How does the idea of spending Carnival in Venice sound? Riding sled dogs through the Scandinavian arctic? How about watching the cherry blossoms bloom in Japan or getting smashed on cheap beer and going surfing naked in Australia?
If you answered anything other than “ew, why would I ever leave my room,” then I’ve got news for you: university can get you to those places. Whether or not you take the opportunities the University of Waterloo offers is totally on you.
The most obvious choice is to go on exchange. Exchanges are mostly done in your third year (if you can keep your grades up), and checking out Waterloo’s outbound exchange agreements are a great way to get you fired up to ace that soul-sucking accounting assignment.
There is a lot of paperwork involved, so get started early! Don’t worry, it is 100 per cent worth it. You pay the same university fees as you would to Waterloo and have the opportunity to have your courses directly transfer from your school abroad to Waterloo, meaning even you engineers have no reason not to go.
Exchanges are an amazing way to submerge yourself in a language and culture potentially different than your own. Nothing says life experience like desperately miming out needing a washroom on a weekend trip to Verona.
The great part about having a home base outside of Canada is that it makes travel easy! Spending your weekends exploring new countries sure as hell beats sitting inside shuffling your Magic deck for hours. Unless that’s your thing.
Or how about doing volunteer work with one of the university colleges, St. Jerome’s, in Peru or Guatemala?
You can take field courses abroad or summer program/research internships in other countries. There are even lots of co-ops abroad if you make sure to apply the right JobMine filters. I’ve heard of people teaching in Turkey, working in ski chalets in Switzerland, and spending a semester “quality testing” beers in Germany.
Not a shabby thing to put on your resumé, eh?
Plus, you can try to fit the Global Experience Certificate into your degree by using an exchange or other international experience to qualify. And that certainly does look good on a resumé.
In the end, whether you decide to take your education abroad or stay right at home, be sure to use the University of Waterloo as an opportunity to push out of your comfort zone and branch out into new unfamiliar territory. We are an extremely international school — don’t let all the learning opportunities that come with that pass you by.