Beyond borders: Navigating the purple waters of Bishop’s as an exchange student

Dear travellers, welcome to my Canadian journey!

I am delighted to share with you some of the reasons that led me to Bishop’s University for a semester as an exchange student. 

Indeed, based on my initial experiences, participating in an academic exchange program in Canada is much more than just a trip; it is a significant choice and an experience filled with discovery, climatic variety, enriching encounters, and unforgettable moments of friendship. 

That’s why I invite you to accompany me for a bit. I’m Emilie, a French exchange student, and you can follow my journey through this stormy and exciting exploration of the Canadian cultural mosaic, the warmth of campus life, and the unparalleled experience that Bishop’s has to offer. 

So, I suggest you get your ticket and prepare yourself for an imminent boarding into the exclusive adventure of a foreign student in search of unique knowledge and experiences in the land of maple and infinite kindness. 

Boarding the flight: heading toward an unforgettable experience 

As I contemplate the rewarding experience of becoming an exchange student at Bishop’s University, I can’t help but marvel at the transformative journey that brought me here and my gratitude to those who encouraged me to do this. Indeed, deciding to leave my home country and choose a university for a semester abroad was no easy task, but Bishop’s has exceeded expectations and, with its unique charm and welcoming community, has instilled in me new confidence and a new spirit of adventure. 

Fog over the destination 

photo insert of a plane ticket
My plane ticket from Nantes to Montreal 

During my quest to choose the right university for my academic journey, I found myself faced with a huge sky of choices. At first, I thought I would aim for the United States but the tide turned when one of my professors recommended to me Bishop’s, an international campus that transcends borders. He touted the innovative pedagogy that distinguishes Bishop’s, emphasizing the benefits of a student-centred educational approach. Intrigued by the prospect of this immersive learning experience, I inquired further and, being a huge Harry Potter fan, fell in love with the images of the Hogwarts-style campus. The warm community spirit and the relaxed atmosphere that seemed to permeate every stone of the campus likewise drew my attention from the US to Canada. So, off I went. 

First Impressions on the BU experience, between currents of human warmth and cold air 

Thermal Shock and Wonder 

friends walking down a snowy path in the woods

Forest path in front of the university 

When I landed in Canada, I was met with a sudden change in temperature that took me by surprise. The crisp air and magical snow covering the landscape of Sherbrooke initially shocked me, but it was also undeniably beautiful. The sight of the snow blanketing everything in sight created a picturesque scene that I couldn’t help but admire. Despite the initial shock, there was a sense of wonder at the winter wonderland before me. It was wonderful. What in my mind was a potentially brutal encounter with the Canadian winter turned out to be a smooth transition. The snow that covered the bricks of the campus, instead of being an icy adversary, brought an enchanting beauty to the campus and my new home. I was quite surprised to see that the Canadian winter offered a dry cold, very different and less chilling than the French cold. 

Heartwarming welcome and integration 

friends together at the Gait

First party of the semester at the GAIT 

Upon my arrival, I was greeted by a current of human warmth that quickly dissipated the cold. Lost and without bus tickets to reach the campus, a gentleman graciously offered me his help and took me to Bishop’s without wanting anything in return. I don’t know who he was or where he is now but I thank him and this act of generosity proved to me that the welcoming nature of Quebecers was not just a myth.  

Life on the Bishop’s campus proved to be a nurturing environment for integration, where the currents of friendship are constant, and connecting with others is effortless. The meals shared in the campus dining hall often spark unexpected meetings, allowing us to forge connections with individuals from the four corners of the world who share the same passions, having also made a long journey. Upon my arrival, I met incredible people and flourished in a warm, almost family atmosphere. Every day on campus is more convivial, and I believe that living there is a real opportunity, leading to the creation of serendipitous connections and unique experiences that constitute “the BU experience.” 

Non-stressful teaching 

Finally, when I discovered the academic world of Bishop’s, I was pleasantly surprised by the calm and serene nature of the classes. The courses, far from being stressful, turn out to be peaceful oceans, promoting in-depth and stimulating learning. Caring teachers act like supportive mentors, guiding us intellectually with admirable dedication, and creating a peaceful environment in which we feel at ease and where learning flourishes effortlessly. 

In summary, my first impressions of Bishop’s University are a mix of magical snow, welcoming gestures and a comforting, familiar campus atmosphere that makes you feel right at home. At Bishop’s, integration is a natural process, partying is a daily celebration, and each day holds discoveries as wonderful as the snowflakes that greeted my first steps on this Canadian soil. 

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