The Irving K. Barber British Columbia Scholarship Society, in partnership with the Victoria Foundation, hosts a suite of international scholarships designed to support students from BC in studying abroad. Successful applicants must clearly demonstrate academic merit as well as significant involvement in their community and/or school. Scholarships are available to students pursuing study or work abroad programs that are either:
- A formal part of a BC credential program and/or carry academic credit recognized at a BC educational institution, or;
- Offer experiential learning opportunities involving language acquisition and/or cultural training.
Students who apply for will also be considered for high-value Premier’s International Scholarships if they meet additional criteria and indicate interest. Christina Jaworski received the Premier’s Scholarship last year, and chose to attend the University of Stirling in Scotland for a fall semester. While there, she studied Ecology, Aquatic Sciences, and Environment Review Essay and a Geography Review essay. Christina sent us this summary of her time abroad:
During my time in Scotland I found many differences between Canadian and Scottish culture, and as a result, I went through many stages of culture shock and cultural adaption. One of the most significant differences I noticed was the teaching methods at the University of Stirling. In comparison to the University of Victoria, modules at Stirling were much more focused on self-learning. Only one of my four modules had a course text, and none of my modules had assigned readings. As an alternative, the professors would provide a list of readings which students could personally choose to read from, depending on what each felt was necessary.
Additionally, a greater amount of course material was covered in a much shorter time, which meant information was covered very briefly in class and often needed to be clarified by reading different textbooks or by researching online. I felt that this type of teaching method allowed for more flexibility in what I personally chose to study, but was also overwhelming, in that it was often difficult to determine what sections of the module I should be focusing on. Perhaps because such a mass of information is given in class, the students at Stirling take a maximum of three modules, which is considered a full course load. However, after discussing it with the Environmental Sciences advisor at the University of Stirling, we came to the conclusion that taking four modules would allow me to receive the maximum number of credits at UVic. Another major difference between UVic and Stirling is the module organisation. Modules are set up in a way that there are no midterms and only finals. This meant that during the school year, I had more time to put effort into other course work, such as papers and labs, but it also meant I had a very stressful exam period, as much more emphasis was given on the final exam mark.
The classes I took showed me European perspectives on current environmental issues and introduced me to new environmental topics. In addition, the scholarship also assisted me in my travels throughout the UK and Europe. I am now interested in doing a Masters Degree abroad, perhaps in Edinburgh or Dublin. I have begun researching various online options for Masters Degrees related to Geography and Environmental Sciences at different universities, and what the entrance requirements are for those universities.
A very important part of my study abroad experience was meeting people from different parts of the world and learning their various cultures and different university education experiences. Living in residence at Stirling, I was placed in the west wing, which housed only international students. I was able to meet people from other parts of Canada, the U.S., Australia, Norway, Spain, Hong Kong, England, and of course, Scotland. Even though many of the people I met were from different countries, I found it easy for everyone to get along and spend time with one another. Everyone’s university’s teaching styles and cultures were a little bit different and we were able to discuss these differences amongst one another and learn more about each other as well.
A good friend of mine from Spain spoke so highly of her country I ended up spending my fall break in Barcelona and Madrid. My friends from Norway introduced me to a very conservative culture and an entirely different way of life, whereas my good friend from England gave me knowledge on the UK government’s policies regarding student loans, university tuition, and other such topics. I now have friends from all around the world whom I hope to be able to visit one day.
Please visit the Irving K. Barber British Columbia Scholarship Society’s website to learn more about the One World International Scholarships.