Hullo! I’m Calvin and I’m a Y2 NUS Biz student. Just a little background to how this article came about – I was initially offered a place in McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada for Y3S1. After serious considerations, I decided to forgo the place and re-apply again for Y3S2 for a school somewhere in Europe.
This article is just a short list of the reasons why I gave up Canada to try again for Europe. Disclaimer: The facts are accurate as of my personal research and from what I have heard from others’ experiences. I apologize in advance for any mistakes or misconceptions and feel free to share your own experiences too.
So, here are the reasons why I decided to give up Canada to try again for Europe!
Domestic Travel (Flights)
– Europe vs. Canada: Europe has cheaper domestic flights
In Europe, with budget airlines such as RyanAir, domestic flights are really cheap. It’s about $30 USD ($40 SGD) to fly from London to Amsterdam. However, in Canada, domestic flights are definitely not as cheap (because of a pseudo-monopoly by Air Canada and WestJet); a good 3 to 4 digits for a flight from Vancouver to Toronto.
With Europe, this opens up the endless possibilities of travels. Weekend getaways become a reality, and this allows one to experience more of the continent in a short span of time.
– Europe vs. Canada: Road trips on average take much longer in Canada than in Europe
For example, in 8 hours, you probably are still in Ontario in Canada but in Europe, you could’ve seen the country sides of various countries on your way through. Let’s put it this way, in Europe, it’s simply more countries packed in a tighter place as compared to Canada where less states are packed in a larger plot of land.
– Europe vs. Canada: Museum and Art galleries vs. Hikes and Treks
In Europe, I always see people in museums and art galleries; places that are in the city areas that are more artsy. On the other hand, I’ve always felt that Canada had beautiful picturesque scenery worth the hikes and treks. I guess I’m more of the former-kinda person and also because I can dedicate less time to do more in a shorter span of time.
– Europe vs. Canada: Wider variety of food in Europe
Back to my point about Europe having more countries packed in a smaller space of land in comparison to Canada, thus I feel that Europe has more variety to offer, especially in terms of food because every country has their own specialty.
– Europe vs. Canada: The North American side has the Fraternities and Sororities culture unlike in Europe.
I’d like to say that this point is entirely personal because I’m not the kind of person that would enjoy such an environment in Canada, but if you are, why not! Haha. In Europe, the campus culture is not as strong as Canada but this also means it opens up the opportunity for us to leave and travel out of where we are for exchange to experience more of the country and the continent.
There are definitely more reasons I did not mention in this article because my knowledge is limited to my research of these places and from word of mouth from my friends. They may be stereotypical or narrowed because I’ve never actually experienced both places in my life and I’m writing this based on which I think I would personally prefer.
To students who’ve yet to apply for exchange, or are applying for exchange, my personal advice is that choose a place where you think you’ll have the best experience; doing the things that suits you and that you’ll enjoy because student exchange is a one-time experience that you keep for a lifetime. It’s up to you to make your exchange the best experience ever.
|About the writer:
Name: Calvin Nisban
Home university: National University of Singapore (NUS)
Country/ City: Singapore
Year of study: Year 2