We sat down the other day to chat with Chris about his experiences studying abroad at UFV so far. Chris comes to UFV from Charles Sturt University in Australia. He is currently in his first year of his Masters in sustainable agriculture. Chris is already quite the world traveller, he is originally from Ireland, spent some time in Scotland, where he met his wife, Shruti, and then moved to Australia in order to for Shruti to take a break from training and for Chris to find work in the fitness industry. They ended up deciding to stay live in Australia for the last seven years because Shruti was able to get into an anaesthetic training program, there was an overall better culture of work/live balance for doctors in Australia, and Chris was able create a successful personal training business there.
Chris noted a multitude of reasons why he chose to study abroad at UFV. First, Shruti was looking to do a cardiac fellowship, so they need to find a place where he could work on his Masters, while there was also a hospital where she could do her fellowship. B.C. was the perfect fit, Shruti could do her fellowship in Vancouver and Chris could continue his studies at UFV. Moreover, Chris had spent a year in B.C. previously for a working holiday, and enjoyed his time here because of the friendly people and beautiful nature, so returning to Canada was an easy decision. Chris also remarked that at his home university all courses were online, which was a great way to study theory, but since agriculture is an applied, hands-on type field, he wanted to study abroad somewhere where he could get some practical experience. So, studying at UFV was a great opportunity to take some courses he wouldn’t normally take, and add a practical component into his degree.
When asked about his time here at UFV so far, Chris replies that it has been nothing but positive. He states that he has been able to work alongside his teachers on research projects. He notes that this has been a wonderful experience because he has been able to learn a lot from the teachers who have extensive experience and practical knowledge in the field. He also adds that the UFV agriculture department and local business have good relationships, so the students often go for field trips to businesses where they can see the things they are learning applied in the real world, which has also been beneficial to his education. Furthermore, Chris explains that UFV also has many opportunities for student to work with professors on tasks such as research projects, he himself was able to work logging data for a research project last semester and will work on research looking at the effect of lighting on terpene concentrations in plants this upcoming semester.
Outside of school, Chris has also been busy, going on many adventures with his wife. Some of his favorites have included climbing Grouse Mountain, a trip to Seattle to attend a friend’s wedding, driving around Maui, Hawaii, and visiting family in San Francisco. Chris also reminisces about a trip to Joffre Lake, where he and Shruti hiked up to the very top in an unseasonal snow. He recalls that they were totally unprepared for the weather, and wearing everything they could find to try and protect themselves from the cold!
In conclusion, we asked Chris if he had any recommendations for future students studying abroad at UFV. Specifically for students interested in the agriculture field, he advises making contact with people in the industry, stating that you can learn a lot through others. More generally for all students studying abroad Chris recommends finding someone who has been through the process before and can help you through it, they will have insights or tips that you may not have thought about. Furthermore he advises not to underestimate the time it can take to get your feet in a new country, even if it is an English speaking country. Give yourself a break while you adjust to your new surroundings. But in closing he says “Make the most of it, try new stuff, do new stuff. Just come!”
~If you would like to study abroad at UFV like Chris, or are a UFV student that would like to study abroad at in another country like Australia, go to the ‘contact us’ section of the blog and we’ll get you started on your own adventure!~