Students give back

Students give back

Hello, future Gaiters – I am Junru, a student at Bishop’s University majoring in International Studies– and I am writing to you sitting in a refugee shelter in Dushanbe, Tajikistan (yes, this country does exist). 

It has been two years since I began working with different humanitarian organizations in developing countries. While working in the field my theoretical knowledge that I obtained through my academic life was not the only important element. Sometimes, that knowledge would even come second to actual work experience — something that requires time and, literally, to be actually working to obtain.

So how is it related to Bishop’s? As we all know, most universities in North America are quite large, and average class sizes of those institutions can get quite high. This is a big reason why I ultimately decided to come to Bishop’s. The average class size for my department is about 35 students, and the smallest class I have been in so far has only 18. The intimate class sizes that Bishop’s offers makes a significant difference in our education. BU makes it possible for all students to participate in more engaging ways, they can get to know their professors on a first name basis, and receive detailed instructions from them. Small class sizes also allow for a significant number of seminar and experimental classes to take place where students are given the opportunity to conduct valuable discussions and simulations all while putting their existing knowledge to use. In one of my seminar classes, I was also required to have individual debriefings with my professor once in a while to check up on my progress in a class.

These seminar classes don’t only teach you new skills, but also allow you to apply them — and that is the closest thing to actual work experience you can receive on a university campus. At Bishop’s you are constantly given the opportunity and encouraged to take these classes, and you won’t be able to do so in a university with a 20,000 student body — at least not as frequently. The influence of Bishop’s attention to small class sizes reflects in the workplace. For example, it helped me with obtaining internship opportunities during school breaks with a number of non-profit and humanitarian organizations just like the one I’m participating in now, an independent refugee shelter in Tajikistan. It is comforting to know that the classroom knowledge that I obtained from Bishop’s will always, in one form or another, be applicable in the field of work I’m interested in. And when you choose to come to Bishop’s one day, I am sure you will come to learn this too.

Junru Bian
Honours International Studies Major
Hometown: Beijing, China


To learn more about the Politics and International Studies program:
To read Junru’s story as a 2017 B.E.S.T. reicpients:

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