Angelica Aguilar

Mexico

MSc in Materials Engineering – University of Alberta

My name is Angelica Aguilar. I’m from Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico and I study an MSc in Materials Engineering- Chemical and Materials Department. Canada offers a lot of opportunities for international students, starting with a world-class education, health insurance, breathtaking nature, and the kindness of people wherever you go is widely perceived.

The University of Alberta is one of the top 5 Canadian universities, offering the program and research area that I’m interested to study. Also, this university collaborates with the National Research Council of Canada Nanotechnology Research Centre which is located on-campus.

1. Did you receive any scholarships to help fund your studies?

a. If so, can you tell us more about the scholarship you received? The CALDO consortium is part of the collaboration program with CONACyT, a government agency that supports Mexican students that fulfill the requirements to be granted with a scholarship. In my case, I requested the scholarship “Becas Al Extranjero-Noroeste” which covers all tuition and fees and supports you with a monthly deposit for living expenses and an annual deposit for medical insurance.

2. What did you enjoy the most about the University?

Since this is my first time abroad, there is nothing I cannot say that I don’t love from U of A. All the facilities provided for all students (the U-pass! for example), the writing boot camp by FGSR, all the engineering wellness events for faculty students, the commitment to constantly touch base with international students by means of events and one-to-one meetings, especially during these difficult times due to COVID-19 pandemic, keeping us informed about all the changes in the university.

3. How was your experience as an International Student?

If English is not your native tongue, and you don’t spend too much time speaking in this language before coming, maybe the first month will be a little bit difficult. For me, that was the case. I remember the first week I could barely understand when people were talking to me or even what I was learning in classes. Later on, everything came better and now I’m able to have fluent conversations. It’s all about practice and losing fear to fail in the process. Another very important thing is the culture shock where all the things I got used to finding back in Mexico weren’t even available in local grocery stores, but you can find lots of stores from Latin America. At UofA, there is a very friendly and small Latin American student community ready to help you with your concerns and what to do when you arrive in Edmonton.

4. How was student life like on and off-campus?

Student life on campus is great, there are lots of activities to improve your professional and academic skills, such as the Professional Development program, guiding you to build and know your options for work opportunities. Also, for graduate students, we were assigned to have space in one of the offices depending on the department, giving us a workplace to perform both our coursework and research properly, including all the equipment and necessary materials. One of the most remarkable things as a graduate student is the communication between you and your supervisor. I am very grateful to be accepted in Dr. Anastasia Elias’ research group and the way she leads it, always encouraging us to give the best.

If you enjoy beautiful landscapes and quiet but friendly cities, maybe Edmonton is the right place for you.

5. Any advice for future candidates that would like to come to Canada to do their graduate studies?

A piece of very helpful advice given to me was: don’t hesitate too long. The next thing would be to plan everything you need to do to reach your goal (documents, permits, travel expenses) and look for contacts on campus that are very happy to help you!

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Stephany Hernandez Medina

Mexico

Master in Earth and Atmospheric Science – University of Alberta 

1. Where are you from?

Mexico City

2. What did you study?

MSc. in Earth and Atmospheric Science, University of Alberta

3. Why Canada?

Beautiful country, amazing people, multicultural, and the University has been ranked for several years as one of the best universities worldwide.

4. Why UAlberta?

Because when I was looking at different universities, I was able to get in touch with my actual supervisor. He has an excellent background and through time he has been working in the same professional area that I’ve been interested in. We talked about my experience and the main goals I was looking forward so, he offered me to work the research in which I’ve been working. This research covers all the topics I wanted to cover and the quality of the University itself is one of the tops.

5. Did you receive any scholarships to help fund your studies?

Yes

a. If so, can you tell us more about the scholarship you received?

This scholarship is a partnership between Conacyt and SENER. Conacyt is a nongovernmental institution and is in charge to promote the development of science and the development, innovation, and modernization of technology in the country. SENER is a governmental institution that mange and regulates the energetic resources. This specific scholarship is intended to capacitate professionals in the oil industry so then, all the knowledge acquired can be applied wisely in the country (ideally).

6. What were your favourite things about the University?

The campus itself is amazing; labs, classrooms, common areas, recreative areas, study areas, I really loved being on campus and do my work there. Also, all the facilities as a student you get are quite cool!

7. How was your experience as an International Student?

To be honest it was interesting, very different for what I was expecting. The experience as an international grad student, I would say is very different as an international undergrad student. I can’t complain, but from time to time, grad student’s life can be quite lonely. Also, unfortunately, I experience the pandemic cause COVID-19, and that didn’t help as well.

