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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.