An exchange student’s perspective: my first semester at Bishop’s University

By Kennosuke Aki 

Why did I come to Bishop’s? 

I came to Bishop’s University as an exchange student from Tokushima University, Japan. The biggest reason was that my home university is a partner university with Bishop’s. After living in Michigan for 3 years when I was little, I wanted to go to an English-speaking country, so this was perfect for me. I did not know people here spoke French too, so I’m still struggling a little when I go shopping in Sherbrooke, but other than that, it’s a great place to study! 

Five Bishop's students posing for a photo while having a meal in the dining hall

My life in Bishop’s so far 

I’m having a great experience at Bishop’s, especially by talking with people. People here are very warm and kind, including the professors. Even though my English is not very good, people always try to pick up what I’m trying to say.  

For living, I am currently in Paterson residence, and it is very comfortable. I’ve made friends in this residence by playing video games in the common room, and by playing pool.  

A Bishop's dorm room furnished but not decorated including a bed, a dresser and a desk.

What are the classes like at Bishop’s? 

In classes, there are a lot of opportunities to speak out and I feel like that connects to deeper learning. For me, this has helped me a lot to learn more effectively, because when there are opportunities like this, I get to share my thoughts and see if I’m on the right track. So, if you are worried about the progress that you are making, you can always ask the professor or other students. When I took some difficult literature classes, friends that I met there helped me a lot. It was difficult, but the process has been very fun.  

My favourite place on campus 

There are a lot of places that could be the answer, but I’ll say it’s the library. I’ve been to some university libraries before, but I think the one here is one of the best I’ve seen so far. I really like the modern design, and how they have a lot of studying spaces for students. I feel very productive when I am in the library, and always feel fulfilled when I leave. 

What I enjoy the most 

One of my favourite activities is going to the gym. At the sports plex on campus, there is a gym where every student can go. On the weekdays, I go to the gym with my friends after eating dinner at Dewhurst dining hall, which is also very fun and sociable. Also, you can go watch the Gaiters basketball games, and hockey games at the sports plex on weekends. There’s a great atmosphere. If you feel like playing basketball on your own or with your friends, you can always ask the front desk downstairs to use the courts. 

A basketball game on Bishop's court. The seats are full.

What’s the strength of Bishop’s? 

I would say the fact that each person can do what they want to do freely. If you want to enjoy Friday night with your friends, there is a club called the Gait. If you want to play sports, you can always go to the basketball court or play table tennis at the plex. When you want to concentrate on your work, the beautiful library is there waiting for you.  

Bishop’s also has a good relationship with other universities. I think this opens a good partnership with worldwide institutions. Because there are a lot of international students and exchange students, it’s a great opportunity to interact with people from other countries around the world. For me, this is my favourite part about being at Bishop’s.  

Message to the people who are thinking of coming to Bishop’s 

Going to Bishop’s University will definitely expand your horizons, especially for international and exchange students. Not only can you explore Canada, but you can also meet with people from other countries. For those who want to expand their horizons, Bishop’s University is a great place to do that.

Read more about exchanges and studying abroad on the Bishop’s website.

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