8. How was student life like on and off-campus?

For me, life on campus was mainly working on my research, life off-campus was a little more interesting and fun because I had the opportunity to have part-time jobs, and that made me know more people. Also, Edmonton is a small city, but with amazing places where you can go hiking, run, even do some canoe. The weather during winter is A THING so, if you are not used to cold, you really must be mentally prepared for what all that involves.

9. Any advice for future candidates that would like to come to Canada to do their graduate studies?

My advice would be that you must be prepared to deal with two main common aspects here in Canada. Weather, and social relationships. Weather, because if you are used to warm weathers this could be an issue; long winters, too much cold, during winter short days and very long nights, while during summer the other way around. This could affect sometimes your mood. And socially, (I would assume that has to do with the weather) people here are colder in their relationships so, for me, as a Latin, made me homesick from time to time. This is so you can have it in mind, but doesn’t mean that coming to Canada has been an amazing experience and is a great opportunity to know many different cultures, people, food, and with such amazing places to visit and get in touch with nature.

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Olivia Alarcón Herrera

Mexico

PhD in Environmental Design – The University of Calgary 

I choose the University of Calgary after conducting a long search for a PhD program in Environmental Design. The most prestigious characteristic of this University is its many opportunities for collaborating in research projects with government and industry. Such characteristic was an important element when deciding for this program. Performing applied research would allow me to learn the methodology on how to contribute to the environmental issues on my return to Mexico.

Now, after being for only 7 months I have been able to discover more and more benefits from studying at this University. Multiple workshops are offered on a complimentary basis to help students to improve at writing, job searching, job interviews, and many more to be able to perform as successful professional or academic research.

Elegí la Universidad de Calgary tras realizar una búsqueda para encontrar un programa de doctorado en Diseño Ambiental, encontrando que una de sus principales características es la variedad de oportunidades de colaboración en proyectos de investigación tanto con el gobierno como con la industria, la cual me ayudo a decidirme por este programa, para así tener la oportunidad de aplicar mi investigación y aprender la metodología sobre como contribuir en la solución de los problemas ambientales una vez que regrese a México.

Han transcurridos pocos meses desde el inicio de mi doctorado y me he dado cuenta de otros beneficios de estudiar en esta universidad, algunos de los cuales son talleres para mejora de habilidades de escritura, búsqueda de trabajos, entrevistas laborales y todo lo necesario para lograr el éxito como investigador.

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Alejandro Rivera

Mexico

Master in Biotechnology – University of Toronto

1.- Why Canada?  

A few years back when looking for options I found a list of countries by Human Development Index (HDI) which is a measure of how much of a country’s GDP does its government invest in its people (education, hospitals, health insurance, social programs, etc.), and at least back then New Zealand was #1 followed by Canada in #2. NZ was too far away for me, but Canada was much closer.

2.- Why the University of Toronto?

I was looking for a program that mixed Science with Business, and that’s when I found the MBiotech program. It had the focus I was looking for, located where I wanted to study.

3.- What did you enjoy the most about U of T?

Professors are highly-prepared, facilities are world-grade and the alumni population is very diverse. It has good values and a great vision that deeply resonated with me. 

4.- How was student life like on and off-campus?

Being in one of the best universities in the world is a unique experience. On-campus you become a part of a community of scholars, all of them highly capable and driven. I thought I would be at a disadvantage coming from a developing country, but despite the fact that some of my colleagues did have more experience in our field, I discovered my own experiences, provided me with the tools to perform on par with them and even better in some aspects. Diversity brings benefits to all.

Off-campus, being in a foreign country in an exciting city gave me lots of venues to explore new cultures, food, experiences, places, etc. during what little free time I could spare. I think this aspect is often overlooked, but I think it’s as important as the academic side.

5.- Any advice for future candidates that would like to come to Canada to do their graduate studies?

Research as much as you can beforehand. Be open and flexible to new things. Prepare for as many scenarios as you can, especially financially. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from everyone involved, from your own family to the people at the university. If you reach out to people, even if you’re not a student yet, most of the time they are happy to offer guidance. Remember to enjoy the experience! It’s not easy to get there, so you better enjoy it and make the most out of it.

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Agustin Garza

Mexico

MBA, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

I am a mechanical engineer from Mexico with a degree from Monterrey Tech (ITESM Campus Monterrey) and a background in operations. I chose the University of Toronto because I was looking for a university with a great reputation that was recognized for its strength in finance. As one of the top 20 universities in the world, U of T is an academic powerhouse that pushes me to learn hard skills inside the classroom and advance my soft skills, such as self-management, prioritization and teamwork, outside the classroom.

In my MBA studies at the U of T’s Rotman School of Management, I am developing strong strategic and analytical skills that complement the people and execution skills I gained during my professional experiences at PepsiCo. My program is incredibly diverse; I appreciate collaborating with people who bring different perspectives from cultures from all over the world.

