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University of Ottawa

Author: Time:2018-03-26

My Study Experience Abroad
Lei Guo, Chemistry, Cuiying Honors College


I was honoured to spend a year at the University of Ottawa in Canada, as an exchange student during my third year. It’s my pleasure to share my experience with you and I hope it is helpful.

How can I apply?

The application procedure starts each April. Only 3-4 students each year have the chance to go. You need a high GPA (overall GPA at least B) to be competitive and to get the CSC scholarship. Also, you have to meet the language requirements (TOEFL > 100, IELTS > 7) to be eligible to be admitted. You will hear of the results of your application the following month.

 Why Ottawa?

Canada Day Ottawa
Canada Day

As the capital of Canada, Ottawa is a small and beautiful city. It is a varied city, a political centre, a tourist attraction and a peaceful place to live as well. It is the bridge between French and English speaking Canadians and a multi-ethnic mixture of people from around the world. As a country of immigrants, Canadians are mostly friendly and are quite tolerant of all cultures. In a word, Ottawa has something for everyone.

What’s the difference between Western and Chinese universities?

University of Toronto - Biochemistry May-June 2013
University of Toronto

Generally speaking, we have a totally different educational system compared to theirs. Two study terms of 17 weeks are the most common at western universities. They have more frequent exams, which make study more intense than in China. On the one hand, most teachers teach passionately, trying to make lectures interesting. On the other hand, students are more active than those in China. They are encouraged to ask questions in the lectures at any time and it is totally fine to interrupt the teacher. They are encouraged to think, to learn and to find the answers by themselves.

What was the best part of the exchange?

It is always good to see the world. By living in a totally different country, you will have a totally different view of the world. It is exciting and challenging to live in a different culture. You will learn to grow up, learn to be independent, and learn to be tolerant to others. Also apparently, one-year’s exchange puts you in a more favourable position with regards to your future career.

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