Students from both of Concordia’s campuses interested in pursuing academic exchanges in countries around the globe showed up in droves to Concordia International’s first-ever Study Abroad Fair last week.
Those in attendance were offered information about the programs available to them, and were presented with the over 200 destination options for students interested in pursuing an exchange, including Egypt, Germany, Australia, Singapore and Brazil.
Andy Lang, the manager of student mobility for Concordia International, said that although the deadline to apply for exchanges is Feb. 1, the organization decided to hold the fair midway into the fall semester as there are many things for students to consider before officially applying for an exchange.
“It’s completely up to them to decide where they want to go in terms of destination, but we also encourage them to think about where to go in terms of a fit for their program,” Lang said. “You’re looking for a double match: you’re looking for a place that interests you and that you’d want to spend a semester or a year in, but also a place that’s going to enhance or complement your program.”
Lang estimates that between 750 and 800 Concordia students partake in exchanges every year, a number made less surprising by the extensive turnout to the fair.
While eligibility requirements vary depending on the specific faculty, in general students must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA and must have completed at least 24 credits at Concordia in order to be considered eligible for a foreign exchange.
Bianca Morgan, a graduate of Concordia’s anthropology department, attended the Study Abroad Fair to show her support for the organization which afforded her the opportunity to study for a year in South Africa, and to share her story with students considering going on exchanges.
Morgan, who attended the KwaZulu-Natal University in Durban from 2009-2010, referred to her difficulties with integrating socially with the people in Durban because of the segregation that lingers in post-apartheid Africa.
“When I first arrived it was kind of jarring because I am used to being in Montreal, riding my bike and being out all the time, but there you can’t be out at night and there are so many walls and big compounds with electrical wiring,” Morgan said.
She eventually got over the culture shock, saying that she “learn[ed] to move with the rhythm of people.”
Mattias Graham, a film production student considering exchanges in France or China, attended the Study Abroad Fair on the Sir George Williams campus and expressed his pleasure at how the event simplified the information-gathering process.
“It’s definitely nice to see the options right in front of you – you don’t have to dig through a website with varying degrees of success.”