Économie de Rabat

Discipline: DEVS/POLS 

For my Winter 2020 exchange, I attended École de Gouvernance et d’Économie à Rabat (EGE), in Morocco. When I was thinking about exchange, I knew I was looking for something totally different and challenging. My experience was just that. Morocco was a challenge; experiencing a language barrier, a religious culture, a different communication style day-to-day. But it also was the best learning experience! I learned to love hearing French and Arabic every day. The style of dress and call to prayer reminded me of the integral part religion plays in this country I admired. And the energy! Morocco has a hustle and bustle un-like many other!

Studying at EGE gave me the opportunity to take courses studying this area of the world (Middle-Eastern Northern-Africa), which I had never studied before. Through my courses I was able to engage with other students –both international and Moroccan– to gather a multitude of perspectives on political and economic issues. I was also able to study the Moroccan dialect of Arabic, giving me helpful conversational skills during my travels, and aiding my integration into the city.!

My exchange experience was incredible and exceeded my expectations to grow and learn! I am so grateful to the IPO for giving me this opportunity, and thankful to my community in Morocco which made me feel like I will always have a home in Northern Africa.

Sarah W. — a Con-Ed (PSYC) student who studied at Cardiff University.
Exchange Country: Wales, United Kingdom
Host University: Cardiff University

Discipline: Con-Ed (PSYC)

I completed my exchange at Cardiff University in the Winter 2019 semester. I can honestly say that it has been the highlight of my undergrad so far! I've wanted to do a study abroad program since I started at Queen’s, so my expectations were quite high. I was NOT disappointed, to say the least.

Cardiff University offered so many fascinating courses that are not offered here at Queen’s. I got to learn in a different style than I was used to and learn about psychology and child development from a new perspective. Additionally, Cardiff was a perfect city for an exchange - not too big, but always something to do ... and full of students. Wales in general is such a beautiful and welcoming country! Overall, by attending Cardiff University, I got to take interesting courses, experience Welsh traditions, and travel around Europe. It truly was a memorable experience; and it will not be the last of my international endeavors!

Victoria S. — a PSYC student who studied at Bilkent University.
Exchange Country: Turkey
Host University: Bilkent University

Discipline: PSYC

During my time studying abroad, I had the incredible opportunity to see, learn and experience so much more than I ever could’ve imagined. I met people from all around the world passionate about very diverse things and took advantage of the many chances to explore aspects of life that I had never considered before. In every possible way, my study abroad experience was a success and I am eternally grateful for the chance to participate in such a great program.

Since I have been home, the most common question I have been asked is whether my exchange “met my expectations”. The truth is, I had no idea what to expect when I left for exchange; but what I did experience exceeded any expectation I could’ve had. I was able to take classes that focused on many of my specific academic interests in classes much smaller than I had been a part of before. My professors examined course content from a fresh perspective and encouraged me to engage with our material in a new way. I developed a new passion for learning and broadened my definition for what learning could look like.

While I spent a great deal of time learning in the classroom, I was also able to travel through the country, and to a few nearby, learning about cultures that had previously been unfamiliar to me. Trying new foods, speaking a new language and attempting to navigate new social systems became less intimidating at every turn as I pushed myself out of my comfort zone. I left feeling excited about the possibilities waiting for me in the world and empowered to ask questions about the things I still have yet to learn. Participating in a study abroad program gave me the confidence to take advantage of every opportunity, whether it be close to or far from home. I know that the experiences I have had will continue to shape my worldview and future decisions in every way.

Abby H. — a MUSC student who studied at University of Groningen.
Exchange Country: The Netherlands
Host University: University of Groningen

Discipline: MUSC

Getting to study at the University of Groningen in the Northern Netherlands was one of the most enriching and transformative experiences that I’ve ever had. Studying in Groningen allowed me to be fully immersed in Dutch culture and I was able to make meaningful connections with professors and students in all my classes. The courses followed a more theoretical and research-based approach than Queens, which I am now finding to be a very useful tool in my studies. What I really enjoyed about the classes I took was the small size because I got to know the professors very well which helped me to remain engaged academically.

Going to school in the Netherlands provided me with several opportunities to travel to different cities within the Netherlands as well as to different countries close by. Being able to see so many new and amazing places only further enhanced my entire exchange experience. Exchange pushed me out of my comfort zone in unimaginable ways and allowed me to grow academically, make friends from all around the world and taught me skills that I can use for a lifetime. The five months that I spent abroad were truly incredible and I am grateful for every moment, I wish I could do it all over again. !

