Why do you travel? is probably one of the most frequently asked questions within the field of tourism. Do you want to see new places, meet new people, want to get emerged into different cultures or just enjoy your time in a place different from home? When going on an exchange, you do not have to choose. It’s all in or nothing. In order words, I decided to just go for it!
It is 9:49 am on a snowy Tuesday in December in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. I just finished my last exam and herewith my exchange semester, at the University of Guelph, is officially over. The four months have been just flying by. While packing my suitcases and saying goodbye to all the lovely people I’ve met, many memories arise. For instance, the first six weeks where it has been over 25°C every day, which was just perfect for spending the days outside whilst getting to know new people and my new home. Followed by the time when a bunch of international students from all over Europe and Australia spontaneously decided to go on a hiking trip to Bruce Peninsula National Park for a few days. Then there was Thanksgiving, when I was invited by some Canadian friends to a fancy self-made Thanksgiving Dinner with too much turkey and pies. Before I realized how lucky I was, the autumn hit. Pumpkin spice lattes, essays and midterm exams filled the days. Seemingly a few weeks later my time in Guelph was already over. And once again, a famous saying became true: Exchange isn’t a semester in life, it’s a life in a semester.
When I was given the opportunity to go on exchange and do a Minor of my choice, I decided for a Minor in Marketing and Communications at the University of Guelph. Guelph is a small and cosy city which is within an hour bus ride from Canada’s biggest city Toronto. It is a great starting point to explore marvellous national parks, the Niagara Falls and cities like for example the French Montreal, the capital Ottawa or the American fairy-tale city New York. Useless to say that this location is a dream for every Tourism student.
I absolutely enjoyed my time as a student at the University of Guelph. My minor in Marketing and Communications taught me much beyond the way of how the business world works and how it shapes our desires and aims. In fact, it has been captivating in many ways. For example, did you know that marketing includes all communication inside and outside an organisation? No? Me neither. While various essays, reports and analyses appeared to be challenging in this totally different field of study, the application-based learning approach was an interestingly different experience compared to the academic BTO program. Furthermore, it was a new experience for me to join lectures with more than 100 people and write long multiple-choice exams. Also, having five courses at a time kept me quite busy while luckily the greater overlap between courses made it easier towards the end of the semester. One thing I learned was that evening classes from 7 pm till 10 pm are actually a thing at other universities. Although having evening classes three times a week did not seem like the best catch at first, I must say I quite liked to have the days off.
Looking back to all the skills I have learned and the inspirational lecturers I had, my exchange and all obstacles implied with it were totally worth it. Overall, the courses were a little less challenging than back home, which was perfect for travelling during the semester. A fun fact, which appeared to me during my exchange: studying marketing in a totally different economy than the one you are familiar with teaches you amazingly much about local life and challenges your perspectives on how the world works. My stay in Canada has been an awesome experience and even if I’m back on the other side of the world, the things I learned and the friends I made are for life, that is for sure! See you soon in Canada, eh?
Written by: Tamina Reinecke