Studying Abroad

For my first semester of college, I studied at a remote castle in Southern England.

“Bad experiences are good experiences too,” was literally the only thought that kept me going throughout the year following my return to Montreal — yup, it took me a FULL YEAR to finally stop listening to that voice inside my head saying “Tessa, you shouldn’t have went.”

Although I no longer regret my decision to study abroad, (in fact I probably learned more that semester than I will learn during all my years at McGill), I wanted to share the factors I wish I would have paid a little more attention to prior to saying yes to what seemed to be, (and what I guess was), an opportunity of a lifetime. ✈

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To go on exchange or not to go on exchange

Dublin, Ireland

Montreal is an amazing city so it could seem a bit extra to go spend a semester or a year elsewhere… but the benefits of going on exchange are pretty endless. If you have the opportunity to live, study, and make friends in another country, you should definitely do it. Now is the time.

McGill has relationships with so many schools across the world. Often, you can make arrangements to study abroad to most any school of your choice. However, specifically with exchange, you avoid paying those international tuition fees and you continue to pay your same tuition to McGill.

Explore any opportunities for scholarships, and plan to work the summer leading up to exchange to save up. Depending on your budget, that may eliminate some locations due to cost of living, like London, but the flights can be so so cheap once you get over there (bless Ryanair).

If you’re at all on the fence about going on exchange, here are my responses to some common objections.

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Do Your Country a Favour. Leave.

There are many advantages of doing study abroad or going overseas for graduate school, such as making employers say, “I want you.”

Please read the following in a British accent, “Do your country a favour – leave,” as it was an admissions officer from King’s College who said that at the QS Grad School Fair that I attended last week.  CaPS’ Linda Cicuta, who was presenting at the Thinking About Grad School workshop, also said that it is encouraged for students to go to a different school for graduate studies.  As such, I will discuss the professional benefits of going overseas.  Then I will analyze a potential dilemma.  Say, hypothetically, you fall in love with the man of your dreams, and do not want to go far away?

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