Exchange Ambassador - Natalie S.

Natalie S.

Destination: ORA (LYON3), France

Duration: 2 Semesters

Program: International Relations & Development Studies

Highschool: L'Essor Secondary School, Tecumseh

What is one word that you would use to describe your exchange experience?  Unforgettable


What was the best thing that happened to you while on exchange? 

Having two of my friends, my brother, and my boyfriend come visit me throughout my exchange and getting to travel with them. Those trips are the most memorable by far!  


How did you finance your exchange? 

I've worked a part-time job since I was 15 years old and had been saving for years. I worked two full-time jobs the summer before I left so that I could save as much as possible. I also received a scholarship!   


What languages do you speak?

English and French 


What was the coolest place that you travelled to while on exchange? 

I think the Greek island of Greece has to be the favourite. It was my last trip I took before coming home, and my best friend from home was there with me. Stockholm, Sweden was also a surprise favourite. Those would be the first two places I would like to return to.   


What is something that you know now, that you wish you knew before you left for exchange? 

The classes were different than what I was used to and difficult, but I was able to get the hang of it eventually. I wish I knew to reach out to French students as much as possible, because I figured out eventually that they were actually very willing to help.   


Who was the hardest person to leave that you met while on exchange? How did you manage that? 

I made amazing friends while I was on exchange, many that I hope to reunite with in the future. I was especially close to my friend Laura. We were both there for the year, so we spent tons of time together. We traveled, studied, and went out together. Her and I still keep in touch and speak almost every day over social media or through text.   


If you were to recommend exchange to your best friend, what would you say?

This is an opportunity you will likely never get again. To get the chance to complete part of your degree in another country is an amazing opportunity. It may seem scary, but you won't regret it. You'll learn so much while you're there and, a lot about yourself. I really feel like I grew up in a lot of ways while on exchange.


A sample of the classes taken:

  • Français langue étrangère (received credit for FREN-2210 and FREN-2220)
  • d'initiation à la culture française (received credit for FREN 2600)
  • Instituions européennes + Ordre juridique de l'Union Européenne (POLS 3670)