Rachel F. —  a LISC student who studied at University of New South Wales.
Exchange Country: Australia
Host University: University of New South Wales

Discipline: LISC

Hi there! My name is Rachel and I had the incredible opportunity of studying at The University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney, Australia during Winter 2019. Participating in the exchange program was a life-changing experience that I highly recommend.

Living on the other side of the globe and immersing myself in a different culture allowed me to gain independence and learn more about myself. It was incredible to live in an exciting and vibrant city, while furthering my education in a new and unique learning environment. At UNSW, I was given many fun and educational learning opportunities, such as hands-on learning, group-work, independent study, and even field trips to the beach! Through meeting new people, seeing new sites, and experiencing new cultures, I can confidently say that going on exchange has truly changed my life for the better!

Erin V. — a LISC student who studied at University of St Andrews.
Exchange Country: Scotland
Host University: University of St. Andrews

Discipline: LISC

Going on exchange to the University of St. Andrew's for a full year allowed me to make connections around the world, have new experiences and challenge myself academically and personally. I had the opportunity to take courses that I wouldn't have been able to take at Queen's such as "Biology of Marine Organisms" while also being able to satisfy the requirements for my Life Science Specialization. In these courses, I was able to meet lecturers and researchers from the UK and beyond and learn about their research and get a more global perspective on Life Sciences. As a science student, I was also able to develop my scientific and essay writing.

While at St. Andrew's, I joined clubs that allowed me to see Scotland in a unique way. I was able to paddle and surf in the North Sea as well as kayak rivers throughout Scotland. I also got to ski without snow (which I didn't know existed) and compete in the world's largest dry slope championships. Joining these clubs allowed me to make strong friendships with other exchange students as well as students from St. Andrew's.

One of my favourite parts of St. Andrew's was the many traditions I got to experience when I was there. From being adopted by an academic family, participating in Raisin Weekend (complete with a foam fight) and running into the North Sea at sunrise for May Dip I really felt like I was part of the St. Andrew's community and I made some incredible memories. My exchange experience was absolutely incredible and I would recommend exchange to anyone who is interested in going!

Yue Z. — a FILM/DEVS student who studied at Nanyang Technological University.
Exchange Country: Singapore
Host University: Nanyang Technological University

Discipline: FILM/DEVS

I am happy that I went on an exchange because the experience in Singapore has impacted my whole undergraduate career remarkably. By learning and living in a new environment, I was able to reflect on my past experience and set out reasonable goals moving forward. Learning a different subject was my most rewarding experience. I took courses that introduced me to an area of study that I want to pursue further in the future. Throughout the whole semester, I was always exposed to new knowledge, and the process of learning also makes me appreciate the uniqueness of my program back at home.

I got to know so many amazing people who I became close friends with during this journey. Although we all come from vastly different backgrounds, the exchange life bonded us quickly. We studied and traveled together and will have a reunion next summer in Asia!

Katie S. — a LISC student who studied at Aarhus University.
Exchange Country: Denmark
Host University: Aarhus University

Discipline: LISC

This past winter term I had the opportunity to go on exchange at Aarhus University in Denmark. It was my first time overseas and easily the highlight of my university experience. I went into exchange not knowing anyone and left with amazing friends that I plan on travelling with again.

One unique aspect of my exchange experience was my involvement in a research lab at the university hospital. I was able to independently conduct experiments in collaboration with a local fertility clinic, which exposed me to a career in Obstetrics research and gained myself some valuable connections. I would encourage anyone interested in an exchange to get involved in extracurriculars at your host school, whether it be academically focused or something fun. My research involvement as well as the university’s different style of assessments made my exchange a very academically enriching experience.

Graham H. — a ENVS student who studied at University of Oslo.
Exchange Country: Norway
Host University: University of Oslo

Discipline: ENVS

Hello everyone! My name is Graham Hauptman, in 2018-19 I did my bilateral exchange at the University of Oslo, in Norway. Being on exchange for the whole year was an absolutely incredible experience, I can’t express the how much I enjoyed living and studying in another country for a whole year.

On exchange it’s so easy to make friends with other international students, as you all get accustomed to navigating life in a foreign country. The relationships I made in Oslo are so meaningful to me, and I’m thrilled to have made some lifelong friends from all over Europe and beyond. Every day we were hanging out together at the University, playing soccer, volleyball, or climbing as a group, and then cooking dinners together, it was a beautiful routine. I lived in a close-knit international community in one of Oslo’s student villages, Sogn. There it was easy to meet people serendipitously, at the grocery store, at the student center, in the laundry room, or while travelling on the bus or metro. This is what I loved most about Oslo, even though we were all students from divergent backgrounds, with different languages, cultures, and passports we were together in this colorful community, it was amazing. I loved it so much that I strongly consider going back to Oslo for graduate school next year.

