A couple of years ago I put pen to paper and mapped out my plan to travel the World via 80 Universities. The absurdity of the idea led me to believe it wasn’t possible and I ended up parking the idea to the never ending pile of “Nice idea….but”. A couple of years later and here I am at the beginning of my journey on the hastag “Around the World in 80 Universities”. I don’t think this one needs much explaining but just in case it does, I’ll be visiting University campuses across the World to give you the insight you need to make an informed decision about your higher education abroad. In preparation for IE Week 2018 and a very friendly invitation from a group of Canadian Universities I thought I’d start in Canada and make my way round the World. So, I am starting at Bishop’s University in Quebec, Canada!
Bishop’s University (BU) is located in the beautiful Eastern Townships region of the province of Quebec, Canada. BU is an English-language university that offers its students a unique undergraduate education. Bishop’s University is a predominantly residential, undergraduate university and offers students a quality education in the fine arts, humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, business and education. The campus is quite small in comparison to other universities, but don’t let that put you off. BU is a home from home, just so much better! BU have around 2,400 full-time students on campus which encourages students to immerse themselves in the complete BU experience. BU was founded in 1843 and is actually older than the confederation of Canada! If I were to compare BU to England I would say it sits on par with the home counties and is similar to Buckinghamshire. The campus has everything you need and you are never too far away from everything else.
You will notice that class sizes are relatively small and are considered to be the smallest in the country. This means that students at BU receive personalised attention and valuable support throughout their studies. Class size is really important when you are thinking about where to study. Afterall, some students enjoy lecture theatres with 200 students or more with one lecturer others prefer personalised support in much smaller classes using a workshop style of delivery. The trick is to know which you prefer, why your prefer small or larger class sizes and then make a decision about the institution you want to study at.
The workplace opportunities are outstanding and include internships and placements. The overarching aim is to connect the right students to the right opportunities for them. Often students are developing essential skills inside and outside their curriculum experience e.g. one student was giving back through a community programme supporting a local elementary school whilst she developed valuable skills for her future career in education. Just by talking to students I was able to see that there was a heightened sense of self awareness across the student body which is often hard to find. "It's easy for find your niche at BU" which seemed evidently true after meeting several students who all had their own talents not just academic excellence.
BU creates a unique social environment for students and the pastoral side is first class, one which promotes personal growth and development. You can sense that from the efforts they make in supporting students who make an application to the personalised support on course and the post graduation support to help students progress into great work opportunities.
For me, the biggest thing that sticks out is a sense of community. The BU community has been built by a community of scholars and leaders with an appreciation for change. From the moment you step onto the campus you get a community feel and a sense of something being different. It was strangely fairy-tale like and timeless in its own right.
It’s kind of hard to not fall in love with the place. I stayed on campus for two nights, I had a tour of the campus, ate some amazing food, and met some great people. I was very sad to leave but I will always feel a sense of connection to BU wherever I am in the World! Since working in education, I have often asked how do you build a community, I am leaving BU with that answer at the front of my mind. BU has successfully built a community using every imaginable ingredient including students who are often responsible for putting the finishing touches to the “icing on the cake”.
The architecture and sports facilities are something to be admired.
Bishop’s University has set the bar very very high! The entire philosophy at Bishop’s University is “BU” - I couldn’t think of a more fitting place to start! Thank you BU for having me! You can take a closer look at Bishop’s University here.
A special thanks to all of the team at BU who made my visit very special.
Next stop McGill University in Montreal on Monday!
International Education Week is a platform that aims to connect UK Students with universities outside the UK. It is the first official week dedicated to studying overseas. Look out for our event dates in the 2017/18 academic year.