The Mobility team at the University of Bath has asked their students to share stories about how the Turing Scheme helped them. This student describes their time in Canada.
I spent 6 months living and working in Victoria, British Columbia on the west coast of Canada. My placement was research-based and involved collecting data from participants, analysing the data and producing outputs in the form of papers. I was able to interact with many different people, with different professional expertise, and learn many new skills. Living in a new country was an amazing experience as I had the opportunity to discover a new way of life in Canadian culture. I was able to work on my social skills, meet new people and strike new relationships and I believe these are skills and experiences I will carry with me through the rest of my life. I first thought about going abroad in my placement year when I first saw the option of a sandwich placement at the open day for the University of Bath when I was 17. This was a huge moment for me finally being able to achieve that goal I had set four years ago.
I was aware, going into my placement that I would face some financial strain as my placement year was unpaid, but hidden expenses such as buying my hockey team’s match kit to allow me to play, and even the price of bus tickets were overwhelming. It was difficult to understand in advance of arriving in Canada that the small differences in the price of food items in my weekly shop would make a big difference.
Due to the type of visa I obtained, I was unable to complete any part-time work to fund my stay. The Turing Scheme took my financial strain away and relieved a lot of pressure, allowing me to really enjoy my experience abroad. Upon receipt of my grant, I budgeted and put some money towards necessities like my weekly food shop, and some towards new experiences, like weekend trips to Vancouver. I did not want to sacrifice any part of my experience in Canada and support from the Turing Scheme meant I did not have to do that.
The six months I spent in Canada were the best experience so far in my life. I learnt so much, met so many new people, some friends for life, and discovered a love for a new country and a new culture. One of the main takeaways I have from this experience is to accept help when it is offered to you. I found out about the Turing Scheme grant during my placement year, so the grant was not part of my initial financial plan, but the freedom the Turing Scheme grant gave me allowed me to truly experience my year abroad to the fullest extent.