Amy Thompson (BSc Accounting and Finance 2018)

Amy Thompson

Tell us about the skills and experience you have developed by studying abroad.

Taking a year abroad has given me some fantastic skills that I would not otherwise have been able to develop to their full potential. This includes adaptability, confidence in my own abilities, facing challenges and working outside of my comfort zone. One major skill that my year abroad has had a positive impact on is cultural awareness. I am able to stand back from a situation, and understand other potentially different points of view and ideas. I am also able to discuss my own ideas without seeming forceful or imposing

Of all the skills my year abroad has promoted, cultural awareness and sensitivity will be the most useful to my future career.

What were the host university and your particular department like? 

I found everyone incredibly welcoming and supportive, as well as passionate about Canada. As I have learnt about Canada's history, some of my impressions about Canada have changed. For example, Canada is often viewed as a peacekeeping nation, but history shows this is not necessarily the case. This doesn't change day to day interactions, but it has made me appreciate how important it is to know about history. 

The Goodman School of Business feels like a close community at the university, particularly in higher level modules where many students have worked together for a few years. The exchange department at the Goodman School also work very hard to make you feel welcome, providing help with academics and anything else you need. 

The academic system is very different to Leeds. There are a lot of smaller graded components over the course of the semester instead of a final exam that is heavily weighted. This makes time-management really important.

The university itself is a small campus university (10 minute walk from one end of campus to the other), close to a convenience store, a pharmacy and some fast food outlets. Most of what you need is on campus. Extra shopping is a short bus ride to the nearest shopping centre, or to downtown. The university is surrounded by beautiful scenery and historic trails and sites.

I would say if being in a busy place is important to you, consider a larger city as your destination. On the other hand, if you are interested in the beautiful Canadian scenery and do not mind a more peaceful area (bearing in mind Toronto is roughly an hour or so away), then it is a good place to come.

Are there any places of interest in the city/surrounding area that you would recommend?

A visit to Niagara Falls is essential – the university organised trips in both September and January, and it was nice to see it in both seasons. There is also a local waterfall called Decew Falls which is beautiful in summer. Around the area there are various hiking trails, and one edge of the University campus is bordered by forests through which some of the trails are accessible. The downtown bus terminal is a stop on many of the Megabus connections, so it is easy to get to Toronto and into Buffalo, just over the border in America. From these two places both Canada and America are easy to get around.

What was your overall impression of the experience?

The experience of studying abroad was great. The international students from all over the world are very like-minded, so it is easy to make great friends who are willing to travel with you. I think any experience abroad would be a fantastic opportunity for anyone, regardless of the destination. Just take in the advice of past students, because this is really valuable!