Cory Pattison is a student enrolled in the Business Administration – International Business program at Niagara College. He has recently participated in an international field study experience In Osnabrueck, Germany. Read some of the excerpts from his reflection to see how he has become even more “World Ready” as a result of his time abroad.
I first became involved with BWR when I walked into the Winter Orientation day back in January of this year (2016). I walked right to their booth and I knew right from that moment, at some point in my Niagara College life, I was going to be apart of a trip to somewhere. I had been monitoring trips that BWR had on their website since the orientation day, and when the trip to Osnabrück came up, I didn’t hesitate to sign up for it. The fact that we had the chance to study in a German University for a week in a class mixed with German students was something I had never thought I would get the chance to experience. We see it everyday in Canada, being one of the most diverse countries in the world, we are used to having students come from all over the world to study here. Never would I have thought that I would get the same chance they do, all while exploring the Netherlands, and other cities in Germany (Berlin, Wolfsburg).
The experience I gained while studying abroad is something I will cherish forever. One memory I will never forget is meeting, interacting and being in groups with the German students. While working with them, one thing that I found out and that hit close to home for me is that they go to work before going to school. The reason this is close to me is because I did the same thing, and in a society where we are told that we need to finish school and get a degree and figure out what we want right away, it is very hard. They say that working for a few years after High School, allows you to figure out who and what you want to be. Another memory that will stay with me for life was of the very first day in classes. We were describing cultures and we would describe both the German and the Canadian cultures using words. Both the Germans and the Canadians described the German Culture using words such as: Straightforward, Punctual, Efficient, Organized and Innovators. The words that were used to describe the Canadian Culture were slightly different. Our culture they said, could be described as: Maple Syrup, Hockey, Friendly, Apologetic, Happy and etc. It was at that moment I realized that because of Canadas diversity, it is very difficult to describe our culture.
One other thought that will stick with me for the rest of my life is this, 35 students and 3 faculty members went on this trip together only knowing a handful of people each. By the end of the trip, we became a family. That is what BWR is doing, they are creating friends and family with these trips abroad and it is something everyone should experience. For us it was meeting stellar people and creating unforgettable memories that the group of us will never forget.
The experience of this trip helped me become World Ready by introducing me to cultures and countries I never thought I would get to experience. Being around the language differences, comparing how they do their business in comparison to how we do ours. Travelling and studying abroad helps you become more World Ready because you are faced with challenges that go beyond the walls of your own country. Challenges that you have to overcome and adapt to in order to completely experience life. Even though our time there was only a few weeks, you learn a few words that you will be able to take back home and share with friends and family. Each individual word that you learned while away has a lifetime of stories and memories to go with it. My perspectives have broadened beyond my own city and country, I am more educated on a culture I was not familiar with and for those reasons, among many others, I am more World Ready.
A remarkable and unforgettable experience, from the memories shared to the people met.
This essay has been slightly edited for flow, clarity, and grammar.