(Click on photo to enlarge)
The Study Abroad Fair, an information session for students held in the
Atrium on January 23, attracted a lot of students who particularly enjoyed
talking to current and recent participants about their travels. However,
far more Concordia students should take advantage of new exchange opportunities.
Photo by Marc Bourcier
by Eyad Hamam
This year, Concordia is host to 331 exchange students: 164 in Arts and
Science, 100 in Engineering and Computer Science, 14 in Fine Arts and
53 in the John Molson School of Business.
Only 83 Concordia students are studying abroad on exchange but
thats a substantial increase over the 29 who went on exchange before
the recent introduction of the MEQ Student Mobility Bursary. The breakdown
by Faculty is 27 students in Arts and Science, none in Engineering and
Computer Science, 11 in Fine Arts and 45 in business.
The infusion of money from the Quebec government gives more students the
opportunity to study in a foreign country, according to Frederick Francis,
assistant director of the Centre for International Academic Cooperation
(CIAC) at Concordia.
One of the main reasons students dont study abroad is money,
but were hoping the grants will encourage more students to apply.
Its an eye-opening experience for them, and it gives them more opportunities
to do graduate work abroad, and makes them more valuable in the job market
after they graduate.
Francis was one of the speakers at a CIAC information session for students
held Jan. 23 in the atrium of the downtown library building.
In the fall of 2000, the Quebec Ministry of Education set aside $30 million
in bursaries ($10 million a year for three years) for students who want
to study abroad. Concordias share for the first year is $1.2 million.
Only Quebec residents are eligible for the bursary, which ranges from
$750 to $1,000 a month, depending on where they choose to study. Studying
in Western Europe and the U.S. tends to be more expensive than studying
in Eastern Europe, South America and Asia, and this factor determines
the amount of money students receive.
Were already seeing results, Francis said. The
number of Concordia students going abroad increased from 29 to 83 after
the bursaries were introduced.
Despite the increase, however, the number of exchange students coming
to Concordia still exceeds the number of Concordia students going abroad
by more than four to one.
Mitch Blobstein, a commerce student at Concordia, went on exchange to
France during the fall of 1999. During his stay at the University of Ceram
in Nice, he met many new people, saw a different culture and learned new
ways of studying.
In France, he explained, students give presentations on the fly, whereas
here, they tend to prepare for them more. I had a great time there,
and since I got back Ive been getting better grades, he laughed.
The bad part is that by the time youve settled in and made
friends there, its already time to leave.
Another complication is the amount of bureaucracy you have to go
through before you can leave everything from getting medical papers
and immigration clearance to getting signatures from your professors and
advisors. Students need at least six months to get all their paperwork
done, he said.
Despite the amount of preparation, however, Concordia student Kirsten
Daub still wants to go to Mexico next fall to continue her studies in
Studying abroad is a complicated issue, so if you want to do it,
you have to do the research and legwork by yourself, she said, while
looking through information handouts and bursary application forms. I
want to go to Mexico to be in a situation where I can speak Spanish every
day, and also learn about how other people live.
Twenty-one-year-old Laurent Barthelemy arrived in Montreal in August from
Dauphine, France. He is spending one year at the John Molson School of
Business as an exchange student.
The reason I came was to get experience from another culture, and
a different business culture, he said. In France, public universities
are much bigger than here, with more people in each class and less interaction
France-Quebec exchanges get preferential treatment. French exchange students
in degree programs pay the same low tuition as Quebec students. As a result,
the vast majority of exchange students at Concordia are from France.
Quebec students who want to study in France get some nice bonuses: an
extra bursary that covers their airfare, information sessions on departure
and arrival in France, and a free night at a hotel.
However, CREPUQ, the association of Quebec universities, also has agreements
with universities in many other countries, and Quebec students are also
eligible for a bursary of $750 a month to study for a term or an academic
year at another Canadian university.
Professor Balbir Sahni, Director of the CIAC, says that each Faculty and
school at Concordia is gearing up for an increase in outgoing students,
thereby helping us realize the true internationalization of Concordia
by fostering a two-way flow.
Eyad Hamam is a journalism student from Jordan.
opportunities for study abroad
Tomorrow, Friday, Feb. 8, a representative of Queens
University who is at Concordia to take part in the business schools
Undergraduate Case Competition will be available to talk to students about
an interesting program in the United Kingdom.
Eric LeBlanc, manager of international programs at Queens, will
be in Room H-773 of the Hall Building from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. to talk
about the International Study Centre at Hertsmonceux Castle, a historic
building in East Sussex that was given to Queens and made into an
educational facility in 1994. More information is available at http://www.queensu.ca/isc/.
The Université du Québec à Montréal and the
University of Toronto are partners in a program offered by the new Canadian
Universities Centre/Centre universitaire canadien in Berlin, Germany.
Two credit courses will be given in French next summer, LAllemagne
au 19ième et 20ième siècle: Histoire et idées
politiques and Les relations internationales de lAllemagne au XXième
siècle, and a course in English, German Cinema as Political and
For more information, please contact the Centre for International Academic
Cooperation, L-AD-207, 848-4987.