International Student Profiles 2021-2022

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International Student Profile is a program where students who are in second year or above to share about their experiences at UTM. Students will share about their journey at UTM or being in Canada. Topics range from the stories of overcoming obstacles, re-adjusting plans and dedication in facing challenges, sharing their success stories with other students, and/or their personal growth. These student stories aim to motivate students to share their stories with other students to let them know they are not alone in these moments.

Meet Tasya

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Student's Story

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I went to high school in Singapore where we had to choose a stream in our second year of high school. I was 12 at the time and there was a lot of external pressure to pursue the “pure sciences” stream. Being so young, I yielded and decided to take up the chemistry/physics stream (my high school did not offer pure biology). This meant that when I would begin university, I would have to continue to pursue the sciences. At the time, I liked it enough to stay in the program even though, deep down, I knew my interests lied mostly in biology and the social sciences.
When I moved to Canada, I continued to pursue chemistry and applied to UofT’s Chemical and Physical Sciences department. In the beginning, I did well in CHM110 but soon enough, my lack of passion in the subject area caught up to me and my grades began to slip. It was very difficult to come to terms with the fact that I no longer wanted to pursue something I had been working my whole academic career for but after talking to the academic and student counsellors from the Office of the Registrar and the Health and Counselling Centre, I managed to find the courage to switch programs. I found a subject called “anthropology,” something I had never heard of before, and decided to take it to fulfil my distribution requirements. To my surprise, I became very invested in anthropology and rediscovered my love of learning and reading! I’m in my fourth year now, about to graduate with a specialist in anthropology. To all students out there, I encourage you all to follow your passions, not just what people expect of you. There is so much more to learning and education than the grades you receive.

Meet Maria 

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Student's Story

I first came to Canada for an exchange program in 2016. My English was not the best, but I made some friends and we bonded over music. They introduced me to k-pop, a genre that I hadn’t heard before. In fact, that exchange program was the first time I came into contact with cultures different than the one I was raised in and the one I saw in the media. In Brazil, people love to share the art they consume, but most people have more-or-less the same cultural background, so it was nice to hear people sing in a language other than Portuguese or English. A couple of years later, I returned to Canada to attend a boarding school in Hamilton. There, I made friends from all over the world, which really broadened my horizons. I noticed that many of my friends spoke Mandarin and I became interested in learning the language, which is a journey that I am still on.
Since starting my studies at UofT, I have attended Language Conversation Circles and the Global Intercultural Fluency Training Series. Through these programs hosted by the International Education Centre, I was able to connect with others who shared in my interest of globalizing my perspectives while further developing my social skills. Since then, my interests have expanded from k-pop to TV and music from various countries, including Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines. Learning about so many different cultures has inspired me to dive deeper into my own as well, which lead me to pursue a Latin American and Caribbean studies Minor! If I had one piece of advice for my First-Year self, it would be to not be afraid to try new programs that university gives you access to, as well as volunteer opportunities. Even if you are shy, you can make new friends and open up new doors!