I’m from Arica, Chile. I’m a full-time student in the Med in Higher Education at OISE, University of Toronto. I chose Canada because it’s a multicultural and multilingual country, I know I would be safer as a woman compared to my experience in Chile. I wanted a place that would care about indigenous lives and acknowledge the value of migrants’ stories and the lgbtq+ community.
- Why did you choose the University of Toronto?
The University is the number one in the country and 23rd in the world ranks. The education department, OISE, is one of the few with an interdisciplinary lens to education as a whole. Their vibrant research and academic staff stand from the rest of other departments because of its social impact. The learning experience is holistic and focuses on social justice. You will learn from excellent professors who are top-notch in their areas, and you will have access to the most comprehensive research and scholarly resources.
- What was/is your favourite things about the University?
It is lively, diverse and inclusive. There are many great opportunities for graduate students to connect with others and find like-minded people to network and share. Graduate students tend to be more isolated because of the nature of their program. Still, the University with all of its units offers a wide variety of clubs, work-study opportunities, mental health resources, and excellent sports facilities. Plus, it is incredibly safe. For instance, before this pandemic, every Thursday morning, I attended to some crafting sessions held by HartHouse. It was a therapeutic time for self-care, meeting people, having some free coffee or tea, and making some crafts.
- How was/is your experience as an International Student?
Welcoming. As I said, the University and the country are culturally aware of their demographics; you may find places to eat, places to pray and worship, and opportunities to improve your language skills in an academic setting. There are support and guidance. You will not feel like an island.
- How was/is student life like on and off-campus?
It’s been entirely satisfactory. There are opportunities to work on campus as well as off-campus, and I appreciate that. I guess I have had a great experience living with a Canadian family and connecting with the customs and their culture. The only downside of Toronto is its high rent price. It is challenging to find a place that is not pricy downtown. Therefore, I decided to move north and rent a place that can be affordable.
- Any advice for future candidates that would like to come to Canada to do their graduate studies?
Since I have my prior experience studying in the UK, I strongly recommend Canada If you are an international student. It might be cold in winter, but the cities are well prepared and suitable for such weather. I would recommend preparing their applications in advance. And UofT requires you to mail or post your documents. So that is something to consider in terms of time and your budget. Also, if you are worried about a tight budget, Canada is a great place to work, and there are plenty of job opportunities for us international graduates. Therefore, I recommend you to attend any workshop they may offer before and after you enter, and always check on the campus tours. UofT is an enormous campus, so, even if you have classes only in one department, go sightseeing in other units. You may find other libraries, places to eat, read and study, and perhaps do some exercise.
Master in Pharmacy Practice – University of Alberta
I am from Chile and I did my Master’s studies in Pharmacy Practice. I wanted to pursue grad studies in an English-speaking country. I love nature, and Canada has some of the most stunning lakes and forests. Also, Canada is well-known for being a multicultural country that offers high-quality education, so I thought it was an excellent place to be.
- Why the University of Alberta?
I wanted to study abroad to expand my vision about pharmacy practice and gain tools to do research in the future to contribute to my home country’s health development. When I started looking at different options, I found Dr. Hughes’s research area (sexual health), and I think she was not only a great match but also working with someone I looked up to.
- Did you receive any scholarships to help fund your studies?
Yes, I am sponsored by my country (Becas Chile). It is a competitive scholarship, and you apply once you are already accepted in the program.
- What was your favourite thing about the University?
My favourite thing about the UofA and my faculty are the facilities we have to study and do our research, and the friendly environment I have felt anywhere I go.
- How was your experience as an International Student?
It has been the best experience of my life, the best decision I could ever make. I love how multicultural Canada is. I have met people from all over the world, and that is such an enriching experience. I have grown as a professional, but also I have matured.
- How was student life like on and off campus?
On campus, you have a lot to do, it is super green and we have amazing libraries to study and work. There are so many student groups that there is something different to do every day. Edmonton is a beautiful place, it is not a crowded city, and I enjoy that, people are friendly and polite. You can get around quickly in the city by bus, walking, riding a bike. There are so many places to try different food and the parks where you can chill on a summer evening. I love Edmonton’s nature, and it looks different in all seasons. I love running, so I have enjoyed the city a lot.
- Any advice for future candidates that would like to come to Canada to do their graduate studies?
Pursue your goals, and you will find the way. I found it essential to recognize what I was looking for, as grad studies are like a full-time job, you have to enjoy what you are doing, your area of research. Embrace the challenges, and you will have satisfaction at the end. Canada is a beautiful country, and it has several high-quality universities where to study. It depends on the province, but do not be afraid of winter, it has its beauty.
Carla Abarca Segura
PhD in Chemical Engineering – McMaster University
1. Where are you from?
I’m from La Florida, Santiago, Chile. I studied my Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at McMaster University, and previous to that, I did my Bachelor in Industrial Chemistry at Universidad Católica de Chile. I was always captivated by Canada’s fame of being “The Good Neighbor” and one of the best places to live. Since day one, I knew Canada was a beautiful country, and I felt proud and happy to had the opportunity to start the next chapter of my life in this diverse, tolerant, and open-minded country.
