Ryerson University is situated in the heart of downtown Toronto, Canada's largest city, the fourth largest in North America and has an incredibly diverse population of about 2.8 million people. There is a fresh international buzz about Toronto, which claims to be the most multiculturally diverse city on the planet: over 140 languages are spoken. It's estimated that over half of Toronto's residents were born outside Canada.
So where in Toronto should you study, but downtown at Ryerson University?
Ryerson University has around 43,000 students including undergraduate and postgraduates with over 100 degree programmes to choose from. Programmes range from the undeclared arts to retail management. You can explore their course offering here.
During my time at Ryerson I sensed that it is globally minded, but with an appreciation for its place locally. Ryerson has connections with 133 partner universities in over 37 different countries. This gives students the opportunity to study overseas as part of their degree, which they very often do.
I toured the Ryerson campus with a very informative tour guide called Sommer. It was hard to distinguish the line between the city and the campus, but that was a good thing! The "city feel" was certainly evident at Ryerson!
With Ryerson being situated in downtown you’ll have no trouble in finding a placement opportunity or part time work with some great employers e.g. Coca Cola Canada, KPMG, Royal Bank of Canada and General Motors, to name a few. Also, you’ll never be short of social and cultural activities to take part in after your classes with Dundas Square moments away. Dundas is likened to Times Square but is much more manageable and less crowded. The square is a hub for free festivals and special events. In the height of the summer movies are played for residents and tourists to enjoy. Picture below.
For me, the award winning Student Learning Centre was the most impressive physical element of the tour - you could see that the building promoted creativity. In my mind, I associated their “Beach Floor” to be very similar feel to Google HQ in London which I visited only a couple of years ago. I quietly asked myself “why aren’t all learning spaces like this, even work spaces”? See picture below.
The other thing that stuck out at Ryerson was the concept of “Zone Learning”. Zone Learning is a student-driven initiative that provides students with the opportunities to take their ideas beyond the classroom by working on real-world projects, causes, companies, or startups. The Zone Learning philosophy is something that we might see in other universities but with Ryerson it felt as though Zone Learning was the reason why students come here. The initiative is multidisciplinary and collaborative with the overarching aim to get students from a range of academic backgrounds to work together on ideas. The Zone Learning philosophy, to my understanding, should allow for failure and for students to reflect on their experience to move forward with another idea. With Ryerson it felt like all of the necessary support was available for students to not fail. Students have access to mentorship, coaching and support from Ryerson faculty and industry professionals, and evaluation to enable success. This of course helps students to not only compete for jobs when they graduate, but to create jobs themselves, should they want to.
Ryerson lives and breathes diversity. The beauty of a university like Ryerson is that you will get an international experience without even trying. Your classroom is in the most diverse city in the World so your international exposure won’t end in the classroom. There’ll be plenty of cultural immersion during your time in Toronto. I feel that it is necessary to highlight the importance of diversity, especially in our learning. I read around the topic of occupational psychology in my spare time and of late a number of academics have argued the case to diversify the workforce, suggesting that a diverse workforce is a happier and more productive workforce, could the same be true for learning environments? I think so!
There is an undertone of creativity at Ryerson which is often hard to spot at other universities. I imagine initiatives like Zone Learning, the wide range of Co-Op programmes and the incredibly well designed spaces like the Student Learning Centre, helps students to recognise and develop their creativity within a community of students and academics with a progressive mind set.
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.
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