Dean Cristina Amon with international exchange student Xingyu Liu, left, and Science Without Borders student André Palmiro Storch, right, at the second annual welcome breakfast for international exchange students (photo by Roberta Baker)

Celebrating international students at U of T

Aditya Shankar, a third-year electrical engineering student on exchange from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, had the option to study almost anywhere in the world. He chose U of T Engineering for its high ranking, reputation for research excellence and a chance to immerse himself in the local culture.

Shankar was one of more than 80 international students attending a welcome breakfast for international exchange students on September 27.

“I’ve cherished the people I’ve met, so far, here at U of T,” said Shankar.  “Here, I’m able to compare cultures, learn about different perspectives and compile new experiences.”

The Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering is hosting more than 45 international exchange students, plus 280 from Brazil’s Science Without Borders program, which sends Brazilian university students to study at top universities worldwide.

U of T Engineering was the top program choice among Science Without Borders applicants for this fall.

“Enjoy this exciting opportunity to study at Canada’s top Engineering Faculty, one of the very best in the world,” said Cristina Amon, dean, Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering in her opening remarks. “You have come to one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities, where 50 per cent of Torontonians were born outside of Canada.  We hope you will find your experience with us enriching, as we are enriched by having you amongst us.”

“You have chosen to invest in yourself, here at the engineering faculty in one of Canada’s pre-eminent institutions,” added Judith Wolfson, vice-president, University Relations for University of Toronto. “Our strength is a testament to the quality of students like you and your willingness to share your experience and your ideas with us."

Participants in U of T’s expansive international exchange program partner with more than 130 universities around the world to provide immersive, global perspectives to students.

Chemical engineering student Danielly Pierozan Cortes, from Brazil’s Universidade Federal de Alagoas, enjoyed her Science Without Borders experience so much, she decided to extend her exchange by another year.

“U of T has a great reputation for both research and academics,” she said. “Plus, it’s so beautiful!”

Pierozan Cortes’ enthusiasm for her exchange experience has led her to help other students explore similar global opportunities through U of T’s AIESEC chapter, which aims to promote global understanding through leadership development and international exchange.

When she arrived last September her interest was in petroleum engineering but thanks to a research position with Professor H.N. Tran at U of T’s Pulp and Paper Centre, Pierozan has switched her focus.

“My professors at U of T work with researchers and industry in Brazil, so I know I am getting experience here that will directly help me at home,” she said.

Civil engineering student Anke Wetser arrived to Toronto from the Netherlands only a month ago but has already engaged herself in all the city has to offer, from attending Blue Jays games to picnics at the Toronto Islands and exploring the city on her bicycle.

“I wanted an opportunity to experience more of the world,” said Wetser of her motivation for coming to U of T.

In addition to expanding her cultural horizons, Wetser is broadening her academic pursuits.

“At my home university, Technical University Delft, I studied core areas of civil engineering. Here at U of T, I am taking courses in environmental engineering, energy systems and engineering economics.”

Wetser has yet to settle on a career path, but she knows the experiences she is gaining while at U of T Engineering will open doors.

“I already feel much more self-confident,” she said.

Adam Fox is a writer with the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering.

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