I’m really grateful for the opportunity that Queen’s and the IPO gave me to go on exchange, I think it was an experience that literally changed the course of my life, in the most positive way. If you’re curious to learn more about exchange, come chat with me, I’d love to tell you more, cheers!

Sinead O. — a DEVS/CLST student who studied at Leiden University.
Exchange Country: The Netherlands
Host University: Leiden University

Discipline: DEVS/CLST

Last January I packed up and flew to the Netherlands for the bilateral exchange program at Universiteit Leiden. I lived in The Hague - the international city of peace and justice, as well as the political capital of the Netherlands. Living in such a thriving international city was inspiring and pushed me to always put my best foot forward.

As a Global Development major, this was an incredible experience. I was able to actually see places that I had learned about in my studies. For example, I have learned about the International Court of Justice in class but I was now living a quick fifteen-minute bike ride from the Peace Palace. Studying in the Netherlands showed me a new, more post-structuralist, perspective to my degree. After learning with new approaches and narratives, I am able to continue my Global Development degree with fresh eyes.

Among the many things I learned about Dutch culture, such as gezelligheid and how to warm stroopwaffle, I learned things about myself that I could only have learned by living in a different country. I was able to challenge myself in ways, for me, only an international experience could provide.

I also learned valuable lessons from so many different cultures while on exchange and I try to integrate those lessons into my daily life. Being part of the international community was one of the highlights of my exchange experience.

 

As I write this, I have been back in Canada for almost two months and not a day goes by without reminiscing about my time in The Hague. It is such a privilege to travel and I am so grateful that Queen’s was able to help me in gaining this phenomenal experience.

 

Rebecca S. — a DEVS/PSYC student who studied at University of Warwick.
Exchange Country: England
Host University: University of Warwick

Discipline: DEVS/PSYC

During the Winter semester of 2019, I had the chance to study at the University of Warwick in England. This was definitely one of the most incredible and unique experiences I’ve ever had. The opportunity to learn in a completely different environment in a different country was new to me, but I was soon able to become fully immersed in British culture. I spent six months studying Global Sustainable Development at the University of Warwick. The GSD department was very new, having only been established three years prior to my arrival. I learned that I was the very first exchange student to be studying with their department. This was a very exciting opportunity, as I was able to work closely with the department to ensure I got the most out of my time studying abroad.

As the university welcomes many exchange and international students, I was able to learn among peers of various backgrounds which I found made my experience that much more enriching. I particularly enjoyed the small class sizes, which allowed for greater opportunities to participate in class discussions and getting to know professors.

I felt at home at Warwick, as the size of campus and student population are very comparable to Queen’s. The university is located just outside the city of Coventry, and takes about 20 minutes by city bus to get to the city center. With London less than two hours away by train, I found Coventry to be a hub for travel to various destinations across England.

I enjoyed studying on campus, as there was a wide selection of study spots to choose from. I found myself spending my time studying in one of the many cafes that could be found on campus, as I felt their vibrant atmospheres were conducive to getting work done.

There were a lot of opportunities to get involved on campus, including a variety of sports teams, clubs and volunteer opportunities. The campus was always bustling, with various pop-up shops in the Student’s Union, including farmer’s markets, vintage clothing sales, and food trucks.

 

Overall, my time studying at the University of Warwick was truly an unforgettable and special experience that I will be forever grateful for.

Emily R. — a HLTH student who studied at University College Utrecht.
Exchange Country: The Netherlands
Host University: University College Utrecht

Discipline: HLTH

I had an amazing time on exchange at University College Utrecht (UCU) in the Netherlands for the Winter 2019 semester! The life experiences of my International and Dutch peers made courses such as Global Health and Cross-Cultural Psychology all the more fascinating. I also took courses out of my comfort zone like Introductory Art History. Seeing the pieces of art that I learned about come to life as I traveled across Europe was a surreal experience!

Traveling through the Netherlands and other countries in Europe during exchange made me realize how Western and British focused the histories are that we are taught in Canada. I found it fascinating learning about the histories of countries I never had the opportunity to learn about in grade school, such as Spain, Austria, and Hungary. By learning these histories, my view of the world has expanded!

Exchange has been the highlight of my undergraduate degree and has led me towards seeking international opportunities for graduate school. I was able to make an incredible group of international friends, widen my taste palate by trying various cuisines, and expand my knowledge of the world. Also, living in a Dutch city has made me an expert bike rider! I highly recommend any exchange experience! !

