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University of Waterloo


Location: Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Language of Instruction: English

International Student Office: Partners in Canada

University of Waterloo Website

FCO Travel Advice: Canada

History Year Abroad Student Views:
  • I was most surprised about the level of cultural difference between the British and Canadian way of life. Although we share a language and a lot of popular culture, Canadian's are more openly positive and eager people and we definitely have different senses of humour. However, despite this I still made a great handful of Canadian friends, many of whom I'm sure I'll be friends with for life!
  • At the University of Waterloo the workload is significantly heavier than at Warwick - with constant assessed assignments, essays, journals, tests, midterms, and reading. However, the content is not as demanding and generally takes less time and work to complete than at Warwick.
  • I had the chance to take a range of modules outside of history, my favourite of which being legal studies modules. I gained knowledge in law ranging all the way from ancient law, to modern day laws on sex crimes.
  • I took a trip to Washington DC, which as an American History student, I absolutely loved. I had the chance to visit all of the iconic political sites and buildings Washington has to offer, as well as spend some time in the National Museum of American history! I also travelled to New York and Miami, where it was great to experience two vastly different variations of American culture. I particularly enjoyed Miami for the rich Latin American immigrant history and art it has to offer - it was also nice to take a short hot break away from the freezing Canadian weather!
  • I definitely feel like a much more confident, capable, and independent person. I feel much more prepared for when I graduate and have to navigate the real world and the workplace! Interacting with people from multiple different backgrounds and cultures has also developed my interpersonal skills and has made me more open to different perspectives, ideas, and ways of doing things.
  • The University of Waterloo is an extremely multicultural university. Whilst studying there I met many interesting people from various backgrounds greatly different to my own. Being exposed to different cultures has opened my mind quite significantly to the different ways people work, interact, and the values they have - it has taught me that all of our cultures have something valuable and insightful to offer. The way we do things in Britain is not necessarily the best or only way things can be done, and other cultures can offer us a lot to learn!
  • Obviously there are thousands of students having a wonderful time at the university, but the pressure many students feel to achieve nothing but excellence and the toll of their high workload was very apparent. Especially in the Winter months where it was way too cold to go outside, the experience became extremely isolating for a lot of people.
  • Teaching . . . was very different. The classes were much smaller, and the assessment was much more diverse. Rather than having a single essay and exam to be assessed on, in Canada it was more spread out and varied. We did presentations, and reviews and blogposts alongside the usual exam and essay.
  • I have had the opportunity to study topics more specific to Canadian history which I would not be able to do at Warwick. I have learnt about race relations in Canada, as well as about Canadian foreign policy with other nations in the Americas.
  • I did lots of travelling whilst in Canada. Firstly within Canada I visited Montreal, Toronto and Quebec as well as many more local areas. I also managed to travel to New York, Detroit and Chicago as well as Mexico City.
  • The area in Canada where I was staying was incredibly diverse culturally, and as such I found myself immersed in a culture more diverse than any I had ever lived within before. I made friends from places in the world that going into my year abroad I had no idea about, but have left with a new sense of my own global identity.
  • Everything was different, the roads, shops, people. I was a bit stunned by the diversity and volume of choices they had in shops.
  • In studying new subjects such as economics and politics I believe I have diversified my understanding of social sciences which I will be able to implement into my studies in my final year. This will also help me in applying to a masters in economic history. Studying these subjects has helped me reengage with more quantitative analysis and numbers which I have not really engaged with since A level maths and chemistry.
  • I did join an MMA club external to the university which allowed me to continue my training.
  • I lived in a cooperative where I was elected VP finance and social (in separate terms). As VP finance I was given access to financial documents which I discussed with the cooperative accountant and contributed to restructuring the rent prices. As VP social me and my team organised many socials, the biggest of which being a St. Patricks day party which had 200 attendees.

Please note that not all institutions are available each year, and places will be allocated on a competitive basis. Partnerships may be added or withdrawn at any time, and are always subject to availability. The institutions available each year will be posted in the preceding Autumn Term.

Year Abroad Contacts:

Professor Tim Lockley
Director of Study Abroad Programmes
Mrs Val Melling

Tel: +44 (0)24 765 22502
HistoryOffice at warwick dot ac dot uk