2. Why McMaster?
My road to McMaster U. started when I was finishing up my Bachelor Thesis, and I started working at BASF (a German chemical company). My mentor, a leading scientist at BASF US at the time, motivated me to study in Canada and gave me some recommendations for Universities, among them McMaster, his Ph.D. alma mater.
He introduced me to Dr. Robert Pelton, my supervisor, a distinguished Chemist in the paper industry that worked in Chemical Engineering. I got captivated by his research topics, collaboration with Industry and background. Then, I didn’t doubt he was the best fit for what I wanted to study, applied chemistry to Industry and daily life.
3. Did you receive any scholarships to help fund your studies?
I applied to Becas Chile – Equal of opportunities scholarship, one year before I got to Canada. Thanks to the scholarship, I was able to improve my English, prepare my University applications, and to be successful at the Ph.D. path.
3.1. If so, can you tell us more about the scholarship you received?
At the time, this scholarship given by the Chilean government allowed their scholar holders to level their English before and during their applications to the Universities also helped them with the fees to apply for the English course, tuition, living expenses, and medical insurance. However, this scholarship has quite a strict retribution policy, in which the scholar holders have to pay back the award by coming back to live in Chile, and that is the only way to “reattribute” to the government. Some Chilean graduate students are working hard to make this contribution more flexible since research, knowledge transfer and collaboration with the government can be done from anywhere in the world.
4. What did you enjoy most about McMaster?
McMaster University has a lot of attractive characteristics: it has an integrated layout that allows you to meet people from different faculties and disciplines in a beautiful, green and intelligent environment; it has a great student community with many activities, sports and clubs to explore your interests beyond your studies, such as the Latin American club, graduate societies, soccer tournaments, and dancing classes; and it has extensive partnerships with The Industry for fostering collaboration and applied research.
5. How was your experience as an International Student?
In the beginning, I was a little frightened to find myself alone in a new country and learning a new language. Still, fortunately, soon enough, I met beautiful people and made new great friends, I started volunteering in different societies and clubs, and Canada became my second home.
6. To date, what professional opportunities has this degree brought to you?
During my studies, I had the opportunity to work with one of the biggest Nickel producers in the world, and my supervisor supported me to attend several conferences and seminars in the field – Chemistry, Polymer Science, Mining and Chemical Engineering. Also, my extracurricular activities, such as Redicec (Chile – Canada Research Network) and EGS (Engineering Graduate Society), allowed me to network and developed collaboration ties with other researchers and colleagues in disciplines beyond Chemical Engineering, such as science public policy, administration, and social science.
All these opportunities boosted my resume to work in Industries that need a strong technical background but also excellent people skills. Thanks to this journey, I’m finding my passion for business development, mineral exploration, and geochemical analysis.
7. Any advice for future candidates that would like to come to Canada to do their graduate studies?
The most important advice I can give is to reach out to people all the time when you feel good and happy as well as when you feel lonely and sad. I was able to build deep relationships by joining and co-founding several clubs and organizations of my interest (in my case, Latin culture, dancing, and Chilean connections for fostering knowledge and researchers’ mobility). You need to make a new home from scratch, and I’m not talking about material things but a community; people that make you feel you belong to this new, unknown and exciting place that will now be your new home for the years to come.
PhD in Language and Literacies – University of Toronto.
I am a Chilean English teacher (EFL) with a MA in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) from the Universidad Metropolitana de Ciencias de la Educación. I have 15 years of experience as an educator and have worked in public policy design for the Curriculum and Assessment unit of Chile’s Ministry of Education.
In 2018, I was granted a Becas Chile scholarship by CONYCIT to pursue studies at the University of Toronto. I am currently pursuing my PhD in the Language and Literacies program. My work, nearly half-way through, frames and roots on critical pedagogy, specifically on the ways the EFL hidden curriculum is reflected in the pedagogical experiences of a group of secondary teachers and their students in suburban contexts within Chile’s education landscapes.
Connecting with people from, literally, all over the world has been extraordinarily remarkable. That has been my greatest experience so far. I have learned that we all experience a similar journey, regardless of our diverse backgrounds.
At U of T, I found a space in which autonomy, reflection, discussion, and sharing are vast. My faculty, in particular, provides tremendous support; my colleagues build and strengthen my own research ideas. Without them, none of this would be happening. This happened to be a pivotal axis in the foundational stages of my academic journey.
Building a life with my wife here in Toronto is an adventure. The university is located centrally, which makes life easier and accessible. The campus is amazing, full of green spaces, integrated into the busy and multicultural vibe of the city. This is a great place to spend your graduate studies. I know you will find it enriching in various forms.
