Things to Consider
Choosing the Right Global Learning Experience
Once you have completed Step 1 by exploring your options it is time to assess what is best for you.
A tool that you may find useful is the (PDF file) Program Comparison worksheet (external link) developed by the University of Missouri’s International Center.
If you haven’t already, one of the first things you should do is think about the reasons why you want to participate in a global learning program. Check out our “Why Should You Go Abroad” section of our website to get you started.
Some preliminary questions to ask:
- Why do I want to go abroad? What are my goals for doing this?
- How may my experience shape my future goals, either personally, academically, professionally, or otherwise?
- How long would do I want to go abroad for? Would a short-term activity (a few days to a few weeks) or a long-term activity (a semester to a year) interest me more?
- How much money am I willing/able to budget? How do the costs of different programming compare? Check out our Financing Your Participation page
- How much structure am I looking for? Do you want someone to do most of the organizing for you, or would you like to be more in control of where you go and what you do?
- When is the best time to go abroad, given my program requirements and any family/work commitments I may have?
Talk to staff after exploring the opportunities available. Make sure to review all relevant information online and make appointments with the appropriate staff.
Check out social media and blogs across campus that either focus exclusively on global learning opportunities, or that regularly feature them. This is a great way to learn about other student experiences. Visit Ryerson International’s student blog (opens in new window) and Instagram account (external link, opens in new window) !
Talk to past student participants: Learn what a particular experience was like for another student(s) Many past participants will come back to volunteer with the program, so don’t be shy and ask to be connected with someone who has already done it.
Consider global learning through your own lens: Check out the key considerations and resources available in our Diversity and Study Abroad section.
It’s always important to think about how your global learning experience will fit into your academic plan at Toronto Metropolitan University. Many opportunities can count towards your degree requirements. Here are some key examples:
- Participation in academic exchange involves the transfer of credit back to your degree at Toronto Metropolitan University for successfully completed courses approved by your program coordinator.
- Some Faculty-Led Programs are either tied to course requirements or are a stand alone course in and of themselves. Check in with the activity coordinator and/or program lead to be sure if credit is a part of the program.
- Some work abroad opportunities may be eligible to count towards program requirements such as placements, internships and Co-op.
- For external programs to Toronto Metropolitan University (such as what are available on our Summer Programs page) you must complete the Letter of Permission process in order to assess and receive approval for credit transfer of completed courses/programs.
Make sure to consult with your academic program advisor to understand if you may be able to receive credit and how time spent abroad may affect your program requirements overall.
One of the biggest things to think about when choosing a program is where you will be going. This not only includes considerations about the country you will be visiting, but also the types of housing options available in the city, town, community, etc. There are a number of questions to ask yourself when evaluating your global learning destination:
- How important is it for me to be geographically close to my friends and family while I am abroad? Example: Do I feel more comfortable going somewhere closer to Canada, like the U.S., or would I consider somewhere very far away like India or Australia?
- What is the relationship between my host country and Canada, and/or my country of origin?
- Do I want to go somewhere urban or rural? What is daily life like in the area?
- How will I get to the country/region I am thinking of going to? How much will travel cost?
- What languages am I comfortable speaking/studying/working in?
- What are some destination-specific considerations depending on my identity and social location? (check out our Diversity Abroad resources)
- Are there any travel, safety or medical risks associated with the region?
Note: Our partner International SOS develops risk ratings for all countries. If the risk is deemed high or extreme students will need to complete a Travel Risk Management Plan. For more information see section 5 of the Mandatory Pre-Departure Steps.
- Is housing provided as part of the program I’m participating in or do I need to secure my own housing?
- If visiting a university, are there on-campus housing options available?
- How much does housing cost in the region I’ll be living in if I’m securing it on my own? What types of options are available (student housing, homestay program, etc)?
- How soon in advance should I start looking for housing? Are short-term rentals hard to secure?
Going abroad isn’t something that is always understood or supported by family and friends.
Parents/family/guardians can be apprehensive as it may be a new idea to them. You may need to take some time to clearly explain your goals (please see tab above for details), reasons of interest and how you intend to plan for the opportunity.
Here are some questions to ask yourself and/or your activity organizer when it comes to family and friends:
- How will I explain the process to family and friends?
- How can I explain to my family that a global learning experience can contribute to the achievement of my academic and career goals, as well as my personal growth and development?
- How can I demonstrate that going abroad doesn’t necessarily mean that my graduation date is delayed?
- How will I involve my family in my decision to go abroad, if at all? Will they be financing any portion of my experience?
- How will I address any concerns they may have regarding the cost? (See our Financing Your Participation section)
- How will I keep in touch with family and friends while I am abroad?
- What resources are available for my family and friends?
- If no one in my family has ever studied abroad, who can help me answer their questions as I plan my experience?