I went on exchange at University of Toronto in term 1, 2019-2020, and it was really an amazing experience.
Founded in 1827 and located in downtown Toronto, University of Toronto is one of the best universities in Canada. As a public research university, it is a global leader in research and teaching. University of Toronto also has lots of ancient buildings, and the Trinity College is the filming spot for Harry Potter. The unique architecture attracts lots of tourists. UofT is located in Toronto, Canada’s most populous city, with diverse population. Over fifty percent of residents belong to a visible minority population group, and the diverse population makes Toronto one of the most culturally diverse cities in Canada. We can find Chinatown, Koreatown, Little Italy, Little Portugal, and other cultural areas in the city. Therefore, I could taste the fine food from all over the world, which makes it much easier for me to adapt to the life there. Toronto is also a prominent culture center, with many museums, theaters, galleries, exhibitions and other cultural events. It is a very livable city with lots of parks and fresh air.
University College at UofT
The Convocation Hall at UofT
During my exchange, I took several major courses, and experienced the different teaching methodology from CUHK. The classes are more active, with more class activities and I could feel a stronger sense of participation. I found that more engagement in classes will result in a better learning outcome in a relaxing atmosphere. Compared with CUHK, the degree of difficulty is roughly the same, but the workload is heavier.
Fireworks at Nathan Philips Square
Besides the activities on campus, I also attended many cultural events by which I learned a lot about diverse cultures. One of the most impressive activities is Nuit Blanche, which is an all-night arts festival of the city of Toronto. Lots of arts exhibitions took place at multiple places in the city simultaneously. I visited some exhibitions near the Nathan Philip’s Square. There was a large Japanese-inspired Zen garden, called ‘Lunar Garden’, which was really unique and manifested the diversity of Toronto’s culture. In addition, to see how Canadians celebrate various festivals, I also went to the Halloween street party and the Christmas Market. During my free time, I visited the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Royal Ontario Museum. I also watched the famous musical Cats with my friends at the theater, which made me start to appreciate the art form of musicals.
The Zen Garden at Nuit Blanche
Toronto Christmas Market
During my time in Canada, I also traveled a lot to view the grand nature of this beautiful country. When I first arrived in Toronto, my friends and I went to the Toronto Island and the magnificent Niagara Falls. In the reading week, we traveled to Montreal and Quebec city, which are both in the French speaking province of Quebec. After the semester ends, we went to Yellowknife to see the aurora, and after that traveled to Banff National Park.
Aurora at Yellowknife
Banff National Park
Overall, I had an exciting, enjoyable and fruitful time during my exchange in University of Toronto. Never in my life had I experienced so many new and interesting things in such a short time. I gained lots of knowledge through lectures and tutorials, and also learned a lot about other cultures in my daily life. I made some good friends, and we had a good time and shared some exciting moments. I also had a glimpse of what it feels like to study abroad, and got more prepared for further study abroad, since I have known the differences, barriers, and difficulties I might encounter, and more importantly, how to embrace and deal with them. When I first set foot on the foreign land of Canada, I was so uncertain and even concerned about my life ahead. It turned out that I got so much warm help from so many people, including friends, teachers and also strangers. I am grateful for everyone I met.
View from Robart’s Library in UofT
Feel free to leave your comments here if you have any question about my experience~