For my Global Consulting Project (GCP), my team and I worked in partnership with Export Development Canada that operates at arm’s length from the government to evaluate current and emerging technologies within delivery logistics; provided a market analysis of key industry players in North America and the United Kingdom. The combination of hands-on experience, networking, and knowledge of how supply chain delivery and logistics are being transformed by the emergence of new technologies prepare me to offer value and innovation in my future endeavors.

U of T provides a wide range of resources to help with on and off-campus experiences. Coming from a Latin American country, the teaching structure here is much different from what I was used to. I worked with a learning strategist who helped me rethink my approach to classes and get the most of my program.

My advice to prospective students is to actively learn as much as you can about the program and what the U of T offers before the program starts. Once you’re here, explore and be curious – this will shape your overall experience. I also suggest seeking out additional funding. I am partially funded by CONACYT, a Mexican government agency. I look forward to extending Rotman’s “pay it forward” culture the way the community here has helped me.

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Braulio Garza

Mexico

PhD Surgery- University of Alberta

La Universidad de Alberta en Edmonton ha sido líder mundial en mi campo de investigación (trasplante de islotes pancreáticos para el tratamiento de la diabetes tipo 1) por más de 20 años. Esta fue la razón por la que decidí realizar mi doctorado aquí. La amplia disponibilidad de recursos para todo tipo de estudiantes es impresionante y provee un ambiente fértil para realizar investigación de clase mundial y contribuciones de gran impacto en la comunidad científica.

Más allá de lo académico, la Universidad de Alberta, a través de sus múltiples asociaciones estudiantiles, ofrece una multitud de oportunidades para la integración de estudiantes internacionales en la comunidad universitaria. Esto permite hacer conexiones con personas de todo el mundo y ampliar tu perspectiva cultural de manera significativa.

La calidad de vida en Edmonton es excepcional. Esta ciudad se conoce como la ciudad de los festivales y todas las semanas hay eventos interesantes que te dan la oportunidad para distraerte de tus actividades académicas. Si buscas estudiar en Canadá, la Universidad de Alberta en Edmonton es una increíble opción.

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Ana Anoveros Barrera

Mexico

PhD, Nutrition & Metabolism- University of Alberta Agricultural, Food & Nutritional Science

As an international and sponsored student, I feel extremely lucky to be part of the University of Alberta, during these four years, UofA has provided an exciting environment where I have made great friends, met amazing role models, developed my critical thinking and leadership skills,  and built precious memories. The University of Alberta stays true to their promise of “uplifting the whole people” as they see the potential in all of their students and provide the tools and guidance for their success.

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Erik Gomez

Mexico

PhD, Biochemistry  – Univ. of Alberta: Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry

Mi nombre es Erik Gomez, estoy cursando el segundo año del programa de doctorado en la Universidad de Alberta. Decidí aplicar a esta universidad pues es una de las mejores en Canadá. Escuché del programa CALDO a través de las ferias de posgrado que realiza la embajada canadiense en México. Con la ayuda del programa CALDO establecí contacto directo con personal de la oficina de estudiantes internacionales quienes dieron seguimiento a mi aplicación al programa y a la beca CONACYT.

La transición inicial al llegar a un nuevo país es algo abrumador pero la universidad tiene muchos recursos para hacer que los primeros pasos sean más llevaderos. El nivel académico de los cursos es muy bueno y requieren de una gran dedicación. Al principio me preocupaba un poco las temperaturas extremas de Alberta pero tras un año de vivir en Edmonton me di cuenta que realice varias actividades en invierno, incluso más que en verano. La ciudad es pequeña pero siempre hay algo interesante que hacer por sus múltiples festivales.

Si duda alguna mi parte favorita es el ambiente multicultural pues siempre hay algo que aprender de personas de diferentes partes del mundo. Ese tipo de experiencias hacen que pasar por el largo proceso de aplicación valga la pena.

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Aralia Leon Coria

Mexico

 

PhD in Microbiology and Infectious Diseases – University of Calgary

Escogí la Universidad de Calgary debido a su alta calidad educativa y a sus instalaciones de primer mundo, te brinda, además, la oportunidad de tener crecimiento personal por medio de voluntariados, comités estudiantiles y simposios. Hay gente de todos los rincones del mundo cursando sus estudios aquí, y eso te permite un intercambio cultural de lo más valioso e interesante. También he recibido apoyo, a través de sus diferentes programas, para presentar mi trabajo en congresos reconocidos internacionalmente, lo cual me ha permitido ampliar mis conocimientos y mi networking. Sin olvidar claro, que no hay mejor lugar para aprender a esquiar que las mundialmente reconocidas Montañas Rocosas.

 

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