Gladys X. — a DEVS student who studied at Lund University.
Exchange Country: Sweden
Host University: Lund University

Discipline: DEVS

I went on an exchange to Lund University in Sweden for my past academic year. To me, studying abroad has truly been an eye-opening experience where I got the exposure of different cultures and gained a better understanding of the world I am in.

No prior knowledge of Swedish, not knowing one single person going to Lund with me, and no accommodation secured until six days before I boarded my flight, everything seemed daunting and uncertain for me in the first place. However, I am forever grateful that I took the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and challenge myself. Reflecting on my past year, I am positive to say that I have emerged to become a world citizen with a broader mind and more courage to accept new challenges.

Learning in a new country helps me to reshape my way of thinking about many things in life. Through my time at Lund, I had the opportunity to interact with students from all over the world. When I first arrived at my accommodation, I lived on the floor with six other Swedish students. We had many deep conversations, and it made me realize how little I knew about the world and how I was restrained in the stereotypes I grew up into. All the six of them have bonded with me in a profound level and they made Lund a home away from home for me. I also joined the Association of Foreign Affairs during my time at Lund. From visiting the UN headquarter in Copenhagen to chatting with the Japanese ambassador to Sweden, the opportunity of studying abroad really opens many opportunities that I would never dream of having.

The courses I took at Lund are different from those I normally take at Queen’s. For example, I took one archeology class in ancient Rome. We had an entire day to visit the Royal Danish Museum in Copenhagen and explore history more vividly. Through a visual presentation of the ancient Roman sculptures, history has become more than just abstract words from a textbook. I gained a better understanding of how the history unfolded and the significance of Roman civilization.

To me, this is not just one year spent in a different country, it also marks a journey of personal growth. I witnessed how myself grew into a world citizen with a bigger mind to appreciate the diversity of the world and reflect on my privileges and limitations. Through the obstacles I faced in a foreign country, I also learned to become more independent and solution-oriented. Sweden, you are truly unparalleled. I will forever treasure this experience in the deep of my heart.

 

Sarah O. —  a MAPP student who studied at University College Dublin.
Exchange Country: Ireland
Host University: University College Dublin

Discipline: MAPP

One of the best decisions I ever made was to do a full year exchange to Dublin, Ireland. While studying there I was able to look at my degree from a new perspective. I took courses that further immersed me in where I was, including Music in Ireland, Irish Cinema and Archaeology. These courses not only informed me about the history of Ireland but allowed me to have hands on experiences. My archaeology class, for example, allowed me to take field trips across Ireland to see and study Neolithic as well as Passage and Portal Tombs.

I also had the incredible opportunity to follow my passion for travel and photography while abroad. I applied to a local student travel company and was hired on as their travel photographer gaining experience in marketing as well as being able to travel across Ireland for free. I further went on to travel Europe on my own having the opportunity to travel to a total of 16 countries! These trips also allowed me the the opportunity to work on the new film techniques I was learning in school. As a result, in each country I created travel vlogs to help other travelers see how to travel and see the world on a student budget.

My exchange to Ireland built my confidence enormously and fed my love for learning. I loved it so much that I even ended up staying the summer, having the incredible opportunity to become a marketing intern at the Oscar nominated animation company, Brown Bag Films, in Dublin, Ireland. Exchange taught me that anything is possible if you just take that leap of faith, and I can tell you from experience that it's well worth the jump.

Yael G. —  a Con-ed (HIST/ENGL) student who studied at University of Edinburgh.
Exchange Country: Scotland
Host University: University of Edinburgh

Discipline: Con-ed (HIST/ENGL)

Studying abroad at the University of Edinburgh was the best experience I have had. Although I was already pretty independent, exchange taught me to take advantage of every opportunity - whether it was to study a class not offered at Queen’s, to go on a trip, join a club or go to events despite not knowing anybody, etc. It also taught me how I want to spend my time after university.

Edinburgh was super cool because there’s history everywhere and that it is such an international city, but still has a strong Scottish culture. I got to travel to many places, but my favourite memories are weekends spent exploring Edinburgh, learning how to live with my five flatmates who were all from different countries around the world, and all those times I climbed Arthur’s Seat to watch the sunset (if you’re heading over there - best stress relieve ever). It’s also such a short period of time that it forces you to just be yourself, and thus the friendships you make are truly genuine.

If you’re thinking of exchange … GO!!! Queen’s will always be here to welcome you home, but the opportunity to immerse yourself in a whole new culture and environment is a one of a kind experience that you won’t regret