Relationships at centre of exchange experience

The University of Windsor takes great pride in its student exchange program, and this couldn’t have been more evident during a farewell party held in Katzman Lounge on November 27.

The gathering included food, drinks, conversation among new friends, and some thoughtful words from coordinator Michelle Fitzgerald, and Clayton Smith, vice-provost, students and international.

“The exchange program doesn’t only changes the lives of the students; it changes the world,” Dr. Smith said.

Windsor maintains exchange relationships with other universities from 19 countries, including every continent with the exception of Antarctica. Windsor’s popularity as an exchange destination is very high due to its proximity to the United States, offering students diverse international experience in both Canada and the U.S.

Paul Aimetti, a business student from France, said this was a major factor in his decision to come to Windsor. Aimetti attended the farewell reception as a student preparing for his departure back home. Above all, it was the people Aimetti met that made the biggest impression on him.

“The first thing I noticed when I came here was how friendly everyone was,” Aimetti said. “My best experience was definitely the people and the friends I made here.”

Aimetti explained that even in France, it is important to speak fluent English to succeed in business, which was his main motivation for enrolling in the exchange program. Although he spoke in a very clear and steady manner, as he joined conversations around the lounge with a smile on his face, it was clear that a better understanding of his new language was not the only thing he gained from his trip.

Fitzgerald took a moment in her speech to remind the students that this program is designed mainly for educational opportunities, and this certainly remains true. However, the atmosphere created by both the students preparing to return home and those preparing to depart on their exchange revealed that this program revolves around relationships.

— by Nick Crep

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