Ending of last semester, a rumours of an amazing opportunity was buzzing around campus. According to the rumour several students would be given the opportunity to study in Canada for an entire semester on a fully paid scholarship. Lo and behold, this ‘hush-hush’ rumour turned into reality when the then Dean of Student Enrollment, Dr. Martin Cuellar, made the official announcement during mid-Spring 2017 semester.
After undergoing a rigorous review process spearheaded by representatives from the Canadian Government, only five Galen students were selected. Just before the beginning of the Fall semester, our Eagles Leandra Betson, Renata Samuels, Everette Young, Barbara Martinez and Diana Castillo flew North, destination bound for colder shores.
A month has passed, so what are our Eagles up to? I had the privilege of catching up with two of them, Renata and Leandra, both Economics majors here at GU. Leandra is currently attending classes at Memorial University, St. John’s Campus whilst, Renata is enrolled in classes at the University of Prince Edward Island.
Below is a condensed version of our recent catching up.
Julia: How many classes are you taking, and what are they?
Renata: I am taking five classes: Regional Economics, Economics of Tourism,Microeconomics, Bodies and Power, and International Development.
Julia: How has your Canadian experience been so far?
Leandra: My experience here, so far has been great. I’m meeting a lot of new people who are not only Canadians but Nigerians, Palestinians and Trinidadians.
Renata: Incredible! I have really embraced the Canadian culture, but it is more than that. I have experienced other cultures and heard stories that have touched my heart. I have met people from all across the world including Russia, Germany, Haiti, Bahamas, Jamaica, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Israel, and the list just goes on. It has caused me to appreciate my culture, but also want more for my people as well. There is so much that Belize can do, and seeing what Canada does, just causes a drive in me to want more for my country and see improvements.
Julia: How is your experience in Canada different from your experience here at Galen?
Leandra: The teaching style and the school atmosphere is not very different from that of Galen’s. I must admit that the teachers are better instructors at Galen in the Business department. The only difference between the two universities is the infrastructure. Memorial University has a lot more infrastructure than Galen.
Renata: Galen has a small population and is not as developed as these schools in terms of facilities. Not to mention the diversity at Galen is not like here where you are meeting people from all over the world in your classroom. However, teachers like Ms Kendra Hoyt and Dr Kenrick Williams have similar teaching styles to many teachers here. So, I would say the real difference is the access to resources and facilities.
Julia: How do you think you could contribute to the Galen life when you return?
Leandra: I can share my experience of being abroad and I can encourage more students to apply for this opportunity because I had never thought I would be in this position if it weren’t for a single and simplistic application form I dedicated about 20 minutes.
Renata: As is, I am trying to learn about the student union here and understand the campus life of students so I can bring more life to our campus life. It is always helpful to learn and see what others do and take clips of what you feel will work for you. This is my plan. I also am interested in taking some of the materials that I learnt in my classes and introduce them to the respective teachers at Galen and see if they can infuse them in some of their lessons to enrich them. Being that I have books and readings, this will be easier and will give way to open the minds of students at Galen as my mind has been opened.
While Everette and Renata are enjoying UPEI and Leandra is over at MU’s St. John’s Campus having a ball, Barbara Martinez and Diana Castillo are also keeping busy at MU’s Grenfell Campus. Barbara and Diana have shared updates that they have been quite occupied with their course loads and especially taking on the challenge of their French class.
Although they are greatly missed, a mother can only keep her young in the nest for a period of time. Whatever forceful wind blows their way, may they soar above it into the glistening skies, expanding their horizons and flying north.
by Julia Arzu ( Anthropology Major)