Despite a busy term 1 schedule, I decided to use an hour between classes to visit the Global Experience Fair. I’m heading on exchange to Sweden in January and I wanted to see if I could get some advice from other students who had just returned from their experiences abroad. I arrived around noon and the concourse of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre had already transformed into a bustling fair.
As I walked through the booths, I could tell that there was a lot of interest in Asia and Europe. Students were crowding around to get a look at the collage of university pamphlets on the tables. As I got closer to the front there were two friendly students, Simon and Natasha, who were happy to chat about their experiences. Luckily for me Simon was an exchange student from Sweden! He gave me some great travel tips for when I head to Lund next term. Natasha, a UBC student who just returned from France, told me how amazing it was to study in Europe because it gave her so many opportunities to travel.
As I continued my way through the fair, I was reminded of how knowledgeable and supportive the Go Global staff and advisors are. This was incredibly reassuring because going abroad is a serious commitment, so it’s good to know that there are dedicated people at UBC ready to help with the process. It was great see an ESP ready to answer questions at the budgeting booth. Her best piece of advice for students thinking about going abroad but are worried about finances? Plan early. I completely agree. It’s not that fun or glamorous, but budgeting and applying for awards can make your experience a lot more affordable.
Before I left, I decided to check out the Global Seminars booth to see what courses they’re offering this time around. I definitely regretted not applying to a Global Seminar course earlier in my time at UBC. For those of you who don’t know, Global Seminars are UBC courses taken somewhere else in the world so the credits are guaranteed to transfer back. While I was there, I chatted with two students who were interested in the 15-credit Northwest Territories course. They said they looking for a more immersive experience and that was exactly the kind of thing they wanted to try. I wholeheartedly encouraged them to apply!
If you missed the Global Experience Fair this year, here’s a quick recap of my experience:
- Go Global offers a lot more than just exchange programs. There are Global Seminars, Research Abroad programs, Summer Abroad programs, and programs designed specifically for students in certain faculties.
- Everyone is excited to talk about studying abroad, so it’s easy to make friends at an event like this.
- The Go Global advisors and staff are friendly and are there to support you.
- If you’re worried about budgeting or transfer credits, Go Global has a lot of info to help you plan.
- You have to be proactive about planning the experience you want.
Go Global holds info sessions every week so if you missed out on the fair, you can still learn about specific programs in-person. Advisors and student ambassadors run the sessions so they’ll be able to answer any of your questions.
Photos courtesy of Philippe Roberge.