Last Updated on December 22, 2022
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When you think of studying at the University of Toronto, what comes to mind? Canada, films, law and medicine? Well I’m glad you asked. I can tell you with 95% confidence that the university has not yet begun teaching neuroscience related subjects and we have no plans to do so in the near future. Yes, this might come as a blow to students who are still searching for an ideal school. The reality is that there are currently no cognitive neuroscientists on our staff or faculty despite the fact that there are many opportunities here for those interested in neuroscience research.
With more than 50 years of neuroscientific research, The University of Toronto Department of Neuroscience is dedicated to understanding and exploring the brain, the world’s most complex biological structure. Collaborating with health care professionals and scientists across Canada and the world, our researchers are committed to promoting brain health through leading biomedical research, training and education.
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university of toronto neuroscience faculty
*Members with a School of Graduate Studies appointment and are eligible to supervise graduate students.
university of toronto psychology acceptance rate
How to Choose the Right Time to Study Abroad
While it would be much easier if this were the case, there isn’t one single time that is right for everyone to study abroad. There are several factors to take into consideration, including:
- Timing: When does the school year start and end for the school you want to go to? Many schools in other parts of the world have academic calendars that may overlap your next school year at home.
- Duration: Do you want to go for one semester? If so, which semester? The full year? Six to eight weeks over the summer?
- Academics: Are there any prerequisites you should complete before you go abroad? Are there equivalencies for any course requirements you have yet to fulfill? Will going abroad at a certain time delay your graduation, and if so, is that something you’re willing to do? Make sure to meet with an advisor and discuss all of the courses you need and which ones you can earn equivalencies for.
Trying to balance all of those factors is hard! In the rest of this article, we’ll break down each time when you might study abroad so you can get a quick sense of when the right time to study abroad is for you.
Studying Abroad in High School
While not all high schools offer international programs, if you happen to go to one that does, it’s certainly worth considering. Studying abroad in high school offers a myriad of advantages.
For one, gaining international experience at a younger age can set you up for success later in your studies and eventual career. Your time overseas will be a fantastic material for those tricky college admissions essays. If you’re considering applying to university in a foreign country and want to test it out before taking the leap, going abroad during high school can serve as a trial period.
However, there are also potential drawbacks to studying abroad during high school. Whether you or your parents are funding this excursion, going overseas during high school may mean that you won’t be able to pursue international opportunities in college without taking on additional loans.
If this is your first time living apart from your family for a long period, there’s a chance you may struggle with homesickness, loneliness, or culture shock, and have trouble adjusting without your usual support system.
Read more about the pros and cons of studying abroad in High School →
Studying Abroad as a Freshman
If the college of your choice allows you to study abroad as a freshman, why not seize the opportunity? You’ll likely be leaving home for school anyway, so you may as well ‘shoot for the moon’ and go to a foreign country.
You’ll have plenty of opportunities to meet new people, just as you would have on campus at your home school, but you’ll have the added bonus of being somewhere entirely foreign. You’ll learn to manage issues on your own and attain a stronger sense of independence than you would at a school within driving distance from home.
For the same reasons studying abroad in high school may inspire homesickness, going overseas immediately upon enrolling in university may have a similar effect. You’ll also miss out on freshman orientation and other social activities that universities often organize to help you integrate better into the school community where you’ll be for the next four years.
It may also be disorienting for you to deal with transferring your credits straight off the bat, while you’re still learning the ropes of registering for courses and planning your own schedule.
Read more about the pros and cons of studying abroad as a Freshman →
Studying Abroad as a Sophomore
Most universities require that you declare a major by the end of your sophomore year. Studying abroad as a sophomore gives you the chance to experiment with your interests and take classes that normally wouldn’t have been available to you before you lock in your major.
You’ll also have two more years of school after you return to fulfill the remaining course requirements you need, so there’s not as much pressure to find the right combination of course equivalencies.
Personally, my second year of college was when I felt like I truly settled into university life and found the social and extracurricular groups that would stay with me beyond my studies. By going abroad during your sophomore year, you risk missing out on nurturing the friendships you began and cultivating the interests you began dabbling in as a freshman.
Read more about the pros and cons of studying abroad as a Sophomore →
Studying Abroad as a Junior
Choosing to study abroad as a junior is the most popular time to study abroad in college, and many universities recommend taking this route. Because of this, schools often build their international programs to occur during students’ third year, making the process easier for you.
If you plan from your freshman year, you’ll have more time to get all your ducks in a row before you leave. In most cases, you’ll also have finished most of your general education requirements by your junior year and will have some more flexibility in the classes you can take while overseas.
With that in mind, that doesn’t mean you’ll be home-free with your college degree by the time you’ve reached junior year. You’ll still need to make sure that your host institution has course equivalencies for the credits you still require for your program. This process can be challenging and stressful, as foreign school systems validate credits differently, and it’s up to you to make sure that you’re taking all the classes you need while you’re away.
Read more about the pros and cons of studying abroad as a Junior →
Studying Abroad as a Senior
Studying abroad as a senior is the choice I personally elected for, as it fit better with my program and schedule. By this time, you’ll have completed most of the requirements of your major and settled into a comfortable routine. (Some people are even so on top of it that they’re able to study abroad as a second-semester senior!)
If you’re ready to shake things up and experience something new in your last year, this is your chance! It can also be a last hurrah of sorts before you graduate. Besides, going overseas that much closer to graduation gives you the chance to pad your resume with international experience that you can apply to work almost immediately.
That being said, there are still possible downsides to studying abroad in your last year. For example, writing a thesis while away can pose more challenges. Make sure to also take note of any limitations your school may impose on overseas opportunities in your last year and how those may affect graduation.