Masters of Environmental Studies in Sustainability Management – University of Waterloo
Vine a Waterloo primero con una Working Holiday Visa. Durante mi estadía conocí a Dr. Amelia Clarke, quien es mi supervisora ahora. Ella me ofreció trabajar con como asistente de investigación y seguir la investigación a través del programa de magíster. La facultad de medioambiente en UW es la más grande de Canadá, y una de las más prestigiosa. La universidad ha adoptado los objetivos de desarrollo sustentables, por lo tanto, sabía que el trabajo que realizaría durante mis estudios estarían alineados a estos objetivos. Además, quería que mi trabajo tuviese impacto no solo en el área académica, sino que también a la comunidad en la que participo. Esto último me lo ha brindado la universidad, a través de su estrecha relación con la comunidad en Waterloo, Canadá y el mundo.
He tenido mucha suerte como estudiante internacional. Canadá, y en particular Waterloo, es un lugar muy diverso, lleno de gente de todos lados del mundo, por lo que me siento en casa constantemente. Tengo una red importante de apoyo, lo que incluye mis amigos y mi supervisora. La vida dentro de campus es muy dinámica; hay siempre actividades que ayudan a tu desarrollo personal y que permiten conectar con la comunidad universitaria. La vida fuera de campus es un poco distinta; Waterloo es una ciudad de 150,000 habitantes, de los cuales la mayoría son estudiantes. Entonces, el ambiente en el que uno se desenvuelve es más bien pequeño. En particular, a mí me encanta. Es una ciudad chica, estás a 20 minutos en cualquier lado, puedes caminar a todas partes, y 15 minutos en auto estás en el campo o en parques.
Mi consejo para los candidatos que quieran venir a Canadá es que aprovechen todas las oportunidades que hay acá. En Canadá hay muchos recursos para investigación, lo que es muy importante para quienes seguimos carreras de posgrado en el área de investigación. Les recomiendo que conecten con la comunidad en la que están, y que formen un buen grupo de apoyo para que puedan sobrellevar el tiempo lejos de casa.
PhD Linguistics – University of Alberta
Soy estudiante de doctorado en la Universidad de Alberta y mi experiencia ha sido excelente. Es una gran universidad, con acceso a muchos recursos, líder en investigación, y con una comunidad académica muy activa e internacional. Desde el punto de vista social y familiar ha sido también una tremenda experiencia. La vida estudiantil es multicultural, plural y muy nutrida, y la universidad está muy integrada a la ciudad, Edmonton. Me vine con mi familia y vivimos en una residencia de la Universidad, que es muy diversa y acogedora. Sin lugar a dudas, estamos disfrutando de nuestra nueva vida, del entorno y de las actividades, ¡incluyendo las muchas posibilidades que ofrece la cultura de invierno!
Mary Valdes has been awarded a CONICYT scholarship. This scholarship is offered by the ministry of education of Chile and gives students an opportunity to pursue their studies abroad.
Tell me about yourself, where we you were before studying at Telfer?
I started teaching in the Universidad Católica del Norte in 2013 as a part-time professor, and in 2014 I was offered an assistant professor position. I am now enrolled in the Phd program at Telfer which will help me improve my abilities as professor and researcher.
What are your research interests? What will you be working on for your thesis?
My research interest combines two subjects: accounting and the Chilean mining industry. My research thesis will be related to accounting in small- and medium-sized firms in the Chilean mining sector.
Why did you choose the Telfer School of Management?
I first decided to come to Canada due to it mining local industry. Afterwards, I did a review of accounting programs and professors in all top universities. The Telfer program was one of my favorites from the beginning. I then met my potential supervisors in the universities where I was accepted, and I am very pleased to be here and study under the subversion of Professor Cheryl McWatters.
Watch her video testimonial:
Dr. Jorge Fuentes Contreras
Jorge Fuentes Contreras. “Estudie un programa de Doctorado en Ciencias de la Rehabilitación en la Universidad de Alberta”
Como profesor instructor del Departamento de Kinesiología de la Universidad Católica del Maule, tuve la posibilidad de hacer una pasantía de algunas semanas en la Facultad de Medicina en Rehabilitación de la Universidad de Alberta en el año 2002. Esa experiencia tuvo un profundo impacto en mi futuro profesional y tiempo después, decidí venirme a estudiar un posgrado a esa Universidad y llegué con mi familia. En 2007 obtuve mi Master en Ciencias en Rehabilitación con mención en Terapia Física. Posteriormente continue mis estudios de Doctorado.
La Universidad de Alberta, ubicada en Edmonton, es una inmensa institución, con más de 30 mil estudiantes. Muchos de los programas que ofrecen son internacionalmente reconocidos. En el programa de doctorado al que estuve adscrito, pude conocer estudiantes de Asia, Europa y Sudamérica, además de canadienses, todos atraídos por la calidad académica ampliamente reconocida. Estoy muy agradecido de lo aprendido hasta ahora profesionalmente y de la experiencia de vida que nos ha significado como familia.
Dr. Rubén Fernández
Conoce al Dr. Rubén Fernández, profesor de ingeniería mecánica de la Facultad de Ciencias Físicas y Matemáticas de la Universidad de Chile.
Queremos compartir con ustedes la experiencia de Rubén Fernández, quien realizó sus estudios de doctorado en la universidad de Ottawa y hoy transmite sus conocimientos y vivencias a los alumnos de ingeniería de la Universidad de Chile.