Choosing the Program and University That's Right for You
Advice from one international student to another!
Written by fourth-year Mechanical Engineering student Belinda Sang.
Choosing a university is hard! How do you know which to pick? As an international student considering studying abroad, you might not only be deciding between institutions, but also countries! I'm an international student, and I've been there. Here are some things I advise you to keep in mind to help you choose.
Know your passion
It's important to know your passion and enjoy what you are studying throughout your university years! Universities like Western offer various electives for each program in addition to the mandatory courses. This means you can tailor your degree to match your interests.
Some courses can be difficult and overwhelming at first, but you should always seek out help from your friends, your TAs, and your professors. Western provides great resources and services to help students improve academically.
When choosing your university, you should also think about what career paths you're interested in. Your career path is likely to change and evolve as you go, but it's always worth thinking about. Visiting campus can also help you narrow down your decision!
Keep your options open
You won't be sure the path you've chosen is the right one until after you've experienced it. You might get into university and realized the program you picked is not right for you. It's okay! Many universities allow you to switch your program to something you're more passionate about.
Remember to talk to your academic advisor before switching programs to make sure you've met all of the requirements. Academic advisors are very helpful and ready to give you guidance throughout your academic journey.
Join student clubs to seek out your interests!
Sometimes the program you end up in is the one you've always been passionate about from the start. However, you might not be applying the knowledge you're learning in class to real-life applications. It is normal and understandable to be frustrated about this.
Many universities like Western provide academic clubs where you can put your current knowledge to use for practical applications (e.g. Western's Engineering Clubs). Other than that, you can join different athletic clubs and Student Council associations to engage with your hobbies outside the classroom and have fun with people who share the same interests as you do.
Best of luck in your search for the right program and school!
Learn more about life as an international student at Western University