For me, my exchange program was constrained to the fall semester to ensure that I’d receive all my credits in time for graduation. If you are able to study abroad for the full year, that may mean missing out on senior year activities with your friends.
Read more about the pros and cons of studying abroad as a Senior →
Studying Abroad Over the Summer
For some, studying abroad during the school year isn’t possible because of rigorous program requirements. Fortunately, most schools have international opportunities over the summer in addition to the school year. For many students, summer is the ideal time to wander the globe or find a summer gig to get some experience on their resume.
Studying abroad over the summer combines the best of both worlds, allowing you the chance to expand your knowledge while simultaneously exploring a new destination.
However, because of time constraints, summer study abroad programs are often abridged, concluding in a matter of weeks, as opposed to months when you go during the school year. This makes it harder to fully immerse yourself in a new culture or environment. Additionally, since the summer months are prime tourist season, travel is often significantly more expensive during this time.
Regardless of when you choose to study abroad, the most important thing is that you go if you have the opportunity. Studying abroad is beneficial in so many ways, beyond fluffing up your academic record or resume. My own experience studying abroad was full of learning experiences both inside and outside of the classroom that helped shape who I am today. The skills that I learned and the friends I’ve made during my time abroad will stay with me for life. You’ll undoubtedly feel the same wherever you choose to study abroad.
Best Countries To Study Abroad
Studying abroad is a great way to develop additional social, academic and language skills, whilst adding an unparalleled depth to your university experience. Study overseas can enhance your university years, and will also ultimately give you a competitive advantage when it comes to finding employment, as recruiters seek out those who have proactively pursued different ways to broaden their experience. If you are considering completing all or some of your university studies overseas, check out this summary of the best countries to study abroad.
Romantic Paris consistently tops lists of the best cities for students. Although the vibrant night life, thriving cultural scene, and the prospect of long walks along the left bank of the Seine are surely partly the reason, the almost non-existent tuition fees also help. Whilst much undergraduate teaching is carried out in French, graduate education is often available in English. Or take the opportunity to brush up your French and attend a course given in the ‘language of love’.
The choice of Universities in the US is quite mind-boggling. From internationally renowned ivy league institutions to hubs of innovation and cutting edge thought, whatever you study here you will have opportunities to add to your life experience. Over 750000 international students attend university in the US every year, and despite the high costs of fees, students love living in both Boston and San Fransisco enough for both cities to rank among top student cities. But if you sign up to study and decide that you would like a change of scenery, switching between universities in the US is not unusual.
As one of the economic powerhouses of Europe, Germany has more going for it than just Oktoberfest. It is also one of the best known European destinations for free (or almost free) university tuition fees, which might explain why outside of anglophone nations (the UK, US and Australia) it is the country with the highest number of international students. Head to Munich to attend an internationally rated university without breaking the bank, or Berlin to join the thriving tech hub and immerse yourself in the German take on hipster culture.
Toronto ranked recently as the most desirable city for students, among an impressive three Canadian cities in total to make the top 15. With cities this attractive it is no wonder that 6.5% of students in post secondary education in Canada come from abroad. With a vibrant culture, stunning natural environment and massive regional variations, Canada offers lots to explore for visiting students, in addition to several internationally ranked universities.
Taipei was recently ranked as the most affordable city for students around the globe. Tuition fees are low, and the high quality of education can make this a great choice. Learn more about the local history and politics, as well as experiencing life in a new culture, where old and new come together in a vibrant symphony.
Argentinian students enjoy free university tuition, and although international students must pay a nominal enrolment fee, the costs are still low outside of the private institutions. The University of Belgrano gets a special mention, as a modern and well equipped facility just outside of downtown Buenos Aires, with great global connections. Take the time in Argentina to perfect your Spanish and maybe even learn to tango.
Australia is one of the world’s most popular places for international students – and with sandy beaches, year round sunshine and a relaxed outdoors lifestyle, it is no surprise. Australian universities welcome international students and are well prepared to support newcomers. Considering its relatively small population, Australia has an unusually high number of institutions making the top hundred for university academic rankings, making it the perfect destination for sun, sand and academic success.
Who didn’t love Gangnam style? Get to the heart of K-Pop by studying in Seoul. And if you’re not a catchy-pop-tune kind of person, then you will be delighted to hear that the capital – as well as being a seriously fast paced fun place – is home to 14 internationally rated universities. Get outside your comfort zone and learn about an amazing culture whilst improving both your academic record and your CV.
The UK has a wide variety of high quality universities, and although fees vary across institutions and can be fairly high, it is worth seeking out scholarship opportunities. Students often work to support their studies, and flexible opportunities to fit around university schedules are not unusual. With a melting pot of cultures, a mix of location from cutting edge urban to sleepy rural idyll, students in the UK never need to be bored.
If you are from the EU/EEA or Switzerland then you may be eligible for free university tuition in Denmark. And if you are intending to pursue a PhD, there are even opportunities to study whilst earning a salary as this higher level study comes fully funded. The costs of living are undeniably high, but Denmark provides a fascinating base to explore Europe and experience nordic culture at its best.
Wherever you go, studying overseas is about more than the academic qualifications you may gain. Showing the curiosity, organisational skills and ambition to arrange a period of study overseas is a great selling point. Whether you are heading off for your entire university program, for a semester or two, or even to study during the summer holidays, you are gathering armfuls of skills and experiences that will stand you head and shoulders above competitors when it comes to looking for graduate jobs. Take the opportunity to combine study and travel, and immerse yourself in a new culture to broaden your horizons. You won’t regret it.